Thinking in maps: from the Lascaux caves to modern knowledge graphs

What do hieroglyphs, flowcharts, road signs, and knowledge graphs have in common? They’re all thinking maps. Humans have been thinking in maps since the very first symbolic communication systems. While thinking in maps may first bring to mind the idea of cartography, a map does not need to be geographic—it can be any symbolic depiction …

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The anatomy of a perfect educational article

Writing an educational article about something you want to learn about may be one of the best ways to study a topic. The Feynman Technique—which I recently discovered may have been coined by Scott Young—helps you understand anything by pretending you are explaining the concept to a child or someone who has no prior knowledge …

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Connectedness and complex systems with Dr John L. Collins

Welcome to the fourth instalment in our interview series, where I ask highly creative and innovative people how they manage to achieve more without sacrificing their mental health. Our guest is Dr John L. Collins, a Chartered Mathematician and Chartered Physicist who holds a PhD in Nuclear Physics and Semiconductor theory from Aston University. John …

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Writing as a thinking tool

Writing has many science-based benefits. It can help you develop your self-authorship, reflect and create metacognitive routines through journaling, and has been shown to make you happier and healthier. For something that’s completely free, it’s a pretty good deal. Beyond these benefits, writing is also a thinking tool. Not only for personal management, but for …

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Confirmation bias: believing what you see, seeing what you believe

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” — Robertson Davies. A person who thinks women are bad drivers is more likely to notice driving mistakes made by women. A detective who is convinced a suspect is guilty is more likely to pay attention to evidence corroborating their intuition. And, while someone …

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Cognitive biases in entrepreneurship: a research report

Scenario 1 – Joe and Jane decided to play a game in which they toss a coin a few times. Every time a head came up, Joe had to give Jane $10 and every time a tail came up, Jane had to give Joe $10. They could toss the coin any number of times they …

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The optionality fallacy

We are obsessed with optionality. Not sure what to do with your life? Most people will tell you to get a degree. Not quite sure what to do with this degree? Go to grad school. Still not quite sure? Get a consulting role at a big firm so you can decide what kind of job …

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You can eat your mallow: debunking the marshmallow test

The Stanford marshmallow experiment is probably the most famous study in delayed gratification. In 1972, a group of kids was asked to make a simple choice: you can eat this marshmallow now, or wait 15 minutes and receive a second treat. In the paper, the researchers highlighted two significant findings. First, not physically seeing the …

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Beyond facts: divergent thinking

When trying to solve a problem, we often tend to look for useful facts that may guide us to the “correct” answer. This type of thinking—called convergent thinking—works great when the problem we want to solve is clear and requires a reasonable solution. But for bigger, more complex problems, convergent thinking may be too limited. …

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How to use Roam Research: a tool for metacognition

Last updated: January 5, 2021 I’ve never been a huge fan of knowledge management tools. Too rigid, too complex, not adapted to the intricacies of the human mind. I never managed to get on the Evernote or Notion bandwagon. It always felt like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Instead, I …

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