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Munger’s Mental Models

Recently I was reading about Charlie Munger, and I came across a speech he made before the USC business school in 1994. The subject of the speech was what Munger called “Worldly Wisdom.” Munger suggested that we all need a set of mental models at our disposal, and that we should apply these models to understanding and evaluating our experiences and circumstances.

That resonated with me. My professors at Millsaps used to make a similar claim when espousing the virtues of an inter-disciplinary education. Munger called these mental models a “latticework” on which to hang our experiences. I like to call them “lenses” through which to view and understand reality. You say tu-may-toh…

In this speech, Munger named several models we need at our disposal. This got me to thinking, and I decided it would be fun to see how many of these models I can name. Below is my list in no particular order. Obviously, most of these span disciplines. This is just my rough classification. Please help me identify those I’ve missed.





Computer Science



What have I missed?

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tom January 11, 2010, 3:13 pm

    In math: Logic + proofs (by induction, for example), isomorphisms, and correlation. (Correlation is part of probability + statistics).

    There’s also religion. What is really interesting is how fanatical people of different religion are actually behaving in the same way (isomorphism).

  • Eric January 11, 2010, 6:49 pm

    Thanks Tom.
    I see lots of reference to mathematical isomorphism, but not societal/religious. Can you elaborate?

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