First Principles & Analogy in Design

Nick Post
Nick Post
Feb 23, 2016 · 5 min read

Introduction

“I think it is important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy.” — Elon Musk

“First principles is a physics way of looking at the world. You boil things down to the most fundamental truths and say, ‘What are we sure is true?’… and then reason up from there.” — Elon Musk


First principle thinking


Analogical thinking

“Good artists copy, great artists steal” — Pablo Picasso* — Steve Jobs


How they fit together


Understand

First principle thinking is a catalyst for analysis.

Practical exercises for first principle thinking


Act

Analogical thinking is a catalyst for synthesis.

Practical exercises for analogy


Summary

Nick Post

Written by

Nick Post

Designer • Strategist • Jedi

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