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Want to Think Like Elon Musk? First You Need to Forget What You Think You Know

First Principles Thinking

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 understood.

We have a lot of assumptions. Breaking something apart yields more information allowing you to challenge assumptions.

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Want to Think Like Elon Musk? First You Need to Forget What You Think You Know

Want to Think Like Elon Musk? First You Need to Forget What You Think You Know

https://www.inc.com/ayse-birsel/want-to-think-like-elon-musk-first-you-need-to-forget-what-you-think-you-know.html

inc.com

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Key Ideas

First Principles Thinking

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 understood.

We have a lot of assumptions. Breaking something apart yields more information allowing you to challenge assumptions.

Applying First Principles Thinking

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. 

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First Principles Thinking
First Principles Thinking

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...

Elon Musk
Elon Musk

“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.”

First Principle

A first principle is a basic assumption that cannot be deduced any further. 

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First Principle
First Principle

Is a basic, foundational, self-evident proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk

"… 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."

First-principles thinking

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...

A first principle

...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. 

Cutting through the dogma

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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