Mental Models? Latticework? Huh? Do what now?
Munger has come to the conclusion that in order to make better decisions in business and in life, you must find and understand the core principles from all disciplines.
In short, learn all the big ideas and how they interrelate and better, more rational thinking will naturally follow.
This is what he calls Elementary Worldly Wisdom, and using his system of Mental Models can help you succeed in almost any endeavor.
Worldy Wisdom Means Ignoring Boundaries
Munger is big on reading and light on the boundaries separating disciplines. He relishes taking core ideas from one discipline and using them to solve problems in another, often doing it better than those who believe the disciplines are separate and not related.
He is often quoted as saying ‘to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail‘ and strongly recommends a mental toolbox filled with an array of tools.
Filling The Toolbox
Charlie has never provided a full list of the models he has collected in his lifetime, though he has provided some and has hinted at others.
This suggests that he believes the quest to find these models is an important part of the path to better thinking. However, this means that those of us that want to learn more are left to our own devices.
So how do we start to acquire them?
What better place to start than with the words of Charlie himself?
On my Getting Started page I have links to a couple of his speeches (the best ones, in my opinion). You can find them here:
We also know Charlie reads a lot. I mean a lot. And in order to build my own set of mental models I try to do the same and read as much as I can.
If you want to see the books I’ve read that have helped me learn the most mental models then head over and check out this list of my favorites:
Or if you want to see what Charlie has been reading, take a look at this extensive list of books he has recommended:
You will also want to be efficient with your reading so that you don't waste time on books that are mostly fluff. Learn how I'm able to read more books in the same amount of time:
Part of acquiring Charlie's mental models will involve knowing the basics of critical thinking, from logic and probability to cognitive biases and thinking fallacies.
These two amazing courses by Kevin deLaplante on Udemy cover pretty much everything you need to know to get started:
You're not alone in trying to follow in his footsteps, so why not collaborate and learn from other people who are trying to learn the same mental models?
While I haven't collected all of Charlie Munger's mental models, I have put together a checklist of the 83 I have found so far.
You can download them for free as a one-page PDF simply by joining my mental models mailing list:
Let's start a discussion below about Charlie and mental models.
If you have a model you use a lot, or one you are struggling to understand, post a comment below and we can all start to learn from each other and move forward together.