Weekend Reading: Mental Models, Git History, and Notion

March 16, 2019 • #

🧠 A Latticework of Mental Models

This is an excellent archive on Farnam Street with background on 109 different mental models — first principles, Occam’s Razor, probabalistic thinking, and many more. So much great reading material here to study different modes of thinking. Like writer Shane Parrish puts it, this latticework helps you “think better”:

The quality of our thinking is proportional to the models in our head and their usefulness in the situation at hand. The more models you have—the bigger your toolbox—the more likely you are to have the right models to see reality. It turns out that when it comes to improving your ability to make decisions. Variety matters.

Most of us, however, are specialists. Instead of a latticework of mental models, we have a few from our discipline. Each specialist sees something different. By default, 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. And blind spots can kill you.

💾 Git History

A neat tool for visually browsing git commit history. Scrolling through commits does a nice animation to show you graphically what’s changing from step to step. Here’s an example with browserify.

✏️ Notion Pages

Over the last week I’ve been messing around with Notion, a productivity app that seemingly can do everything — a combination personal database, word processor, spreadsheet, notes app, and todo list. I’m trying it out for note taking and writing (mostly), but it’s got some potential to be a personal wiki, an idea which has always intrigued me but never felt worthwhile to try to set up and maintain. This site has a bunch of templates for Notion to help get started for different use cases. Just browsing it shows the diversity of things you can use it for.