See article on Farnam Street - Mental Models - The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions.
The map is not the territory: reality is different from abstractions.
Circle of competence: know what you don’t know.
First principles thinking: start from zero.
Thought experiment: imagine clear scenario.
Second order thinking: indirect consequences.
Probabilistic thinking: uncertainty.
Inversion: start from end.
Occam’s razor: prefer simple.
Hanlon’s razor: stupidity not malice.
Permutations and combinations: counting.
Algebraic equivalence: equation.
Stochastic processes: uncertainty.
Multiplying by zero: is zero.
Churn: periodic loss.
Law of large numbers: more confidence.
Normal distribution: e.g. heights.
Power laws: e.g. earthquakes.
Regression to the mean: not causation.
Order of magnitude: ballpark.
Law of diminishing returns: more gives less.
Pareto principle: 20% make 80%.
Feedback loops: reinforcement.
Chaos dynamics: start matters.
Cumulative advantage: better gets more.
Emergence: more than parts.
Irreducibility: no smaller parts.
Tragedy of the commons: e.g. fishing.
Gresham’s law: bad wins.
Algorithms: e.g. recipes.
Antifragility: gain from disorder.
Redundancy: more than minimum.
Margin of safety: more than minimum.
Criticality: critical mass.
Network effects: e.g. telephone.
Via negativa: don’t do.
Lindy effect: older lasts longer.
Renormalization group: minority impact.
Spring loading: stored energy.
Complex adaptive systems: e.g. stock market.
Laws of thermodynamics: energy conservation.
Reciprocity: tit for tat.
Velocity: speed plus vector.
Relativity: external observer.
Activation energy: e.g. fire.
Inertia: needs action.
Alloying: more than parts.
Cooperation: e.g. prisoner’s dilemma.
Tendency to minimize energy output: not waste.
Adaptation: to survive and replicate.
Evolution by natural selection: random mutation and survival of the fittest.
The red queen effect: periodic loss.
Replication: e.g. DNA.
Hierarchical instinct: follow leader.
Self-preservation instinct: survive.
Simple psychological reward seeking: seek pleasure and avoid pain.
Dunbar’s number: trust max 100-250 people.
Trust: more efficient.
Bias from incentives: own interest.
Pavlovian association: event before reward.
Tendency to feel envy: comparing.
Tendency to distort due to like/dislike: miss nuance.
Denial: e.g. drug addiction.
Availability heuristic: easy recall.
Failure to account for base rates: prior odds.
Tendency to stereotype: shortcut.
Failure to see false conjunctions: more specific less likely.
Social proof: compliance.
Narrative instinct: stories.
Curiosity instinct: explore.
Language instinct: speak.
First-conclusion bias: not changing.
Tendency to overgeneralize from small samples: no confidence.
Relative satisfaction tendency: compare.
Commitment and consistency bias: not changing.
Hindsight bias: past didn’t know.
Sensitivity to fairness: justice.
Fundamental attribution error: situation not person.
Influence of stress: worse.
Survivorship bias: consider losers.
Tendency to want to do something: bias towards action.
Confirmation bias: seek to disprove.
Opportunity costs: best alternative.
Creative destruction: winner replaces loser.
Comparative advantage: focus on best.
Specialization: e.g. assembly line.
Seizing the middle: more options.
Trademarks, patents, copyrights: intellectual property.
Double-entry bookkeeping: redundancy.
Bottlenecks: restricted flow.
Arbitrage: market inefficiency.
Supply and demand: make price.
Mr. market: not efficient.
Seeing the front: raw data.
Asymmetric warfare: e.g. terrorism.
Two-front war: not focused.
Mutually assured destruction: e.g. nuclear bombs.