3 Incredibly Useful Books On Mental-Models I Highly Recommend As They Helped Me Become Better, Make Better Decisions & See The World Differently.

Madhusudhan Anand's Blog
7 min readNov 8, 2021

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers. — Charles W. Eliot

Image of my WFH desk with books on it.

We don’t always have the luxury of a mentor or someone who you can look up to for help. Many times you will be alone and you have to deal with a situation or make a decision on your own. I had hundreds of those very critical moments in my life this year and thankfully I had the privilege and company of these books (thanks to the authors who wrote them).

How do we make decisions, and based on what do we take them? Many times it is subjective, intuitive or impulsive. Can we make fact-based decisions that are going to be affecting our future, if not the present? Life is all about making those choices, isn’t it?

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take and the decisions we waited to make.

Most of the time, you’d be surprised to learn that you are just one decision from a better life.

And as James Clear talks about it in his blog in his words “ Mental models help you understand life. For example, supply and demand is a mental model that helps you understand how the economy works. Game theory is a mental model that helps you understand how relationships and trust work. Entropy is a mental model that helps you understand how disorder and decay work.

Mental models also guide your perception and behaviour. They are the thinking tools that you use to understand life, make decisions, and solve problems. Learning a new mental model gives you a new way to see the world — like Richard Feynman learning a new math technique.

If you are new to this then read: How to Train Your Brain to Think in New Ways — This article shares some useful examples of how mental models work (and how the right mental model can make a big difference).

Here is another list of some incredibly useful books I loved not only reading and making notes out of them but, they noticeably helped me become more productive, more balanced w.r.t emotions, made me calm and educated me of so many stories of inspiration and motivation.

Book1: Super Thinking: Upgrade Your Reasoning and Make Better Decisions with Mental Models

Super Thinking Book Cover

You want to make better decisions. You want to be right more of the time professionally and personally. However, being more right consistently is a hard problem because the world is such a complex, evolving place. How do you navigate this complexity?

Mental models are decision-making tools that guide our perception of the world and our behaviour in it. They help us understand life, make decisions and solve problems. The best models help us make intelligent investments, develop groundbreaking technologies and even travel to outer space.

It will make even the most complex models accessible and engaging to enable you to make better, more informed decisions in every part of your life.

Book 2: Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies for Giant Leaps in Work and Life

Book cover of Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol

Named a ‘must read’ by Susan Cain, ‘endlessly fascinating’ by Daniel Pink, and ‘bursting with practical insights’ by Adam Grant.

In this accessible and practical book, Ozan Varol reveals nine simple strategies from rocket science that you can use to make your own giant leaps in work and life — whether it’s landing your dream job, accelerating your business, learning a new skill, or creating the next breakthrough product. Today, thinking like a rocket scientist is a necessity. We all encounter complex and unfamiliar problems in our lives. Those who can tackle these problems — without clear guidelines and with the clock ticking — enjoy an extraordinary advantage.

Think Like a Rocket Scientist will inspire you to take your own moonshot and enable you to achieve liftoff.

Book 3: The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed on Your Own Terms

Cover of the book: The Code of the Extraordinary Mind

Vishal is so cool! I knew he was good had no idea he would be brilliant. I changed my entire perspective of him after I read this book. It's a must-read and highly recommended by many industry stalwarts too.

This book talks about the blueprint for retraining the mind to achieve whole-life transformation

Everything we know about the world today follows an invisible set of rules — how we work, love, parent, spend our money, and define success. But what if we could remove these outdated ideas and start anew? What would our lives look like if we could redefine the meaning of happiness, purpose, and success?

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind blends computational thinking, integral theory, modern spirituality, evolutionary biology, and a little bit of humour to provide a revolutionary framework for re-coding ourselves with new, empowering beliefs and behaviours so we can live extraordinary lives. Throughout, Vishen Lakhiani shares transformative insights from legendary thinkers including Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Arianna Huffington, among others, helping us to think like the greatest creative minds of our era — questioning, challenging, and creating new rules for our lives. Lakhiani’s 10 laws help us retrain our minds to grow and achieve more than we ever thought was possible, showing us that we do not need to follow convention and can succeed on our own terms no matter where we are starting from.

IMPRESSIVE INFLUENCER NETWORK: Vishen will have the support of big names including Jack Canfield, Brendon Burchard, Dave Asprey, Robin Sharma, Tom Bilyeu, Lewis Howes, Lisa Nichols, and many others to push the paperback edition, strategically timing promotions to drive the hardcover launch of his new book publishing in April 2020, The Code of the Extraordinary Team.

SPECIAL ONLINE RESOURCES: This is more than just a book — readers gain access to an entire global learning platform and community where they can dive deeper into topics covered in the book, learn from individuals featured in the book, and connect with other readers.

Vishen Lakhiani will make you question everything you thought you knew about your life. From happiness and health to purpose and power, this book is a revolutionary roadmap to become the best, most extraordinary version of yourself — period.” — Dave Asprey, bio-Hacker and founder of Bulletproof Exec and Bulletproof Coffee.

Entertains while teaching, succinctly explaining how to shed the cultural baggage that has been holding you back, so you can free your life and become the extraordinary person you were meant to be.” — JJ Virgin, celebrity nutrition and fitness expert, New York Times bestselling author.

Book 3: The Great Mental Models: Physics, Chemistry and Biology & The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts(Set of 2books)

Disclaimer: There are 3 volumes of the Great Mental Models in total. I am recommending 2 and 3. This is a big and very practical handbook. There are lots of action items to apply, there are models to remember, write down the points and I am still reading this.

This is the second book in The Great Mental Models series and the highly anticipated follow up to the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Volume 1: General Thinking Concepts. We tend to isolate the things we know in the domain we learned. For example: What does the inertia of a rolling stone have to do with perseverance and being open-minded? How can the ancient process of steel production make you a more creative and innovative thinker? What does the replication of our skin cells have to do with being a stronger and more effective leader? On the surface, these concepts may appear to be dissimilar and unrelated. But the surprising truth is the hard sciences (physics, chemistry, and biology) offer a wealth of useful tools you can use to develop critically important skills like
* Relationship building
* Leadership
* Communication
* Creativity
* Curiosity
* Problem-solving
* Decision-making
This second volume of the Great Mental Models series shows you how to make those connections. It explores the core ideas from the hard sciences and offers nearly two dozen models to add to your mental toolbox. You'll not only get a better understanding of the forces that influence the world around you, but you'll learn how to direct those forces to create outsized advantages in the areas of your life that matter most to you.

“Nothing happens until you decide. Make a decision and watch your life move forward.” Oprah Winfrey

I hope you read the books, take charge of your decisions and have as much fun I did if not more. Thanks for reading.



Madhusudhan Anand's Blog

I write about Books, Climate, Air pollution, Research, Data Science, Entrepreneurship, Startups, Tech, Learning & Career