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Mental models are a way of explaining how things work. Throughout our lives, we build up a personal collection of mental models to understand the world around us.

Mental models aren't perfect but developing a rich toolbox of them can be useful in navigating the complexities of life. Learning to intuitively apply the right models in the right situations is something we develop with practice.

This website is a curated collection of models with broad applicability in everyday life. There’s a focus on brief descriptions and simple, real life examples of the models in use.


Weekly Mental Model

Hanlon's Razor

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Description

Hanlon's razor asks for reflection in situations where we perceive behavior to be intentionally malicious. A useful exercise is to rethink the scenario by replacing the malicious intent with reasons such as stupidity, stress or just plain old misunderstanding.

Examples

  • Your five-year old probably isn't making a mess to make your life miserable but rather because they're a toddler.

  • A social networking website probably didn't flag your content out of malice but rather due to a faulty algorithm.