the building blocks of making

better decisions


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

Occam's Razor

When comparing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.


Occam's razor originally stated that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily. In other words, don't complicate things when you don't need to. By shaving off unnecessary additions, the resulting explanation tends to be less ambiguous, easier to verify, and just plain simpler. Occam's Razor is often mentioned when selecting a simple solution over a complex one. Note that this is a slightly stronger form than the principle intended--reality can be complex and there are cases where the simple solution is not correct.


  • A sore throat during during the winter is probably the result of a cold even though the symptoms match a rare terminal disease on WebMD.

  • The pyramids being built by humans has far less assumptions than the pyramids being built by aliens.