Are you kidding me?!
“Did you do this on purpose?” I couldn’t believe it.
“This is the book I wish I had written! Is that why you wrote it?”
“Yeah, just to make you jealous,” Gabriel Weinberg said. He’s the CEO and founder of Duck Duck Go (a search engine that doesn’t store your searches. And keeps you totally anonymous).
Google just gave him a new URL.
“Why’d they give it to you,” I asked.
“I can’t really talk about that,” he said.
“Ok, I get it. Secret stuff between search engines.”
Duck Duck Go has about 1% of the market right now. Which is about a billion searches a month.
But that’s not why I had him on. (This time… 5 years ago he came on. It was Ep. 54 “The Man Who Is Fighting Google”)
This time, I had him because he wrote: “Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models.”
Mental models = explanations about how we think.
We’re all trapped in these.
And the book goes through HUNDREDS of them.
So here’s what I recommend…
Pick up the book.
And write down the top 10-15 mental models that affect you personally.
That’s what I did.
If I had this book decades ago, I never would have gone broke. Or at least, I wouldn’t have gone broke a second and third time.
Because this is a cheat sheet to your screw ups. And your future.
I’ll give you three of my favorites.
1. YOUR BRAIN ASSUMES OTHER PEOPLE ARE MALICIOUS
Going on Twitter gives me anxiety. But I want to tweet. If I interview Gabriel Weinberg, I want to post about it.
I want to read jokes. And laugh. I want to see what I can help people with.
I like answering questions. Or retweeting.
But then I get hate from someone who doesn’t know me.
And I cringe.
This happens every day.
And the bigger you get, the bigger your enemies become.
My enemies are small potatoes.
But those potatoes hurt.
Gabriel wrote about this mental model in “Super Thinking.” It’s called “The Maliciousness Effect.”
Which basically means this:
You will think the worst about other people. And you’ll think the best about yourself.
This bias is inevitable in everybody. But you can catch it.
If you do these 2 steps:
- STEP 1: Be aware. Notice if you’re assuming the worst about someone or something. OR notice if someone is assuming the worst about you.
- STEP 2: Stop it. Just say, “I don’t know anything. I’m probably doing the maliciousness effect.” And remember you have a stupid brain.
Just like everyone else.
2. PEOPLE ARE LAZY. AND YOU’RE A PERSON.
The remote control was invented by the most active lazy person on the planet.
He thought, “I don’t want to get up to change the channel anymore. I’ve had it!”
So he got up to change the way we watch TV. Years later, the term “couch potato” is born.
Here’s another example of how lazy we are.
This is a cognitive bias that basically means you’ll reach for whatever information is available, which is usually the most recent thing that entered your brain.
Retention is hard.
So when it comes to performance reviews at work, your boss will usually just look at how you’ve been performing lately.
Not the actual year. Or quarter. Or whatever.
So here’s how you hack this:
As it gets closer to your review, start putting in more time. Do 10 hours. Show up early. Or stay late.
Then negotiate for a raise.
Your chances are higher. Because the boss is like you (he has a stupid brain). And he’s subjected to “availability bias.”
3. YOU LIKE YOURSELF
Thinking you’re better than you are = “the Dunning-Kruger effect.”
And it can have consequences…
If you think you’re a better driver than you are, you can get into an accident.
Robert Greene calls this the gap between what you think of yourself. And what other people think of you.
The smaller the gap, the better off you are. Because you’re chances of improving in an area of life (or a particular skill) go up.
And on the flip side, the bigger the gap, the more people hate you.
They say,“He’s an #$%@!**#.”
Gabriel told me how to decrease your own bias about yourself.
And why it’s important if you’re learning a new skill.
Let’s say you’re learning how to play the piano. And you start to improve. And think you’re an expert, when you’re actually an ammature…
Will you really do the deliberate practice necessary to improve?
So in that case, the Dunning-Kruger effect is bad.
But I actually like the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Because if you’re writing a novel, when you first start, you’re going to suck.
No matter what.
It will take years to get better.
Because anything worth learning takes time.
That’s the true definition of courage… to be so dumb, that you give it a shot.
Just look at Elon Musk.
Links & Resources:
- Read “Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models” by Gabriel Weinberg
- Listen to my first interview with Gabriel Weinberg from 2014 – Ep. 54 “The Man Who Is Fighting Google“
- Listen to Gabriel’s second interview on the podcast, Ep. 146 “19 Ways to Sell Your Ideas and Scale“
- You can see some of the chapters by going to superthinking.com
- For a more private search try Duck Duck Go at duck.com
- Follow Gabriel Weinberg on Twitter, Medium and Linkedin
- Check out his website ye.gg