“Most of us, however, are specialists…Each specialist sees something different.
A typical Engineer will think in systems.
A psychologist will think in terms of incentives.
A biologist will think in terms of evolution.
By putting these disciplines together in our head, we can walk around a problem in a three-dimensional way.
If we’re only looking at the problem one way, we’ve got a blind spot.
Blind spots can kill you.”
– Shane Parish, Farnum Street, Mental Models
My decision-making factory minted $0.02 solutions for every challenge.
After the CFA exams, serving on the CFA board in Colorado, passing the CFP, and teaching a CFP investments class, my thinking was all ‘a la finance.
Mastering any craft means an immersion in others
I had it all backwards.
Building (a lot of) wealth requires pursuing, studying, and practicing unique disciplines and interests.
Mental models and passions exist everywhere, and the constant searching, exploring, and imagining, unlocks galaxies of possibility.
This practice strengthens primary knowledge.
It doesn’t dilute it.
Need a billionaire for proof?
Look at Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s right hand man):
“If you skillfully follow the multidisciplinary path, you will never wish to come back. It would be like cutting off your hands.”
“I paid no attention to the territorial boundaries of academic disciplines and I just grabbed all the big ideas that I could.”
He’s “just” a billionaire though, what about the man picked by Amazon, and J.P. Morgan to solve the healthcare crisis.
How does he think?
Atul Gawande remarked,
“Even if we were to come to a complete understanding of all the laws of the universe, we won’t be able to understand all of the interconnections and all of the particularities and how they all interconnect.”
Still not enough?
Look at the first scene of Pumping Iron with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He’s learning Ballet …
A curation of the most influential blogs
Each strengthened my thinking and created high returns on my time this year for myself and our clients.
(1) Farnum Street (Shane Parish)
I sourced, binged, and digested many book stacks from the library based on FS’ multi-year book recommendations.
When thinking slowly, I spice, marinate, and handcraft my decisions through many of these mental models.
There’s 109 from all disciplines including biology and war. Here’s four posts, if applied, they (should) change your life:
(2) Naval Ravikant (on twitter)
With his help I stopped consuming less mental junk food: business books.
Look, listen and practice wisdom from the buddha of venture capital.
Here’s one of my favorites:
“I think all the benefits in life come from compound interest, whether in money or in relationships or love or health or activities or habits.
I only want to be around people that I know I’m going to be around with for the rest of my life.
I only want to work on things that I know have a long-term payout.”
(3) Wait but Why (Tim Urban)
I suppose this could have made the book section. Ya. Tim writes long articles.
Elon Musk’s special sauce is my favorite. He discusses Elon’s primary mental model: First principles.
These are also great as well:
(4) The Technium (Kevin Kelly)
I recommend these two articles all the time.
Better than free, are all “knowledge” workers dead when information is free?
1,000 true fans: a few diehards crush an army of lukewarms.
Don’t worry, I still love finance
I still read financial planning, investing, and accounting journal articles (new and old), practitioner research, blogs, and podcasts to maintain an edge.
We’re cooking up a new value and pricing menu at MARGIN
“People who were right a lot of the time were people who often changed their minds.”
It will be out before the end of the year; you can bet it was influenced by this type of thinking, and season of deep study in other disciplines.
I hope you like it.