We live in a complex, fast-changing world. Thriving in this world requires one to make fast decisions with incomplete information. But how do you do that without making too many mistakes?

My guest today argues that one key is stockpiling your cognitive toolbox with lots of “mental models.”

His name is Shane Parrish (@farnamstreet). He’s a former Canadian intelligence officer and the owner of the website Farnam Street, which publishes articles about better thinking and decision making and is read by Wall Street investors, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and leaders across domains. We begin our conversation discussing how Shane’s background as an intelligence officer got him thinking hard about hard thinking and why the musings of investors Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger have had a big influence on his approach to decision making.

Shane then shares his overarching decision making philosophy and explains what mental models are and why they’re a powerful tool to make better decisions. We then discuss why you should focus on being consistently not stupid instead of trying to be consistently brilliant and tactics you can use to make better decisions.

Show Highlights

  • How to identify your biases when making decisions 
  • How Charlie Munger has influenced Shane’s thinking 
  • 5 guiding principles that can shape how you live and make decisions 
  • Why direction is more important than speed
  • Taking ownership of your life and your decisions 
  • Should you have fewer opinions?
  • Why the internet makes it harder to have thoughtful opinions
  • What are mental models? How can they help us see the world better and more accurately?
  • Examples of mental models that Shane uses on a regular basis 
  • How to apply principles from unrelated domains into your life/career
  • How do you develop mental models?
  • Combining mental models get ahead — either in war or in business 
  • Why can very smart people make bad decisions?
  • How using mental models enables you to make better, smarter decisions
  • Why you should strive to be “not stupid” rather than seeking brilliance
  • Tried and true decision-making tactics/frameworks 
  • Making a list of your biases 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Shane and Farnam Street 

Farnam Street website

FS on Twitter

FS on Instagram

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The post Podcast #471: Using Mental Models to Make Better Decisions appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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