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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 helps many great thinkers to break down complicated problems and generate original solutions while teaching how to think for oneself.

MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

Even if you aren't trying to develop innovative ideas, understanding the first principles of your field is a smart use of your time. Without a firm grasp of the basics, there is little chance of mastering the details that make the difference at elite levels of competition.

Every i...

Method used by René Descartes in which he would “systematically doubt everything he could possibly doubt until he was left with what he saw as purely indubitable truths."

In theory, first principles thinking requires you to dig deeper and deeper until you are left with only the foundational truths of a situation.

In practice, you don't have to go down to the atomic level to benefit from first principles thinking. Just going one or two levels deeper than m...

Many groundbreaking ideas have been a result of boiling things down to the first principles and then substituting one of the key parts for a more effective solution.

The best solution is often not where everyone is already looking. After getting to the facts, first principle t...

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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 potential, and move from linear to non-linear results.

This approach was used by the philosopher Ar...

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...

Don't flow with the mainstream

Moving away from analogy = Removing iterative steps based on other or older experiences and biases and prejudices