Joys of Compounding Chapter 3: Obtaining Worldly Wisdom Through a Latticework of Mental Models

  • Multidisciplinary thinking allows us to see with new eyes.
  • A person can use the combined output of the synthesis of a range of different models from many different disciplines — psychology, history, mathematics, physics, philosophy, biology, and so on — to produce something that has more value than the sum of its parts.

How to Attain Worldly Wisdom

  • Specialise most of the time, but also cultivate broad-based general awareness.
  • Read a wide range of books.
  • Experiment with different subject areas.
  • Learn the big ideas from key disciplines, how they are related, and the consequences of that relationship.


  • Usually, the first thought is neither original nor the best.
  • The path to an original idea: concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, and letting all the parts of the mind come into play.
  • Attention span is critical for a deep understanding of a subject matter.

5 Elements of Effective Thinking (Dr. Edward Burger & Dr. Michael Starbird)

  • Understand Deeply: Identify the core ideas and learn them. Revisit them repeatedly until you understand them deeply.
  • Make Mistakes: Start with a probable solution (hypothesis) and continue correcting the mistakes until you arrive at the right solution.
  • Raise Questions: If you do not understand, ask.
  • Follow the Flow of Ideas: To understand a concept, discover how it evolved from simpler concepts.
  • Change: Question the things you have taken for granted over the years. Change the habit of learning superficially and start learning more deeply.

Spend your time thinking, reading, learning, and obtaining worldly wisdom.

We are all rough drafts of the person we’re still becoming.

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