November 1, 2022




A Few Special Updates And 10 Mental Models To Maximize Your Cognitive Potential

At a glance

Welcome to the new friends of the A Players newsletter who have joined us since last week!

This Week: 

  • A few special updates
  • 10 mental models that will make you smarter
  • Favourite links of the week

A few special updates

Firstly, a massive thank you to every single one of you reading this.

I really appreciate your support over the course of the year, and am excited to announce a few improvements to the Newsletter (with a few more exciting ones in the stay tuned!). 

Update #1: Name change of Newsletter to "A Players" from "Mental Models, Concepts, and Frameworks"

Whilst this Newsletter was titled "Mental Models, Concepts, and Frameworks", the underlying purpose of the content shared has always been constant: Explore how to get better at the game of life—whether through better thinking, better frameworks, or better tools. 

For those unfamiliar with the term, "A Players", it's commonly used to describe the top 10% of performers in a given field or company.

More importantly, though, it's an ethos that describes someone who is insatiably curious and hungry to improve their outcomes, and the outcomes of those around them. To rise to the top of whatever "game"—creative, business, sporting, or otherwise—they're playing and bring those beside them along for the ride. 

The aim of my content is simply to help you do that.

Mental models, concepts, and frameworks will remain a core pillar going forward, but we'll explore other areas that lead to this end goal.

As such, "A Players" is a fitting name to capture the essence of the Newsletter and to continue to attract a like-minded community (it also happens to be the first letter of my name...I promise it's a coincidence!).

Update #2: Addition of 🔗 Favourite links of the week 🔗

You'll notice at the end of this Newsletter a new section, called "Favourite links of the week."

In the spirit of inducing curiosity and continual learning, I'll be sharing the most interesting resources, articles, and links I find online on a weekly basis.

If you ever find interesting content that I should include, don't hesitate to send it my way!

Update #3: Launch of Talent Collective 

I'm kicking off a new way to find jobs without the noise typical on LinkedIn, where you often get contacted for positions you'd never consider. 

If you're looking for new opportunities, apply here to be added to my upcoming talent directory. 

You'll get opportunities from companies vetted by me—including Figma, Stripe, Coinbase, Brex, Peloton, Affirm, Amazon, Paypal, and many more.

It's completely free for candidates. There's no obligations. The directory is curated by me, invite-only and you can be public or anonymous. 

My goal is to help you find your next great role. 

If you're in the market for a new gig, head over to A Players and apply!

Update #4: Newsletter date/time change

From next week onwards, you'll receive this newsletter at Saturday morning US ET 9am.

This change is to allow better access to the content for those busy during the week. 

That's the updates for now, but stay tuned for more in the coming weeks. 

Let's get into this weeks models!

10 mental models that will make you smarter

Systems vs. Goals

To achieve more, focus on the process first—the system—that will get you to the goal.

Doing something every day is a system—like writing for 1 hour.

Writing a book is a goal.

"Goals determine your direction. Systems determine your progress.”

—James Clear

Effectiveness vs. Efficiency

Effectiveness: Doing the right things—getting the result you intend.

Efficiency: Doing things right—working with minimal waste of time and effort.

To achieve more, you must be both effective & efficient, but effectiveness should come first.

Curse of Knowledge

Once we know something, we assume everyone else knows it, too.

It's why some experts can't explain their field in simple terms and people don't share knowledge that could benefit others.

Lesson: There are always people to teach and people to learn from.

Zero-Sum Heuristic

We judge situations to be zero-sum (person A's gain is person B's loss) when they’re actually non-zero-sum (both parties can gain together).

In most of modern life, the more you help others win, the more you will win.

When possible, play positive-sum games.

The Approval Paradox

The more you want someone's approval, the harder it is to get it.

Approval seeking is a sign of insecurity and neediness, both unattractive traits.

“When you're content to simply be yourself and not compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”

—Lao Tzu

Selective Perception

We tend to ignore or quickly forget stimuli that cause emotional discomfort or that contradict our prior beliefs.

Don’t let small problems become bigger problems through a lack of appropriate attention.

”Pain + Reflection = Progress”

—Ray Dalio

Time-Saving Bias

We misestimate the time that could be saved (or lost) when increasing (or decreasing) speed.

Speeding in a car over a short distance doesn’t actually save that much time.

Lesson: Always consider the influence and importance of speed on your outcome.

The Moment

We believe we are one person, and our happiness is based on being content with our lives in the moment.

In reality, we are multiple selves—the future and now.

To be happy now and content later, we must give adequate attention to what we will need in the future.

Gambler's Fallacy

We think future possibilities are affected by past events.

You've lost 9 in a row, but you're sure to win the next one!

You've won 9 in a row, how could you possibly lose the next one?!

Lesson: Treat each possibility independent of the past.

Fundamental Attribution Error

We underemphasize situational factors and over-emphasize character traits in assessing others.

You haven't slept well so you know why you're slow, they haven't slept well so you assume they're a slow person.

View other's situations with charity.

🔗 Favourite links of the week 🔗

  1. Decision Lab - A list of the most relevant biases in behavioural economics
  2. Founders Podcast - Learn from history’s greatest entrepreneurs in a weekly podcast
  3. You Bet! by Howard Marks - One of the best decision making articles I've read

There you have it, a few special updates, 10 thought-provoking mental models, and my favourite links of the week.

I hope you found these as helpful as I have.

Stay curious,


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