The one-sentence summary
You can get a better grasp on why things happen by using visual models to analyse all aspects of the issue, whether large or small.
WHAT THE BOOK SAYS
• Here are fifty models to explain how things happen.
• They are broadly divided into four perspectives: explaining my and our world, and changes in my and our world.
• It spans the vast (and often unanswerable) to small day-to-day transitions.
• People find change hard because they are too focused on the past (missed opportunities or nostalgia), the present (hedonism or non-planners), or the future (whenever that arrives or the afterlife).
• Whether you are making an investment, deciding how to vote, or working out how to get the most out of your job, you can challenge most preconceived ideas by viewing the full picture.
• There is some short narrative, but the emphasis is on pictorial models, and the authors claim that some modern ideas cannot be grasped in words.
• Here are seven strategies for making the right decision:
1. Decide on a research strategy (with a time limit)
2. Limit your options (you are more likely to make a decision)
3. Accept ‘good enough’ (Barry Schwartz’s ‘satisficing’)
4. Don’t fear the consequences (they are never as bad as you think)
5. Go with your gut instinct (I have never understood why anyone should expect a decision from their entrails)
6. Have someone else choose (it will force the issue)
7. Don’t question your decision anymore (move on)
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
• The models are intended as a toolkit for you to break your world down into components, modify, and reassemble them in any format that helps.
• Small companies are overtaking large ones because they concentrate on ‘disruptive innovation’ (simpler, faster, cheaper), whilst large companies are guilty of ‘overshooting’ (adding yet more non-essential features).
• Seligman’s ‘happiness formula’ is H = S + C + V, where a combination of your biological setpoint (S), plus personal circumstances (C), and factors under your voluntary control (V) determine your happiness. To have a bearing on this you need to exercise ‘radical realism’ (not the same as pessimism).
• If you want to find out peoples’ prejudices, try tapping into google “why are Christians…” (or any other group). The completed search sentences will show the weight of everyone’s views on that group.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
• This is not a body of work you’ll read end to end. Instead you’ll want to pluck out a model that resonates and apply your own thinking.