100 Mental Models To Make You A Worldly Wise Person

By Tom Chanter

Transform confusion into curiosity, certainty into skepticism and frustrations into fascinations.

Tom Chanter
Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

I’ve always felt that our world has an innate topsy-turvy logic that I can’t make sense of. Reading Charlie Munger’s speeches on Mental Models, I realized I was right. And wrong. The world is bizarre, but we can make sense of it. And yet I never bothered diving deep into Mental Models.

But reading Gabriel Weinberg’s list of Mental Models, the truth hit home — what I didn’t know was hurting me. And so it began. I started collecting my favorite models, finding examples, and rewriting them in my own words. Still, I never shared my collection. Munger and Weinberg had it covered.

Then my Mental Model collection and commonplace book collided. As I was building my Mental Model collection on Evernote, I was simultaneously building a commonplace book with physical note cards, where I collect great lines from literature and unorthodox quotes from history’s wisest humans. Slowly, more and more connections emerged.

So I began pairing the practical with the poetic — the analytical left-brain models with the intuitive right-brain quotes. I didn’t want to only connect the Mental Models with each other, but with books, people and ideas that meant something to me. I wanted them to be better together. That mission led to this list.

The 100 Mental Models are sorted into 15 sections:

  • PHYSICS (the foundations of our galaxies best thinkers)
  • SCIENCE & SCIENTISM (truth vs facts)
  • EVOLUTION (it’s not what you think)
  • STATISTICS (174% of ‘facts’ are misleading)
  • PSYCHOLOGY (humans are weird)
  • BUSINESS 101 (for owners not accountants)
  • TOOLS for ANALYSIS (meta-thinking)
  • DECISION MAKING (be less wrong)
  • ARGUING vs NEGOTIATING (winning arguments vs winning)
  • INTERPERSONAL (soft skills are underrated)
  • THE DARK ARTS (persuasion hacks)
  • CREATIVITY (breaking boundaries)
  • SUCCESS PATTERNS (open secrets to success)
  • PRODUCTIVITY (read this first)
  • KEYS of STRATEGY (connecting the dots)