There are different points of view provided by different people with different backgrounds. At the end of the last year, I asked myself what are some top ideas that changed my perception of the world. Here they are.
For some reason, systematic thinking is something that took me a long time to catch up with. When I did, it amazed me. Donella Meadows in her book Thinking in Systems provides a simple yet robust introduction to this area. After absorbing it, my thinking about traffic jams, crises and viruses changed a lot. If you’d like to see this approach in action, I recommend seeing how Sebastian Gebski modelled the Covid pandemic.
I’m still before reading the whole Ray Dalio’s The Changing World Order as well as Why Nations Fail. I just finished Debt and what stroke me was how bad we are in understanding and seeing through the history. We treat each crisis or war as something unique, something that didn’t happen before. And I don’t mean only temporal differences in one particular region. What I mean is also mapping between countries or even continents (something greatly covered by chapters about the Axial Age and the Middle Ages in the mentioned Debt book). We’re not snowflakes, and neither are our problems nor a crisis. It’s interesting and sad at the same time human disability to reach outside their own lifespans even with all the history records we have.
If one says mental model, it’s highly likely that it will be followed by the Farnam Street. This was another thing that I’m struggling with for an unreasonable amount of time. Thinking in a different way? Nowadays, the FS newsletter as well as their podcast is a good way of providing different points of view, different ways of thinking. One does not need to agree with all of them, but it’s great to have an insight into smart people’s way of doing things and try to incorporate or use another mental model.
Wardley Maps is a tool that discouraged me from getting involved in a lot of activities. Seriously. After all, if you ask yourself a question similar to why on Earth would I like to make my own flour? or any other commodity that is broadly available, it is discouraging. At the same time, the mapping that it brings, even with me not actively mapping every single project I get involve with, is a powerful tool to see the value chain and all its dependencies. And, the most important thing in the IT worlds, whether to buy or build something.
These are the tools that at this moment of reflection I perceive as the most important ones as they are of perceiving the world and making better (than before) decisions.