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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 most people is often enough.
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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.
“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 ...
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."
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 tea...
Different solutions present themselves at different layers of abstraction. Depending on how deep and thorough is your breakdown of the situation, putting them all back together may yield different solutions.
One of the primary obstacles to first principles thinking is our tendency to focus on making slight iterations on the same theme. The problem is that, old conventions and forms are often accepted without question and they set boundaries around creativity.
Optimize the function. Ig...
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...
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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The First Principles Thinking can be applied in our daily life:
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...
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 offers no innovation or large changes.
First Principles Thinking (new pe...
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