Mental Models

Mental models are reoccurring concepts and theories that are broadly applicable across disciplines. Using these common ideas you are able to understand a situation quicker, and jump to second-order questions and higher level thinking about the situation(Weinberg and McCann 2019).

Critical Mass A certain amount of a thing is needed to achieve a result
Inverse Thinking

Interesting Mental Models and Axioms

Critical Mass

Critical mass comes from physics and is the amount of fissile material necessary to sustain a nuclear chain reaction. As a mental model, it can be generalized to the required amount of a thing to generate the desired result(Weinberg and McCann 2019). A similar concept occurs in nueral communication where the membrane of a nerve requires reaching the “Action Potential” threshold in depolarization in order to communicate the message on to the next nerve cell.

Inverse Thinking

Inverse thinking involves looking at the question from the inverted perspective. For example, in the Bayes theorem example experiment of librarian vs. farmer: instead of thinking about how likely the described person is to be a librarian, you think about how likely the described person is to be a non-librarian(farmer). Another example, instead of thinking about being right more, focus on being “wrong less” in Decision Making(Weinberg and McCann 2019).


Antifragile things benefit from shocks, rather than resilience or robustness, these things thrive in the face of volatility, randomness, and disorder(Weinberg and McCann 2019).

Arguing from First principles

Starting from the bottom up to build larger conclusions. The first principles are self-evident assumptions upon which you build(Weinberg and McCann 2019).