Elon Musks' "3-Step" First Principles Thinking: How to Think and Solve Difficult Problems Like a...
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"Well, I do think there’s a good framework for thinking. It is physics. You know, the sort of first principles reasoning.
(...) What I mean by that is, boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there, as opposed to reasoning by analogy.
Through most of our life, we get through life by reasoning by analogy, which essentially means copying what other people do with slight variations."
"It is important to view knowledge as sort of semantic tree.
Make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.”
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
"I tend to approach things from a physics framework. And physics teaches you to reason from first principles ra..."
Comparison thinking: comes up with solutions based on pre-existing ideas. It is the way we normally think but it also limits the solutions to possible permutations of what already exists.
First principles thinking: starts free of preconceptions by studying the fundamentals of something and then working your way to a new thing. This helps you understand complex problems.
Is a basic, foundational, self-evident proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption.
"… it's important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy. We are doing this because it's like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing. But with first principles, you boil things down to the most fundamental truths and then reason up from there."
Is the act of deconstructing something to the fundamental parts that you know are true and building up from there.
Also called reasoning from first principles, it effectively he...
“Physics teaches you to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. So I said, okay, let’s look at the first principles. What is a rocket made of? Aerospace-grade aluminum alloys, plus some titanium, copper, and carbon fiber. Then I asked, what is the value of those materials on the commodity market? It turned out that the materials cost of a rocket was around two percent of the typical price.”
A first principle is a basic assumption that cannot be deduced any further.
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Breaking down complicated problems into basic elements and then reassemble them from the ground up.
It’s one of the best ways to learn to think for yourself, unlock your creative poten...
...is a foundational proposition or assumption that stands alone. We cannot deduce first principles from any other proposition or assumption.
Reasoning by first principles removes the impurity of assumptions and conventions. What remains is the essentials.
If we never learn to take something apart, test the assumptions, and reconstruct it, we end up trapped in what other people tell us.
We remain trapped in the way things have always been done. When the environment changes, we just continue as if things were the same.
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Is a foundational truth that is "known by nature". It is not an assumption or deduction based on another theory or supposition but it’s also not an absolute truth but rather an observed one, meanin...
The CEO might re-envision the way his company tackles development, by bringing in other departments that don't normally get to participate in this work, and creating incentives for original thinking from anyone in the company.
On a personal level, you may make yourself more open to other people's perspectives and find value on discussions that you may not have previously had.
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Also known as Deconstruction, it’s a way of thinking supported by Elon Musk and many scientists. It consists of breaking what you know into its components until its fundamental parts can be ...
1. Deconstruct and look at the components of what you're working on and question all the assumptions you have about them. Think of different ways the same function can be accomplished.
2. Deconstruct it and mash it up with products or concepts from different contexts to generate new ideas.
Comparison Thinking (reason through analogy)
When you make decisions and judgement calls based on what you or others have experienced. An easy mode of thinking but also
Identify the Problem
What is something that I want to change in my life?
Deconstruct the Problem
What are the causes of my problems? How does it affect my life?
Solve the Problem
Start creating your new framework. You could think of multiple ways to achieve your goals easily.
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Sherlock Holmes observed facts without being judgmental. He would construct a hypothesis about what he believed happened. He would then search for more evidence to logically validate his ini...
Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot encourages everybody to tell their story. Stories help Poirot comprehend what kind of person the victim was. And to uncover the murderer’ motive.
Storytelling is powerful to uncover insights, not just the truth. Design Thinking — a process for creative problem solving — leverages the power of stories to detect human desires and needs.
Sarah Linden is the least self-aware television detective.
Her dedication to her work and stubbornness are unbeatable. She never gives up. Even though she fails in many aspects of her life — like being a mother. But, she keeps showing up and trying to do better. She tries again, fails again, and fails better.
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... is someone who becomes competent in at least 3 diverse domains and integrates them into a top 1-percent skill set.
In another words, they bring the best of what humanity has discov...
"Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses — especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else."
Polymaths have existed forever (they are often the ones who’ve advanced Western civilization more than any others ) but they’ve been called different things throughout history:
Philosopher king: Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, Archimedes.
Renaissance person: Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei.
Gentleman scholar: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams.
Polymath: Marie Curie, Isaac Newton, Theodore Roosevelt.
Modern polymath: Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg.
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