Overchoice: why more isn’t always better

In many cultures, freedom and autonomy are considered critical to our well-being. Having the ability to do what we want, when we want, and to explore our options seem like healthy attitudes. This is why supermarkets are filled with so many variations of similar products. We think that the more choices we have, the better …

Read more

Checklists: when we can’t trust our brains

From product launches to project management, I’m obsessed with checklists. And I’m not the only one. From the World Health Organization’s surgical safety checklist to flight checklists and more mundane event production checklists, checklists are everywhere. We use them to run businesses, perform complex surgery, and do our groceries. Systemic complexity means that we cannot …

Read more

The Eisenhower matrix of prioritisation

Very few decision-making frameworks are as simple and powerful as the Eisenhower matrix. Dwight Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States and had an incredibly productive life. Amongst many accomplishments, he served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, launched programmes such as DARPA and NASA, …

Read more

The Cobra Effect: how linear thinking leads to unintended consequences

Have you ever tried to fix a problem, only to make things worse? That’s called the Cobra Effect—when an attempted solution results in unintended consequences. Because most of our cause-to-effect experiences involve very simple, direct relationships, we tend to think in terms of linear chain of events. But the world is much more complex than …

Read more

How to make better decisions with second-level thinking

It’s easy to get carried away when making a decision. We look at the current situation and extrapolate what we consider to be the most likely future outcome. What we often fail to consider, though, are the complex ramifications of the decisions we make. For example, you’re feeling hungry. The fast and easy decision would …

Read more

The affliction of abundance: FOBO or the fear of a better option

FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a term that has become common in everyday language and has permeated most corners of our popular culture. I wrote a long article about the phenomenon and its alternative, JOMO—the joy of missing out. But the author who coined the term FOMO, Patrick J. McGinnis, recently warned people …

Read more

The science of decision making: why smart people do dumb things

Chocolate or vanilla? Trello or Jira? Atom or VS Code? Stay in or go out? Should I click on this link or not? We make thousands of choices everyday, often automatically, using mental shortcuts we have created over years of experience. Decision making is the process we use to identify and choose alternatives, producing a …

Read more

30 mental models to add to your thinking toolbox

Want to save this list of mental models for later? Subscribe to receive a PDF copy. Remember how I told you that you need to build your own mental gym? Well, let’s talk about your mental equipment. Mental models are some of the most powerful mental tools at your disposal. They can help you think …

Read more