The Great Mental Models

” The quality of your thinking depends on the models in your head. “

Back in 2019 Shane Parrish and the team at Farnam Street released the first volume in a series of books about what they refer to as The Great Mental Models. These are the big ideas from multiple disciplines giving you the tools you need to make connections, avoid problems, and live a more meaningful life. Well, at least that’s what they claim.

Both the first and second volume of the series are great books with great ideas and there is a lot to learn from them. However, unless we make the effort to “translate” or interpret them into our own context it can be difficult to bring this learning into what we do in our day to day lives. As far as I remember there are no examples from software testing in there, and not much dealing with programming either.

So, in an attempt to make this investment (the buying and reading of these books) an even better deal I’ll give it a try and create a Software Testing Companion to The Great Mental Models. It might take a while before I get through all the models, and I expect I will revisit chapters from time to time after discussing the ideas with others.


Vol. 1: General Thinking Concepts

The Map is not the Territory
“All models are wrong, some are harmful”
– N. N. Taleb

Circle of Competence
What you know, what you know you don’t know, and what you think you know… or don’t.

First Principles Thinking
Are those tacks really brass?

Thought Experiment
On in-memory simulations

Second-Order Thinking
…and then what?

Probabilistic Thinking
“Never tell me the odds!”
– Han Solo

Inversion
In the end there was nothing.

Occam’s Razor
Trump might be really, really clever… or not.

Hanlon’s Razor
They’re not all bad, some are just stupid.


These thoughts are responsibly sourced from sustainable minds.

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