Mental Model Posts ‘Probability Theory’

An Accelerated Master’s Degree: Statistics in a Book (or Two)

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Topics: Statistics
Statistics

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There have been plenty of books recently published on the concept of Deliberate Practice, which essentially says that it takes 10,000 hours of a certain kind of practice (called ‘deliberate’) to gain expertise in something.   It makes sense that the majority of what we want to learn in any discipline is going to be experiential (or gained through practice).  But in order to better understand our experiences, we want to have some kind of framework of what to expect.  We want to develop a theory structure.

Books are what give us this theory structure, and certainly the quality of the theory structure we begin with impacts the amount of deliberate practice we need to become an ‘expert.’  So it’s important to choose the right books, as they will provide the base infrastructure upon which we will layer our experiences.  We’re looking for books that concisely capture the overriding concepts of a particular discipline.

And in any discipline, at least one fairly well defined, there doesn’t need to be that many books to accomplish this.  I would generally say that 3 books or fewer, for each discipline, will give you a proper theory structure.

With that in mind, let’s look at Statistics…  Read More »

How to Meet a Deadline: Mental Models Every Project Manager Should Know

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In order to get things done, we often use deadlines.  This is especially the case when managing projects.  Deadlines are often created, but rarely met.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but a good portion of it can be explained by Cognitive Misjudgment.  A combination of the Over-Optimism Tendency and the Excessive Self-Regard Tendency are generally to blame when we aren’t able to meet our deadlines.  The Over-Optimism Tendency explains why we often overestimate our ability to get things done – an excess of optimism is the normal human condition – and this tends to lull us into a false sense of comfort despite an impending deadline.  Most people call this procrastination.  The Excessive Self-Regard Tendency explains why we often don’t provide for enough time to realistically meet a deadline in the first place – we constantly mis-appraise our abilities on the high side.

But there are certain ways to combat these cognitive misjudgments, and the first is following what is generally considered the standard formula for carrying out any project.  Deadlines become a whole lot easier if this formula is followed.  Read More »

Mingle with Powerful Models: Using Mental Models to Make Better Decisions

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Charlie Munger likes to say that 80-90 mental models will give you the bulk of the material you need to be a “worldly-wise” person.  Part of being worldly-wise is making good decisions, and although Charlie mentions 95 models in his book (by my count), they can each be used and combined for different purposes.

So, how do we combine them to create the ideal decision-making process?  Since I’m in love with the number 7 (figuratively), I’ve put together what I consider the seven most useful mental models in decision-making.  Good decision-making will involve an understanding of Statistics, Economics, and Psychology.  And the decision-making process becomes much easier if you take mental models from these disciplines and put them into a checklist.  To me, the following seven mental models are the best checklist available.  Read More »