2572 books total
Around 2003, Gabriel Weinberg discovered The Psychology of Human Misjudgment, Charlie Munger‘s speech, where Munger talks about behavioral economics and recognizing patterns to determine how and why we behave the way we do.
The best decision makers in the world rely on a set of frameworks, called multiple mental models, that help them gather, process and act on information. These borrow from multiple disciplines and industries, from psychology to economics and more.
Gabriel understood the value and importance of applying these multiple mental models in investing and business, how they can be used to clarify the chaos (inevitably) encountered in complex problems, build fundamental guiding processes, and make better decisions.
This is the topic of Gabriel’s new book, Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models (drops 6/18) – an illustrated guide to the most powerful mental models (over 300, grouped into 9 chapters). He wrote the book together with his wife Lauren McCann, who’s a statistician and researcher with a Ph.D. in Operations Research and B.S. with honors in mathematics from MIT.
He holds a B.S. with honors from MIT in Physics and an M.S. from the MIT Technology and Policy Program.
He is also the co-author of Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth, a book that examines effective customer acquisition throughout the different stages of a business.
In our interview, Gabriel talks about the books he keeps coming back to, tactics he implemented at his company in order to get more deep work done, data privacy resources, big ideas he has changed his mind over lately, insights on writing his new book on mastering mental models, and more.
The books I keep coming back to are the ones where I took away lasting mental models, which we also highlight in Super Thinking. These include Predictably Irrational and Thinking, Fast and Slow (about cognitive bias models), Difficult Conversations and Never Split the Difference (about negotiation models), Radical Candor (about management models), and Deep Work (about time management models).
At DuckDuckGo (my company), we designate Wednesdays and Thursdays as no standing meeting days in order to incentivize people to get more deep work done, i.e. have uninterrupted blocks of time to work deeply on their top priority. This tactic, along with several others — such as minimizing multi-tasking, specifying a weekly top priority, etc. — are in effort to operationalize the mental model of deep work.
The Great Courses also offers several excellent privacy lecture series (also available on audible).
I read/listen a lot. I save articles throughout the day to Pocket, and often go through them in batch in the morning and night. I also consume a lot of podcasts when commuting/traveling. When I run out, I always have two or three audible books to turn to.
I do not actively take notes while reading, though I do use the Bear and Apple Notes apps to record notes generally.
I don’t read or seek out a lot of daily news, which I mainly get from my curated Twitter feed in which I don’t follow many people or accounts.
That’s really why we wrote Super Thinking, which is meant to be a comprehensive collection of mental models needed for good personal and professional decision making, most of which are not effectively taught in schools. I believe if you can master these 300 concepts — yes, it is a lot, but they are very interrelated — you will completely level up your thinking. It’s the book I wish someone had given me earlier in my career, but it is good for anyone. As the anonymous saying goes, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”
I used to think what the United States really needed is a new Constitutional Convention to create a Modern Bill of Rights, and I thought about this concept for years. Now, though, I’m coming around to the fact that there is no way to do it without significant risk of unintended consequences.
I have really strong internal motivation on the projects I’m working on because they are mission driven, but even then it has been a slog. My wife and I have been working on this book for about three years, with me mostly working on weekends, and that took its toll for sure :). I’m glad it is finally coming out!
I have been thinking about this book for literally twenty years, and started writing different versions at different times. A few years ago, when thinking about how to better grow our executive team, I realized that to be a good executive you need to be a good decision maker, and to be a good decision maker, you need to master a set of mental models across a wide variety of disciplines. So, I made a list of them and published it on Medium. It went viral, and the publisher (Penguin Portfolio) who published my last book reached out and asked if I’d be interested in working on another — and the rest is about to be history.
It comes out 6/18 and you can pre-order it now and find out more info (including the full list of models) here. They are grouped into nine narrative chapters, each with its own theme (e.g. time management, people management, unintended consequences, etc.) so it is easy to digest and refer back to.
Links where you can follow Gabriel Weinberg or learn more about his projects:
All books mentioned by Gabriel Weinberg in our interview: