September 13, 2022




The Rule of Three, Morphological Analysis, Mind Reading Illusion, & More

At a glance

Welcome to the 346(!) new friends of the Mental Models, Concepts, and Frameworks newsletter who have joined us since last week!

This Week: Mental models that will make you smarter

The Rule of Three

”Whenever you’re trying to persuade a person to do something, always present 3 reasons. Not 2, not 4, but exactly 3.”

It gets people’s attention and most of us have been hard-wired to expect things in groups of 3—so it’s more persuasive.

h/t @ameet

Morphological Analysis

A powerful form of problem-solving and creativity that involves ‘decomposition’ followed by ‘forced association.’

Decomposition: Breaking something down to its component parts.

Forced association: Combining things that haven’t been combined before.

Mind Reading Illusion

We humans think we are good judges of what others are thinking.

We believe this while also believing other people are not.

Hint: we are not.

People will misunderstand your inner thoughts while being sure they’re doing no such thing.

h/t @ScottAdamsSays

Thinking Gray

To avoid confirmation bias, remember to ‘think gray’ when making decisions.

That is, resist the temptation to form an opinion about a decision until you’ve heard all the relevant facts and information.

Understand the black and understand the white.

Problem Reframing

Identifying a different aspect of a problem to deliver a radical improvement to your solution.

When a problem is reframed, the solution space opens up.

The key is being willing to go slow to go fast.

h/t @thomaswedell

The Small-World Phenomenon

The idea that every person has some indirect connection through a small set of connections to every other person—”6 degrees of separation.”

Short paths exist in abundance to the people you want to meet if you’re willing to search.

Hotel Bathroom Principle

”When you want to cultivate serendipity, stick to the 'Hotel Bathroom' dress code.

Always dress well enough to walk into any a bathroom at a hotel you're not staying at and get away with it."


Hedonic Adaptation

We quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite positive or negative events or life changes.

Hedonic adaptation helps protect us from staying depressed forever, but at the same time, keeps us tamed after positive events.

Narrow vs. Broad Framing

Narrow framing is when you focus on the details at the expense of the big picture.

Don’t try and win the battle at the expense of the war.

Remember to consider your micro-decisions in the context of your overall goals and objectives.

Poliheuristic Decision Theory

People apply heuristic shortcuts in their initial consideration of decision options but act rationally thereafter.

We use mental shortcuts to decide what’s possible, and then use an expected utility or cost-benefit analysis to decide what’s best.

That's it, I hope you enjoyed reading :)

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