A Latticework of Mental Models

A Lesson on Elementary, Worldly Wisdom

“You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience ‑ both vicarious and direct ‑ on this latticework of models. You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered. Well, they fail in school and in life. You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head.”

-Charlie Munger

Munger recommends that 80–90 mental models will carry you through 90% of life. Why so many?

Combining Mental Models

“Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form.”

-Charlie Munger

Munger mentions having your models in a usable form. The key to this is application to real problems. It is great to learn and read about new theories or concepts. To build a truly effective and resilient latticework, you need to actually apply the models to real world problems, constantly trying new things and tackling new and more difficult problems. Combining models is often a way to see the same problem with a new perspective, which may be just what you need to come up with a compelling solution.

Bonus — Some of My Favorite Models

The psychology of ‘optimal experience.’ How does that not sound compelling? This concept changed the way I looked at my life.



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