What's Your Time Preference?

Why thinking long term can lead to a competitive advantage, and what that looks like in business and in careers. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 5 days ago

Reduce Noise, Not Cognitive Biases

Results from the BIN paper, or why reducing noise in your decision making is far easier than fighting your cognitive biases. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 26 days ago

Seek Ideas at the Right Level of Abstraction (2020)

A thinking trap for those of us who are analytical. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 1 month ago

The Games People Play with Cash Flow

One way that first principles thinking fails is when you build your analysis up from a deficient set of base principles. Everything is correct and true, but you still end up mistaken. Here's how that looks like in practice. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 2 months ago

‘Strong Opinions, Weakly Held’ Doesn't Work That Well

Why ‘Strong Opinions, Weakly Held’ isn't as great a thinking tool as you might think. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 7 months ago

Games, Strategies, Heuristics

Psychological heuristics (or mental shortcuts) tend to get a bad rep today. But heuristics are what makes expertise possible. Here's why heuristics aren't as bad as we make them out to be. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 7 months ago

The Limits of Applied Superforecasting

Is it really worth it to generate well-calibrated probabilistic predictions? Or would you do better if you assume that all prediction is too difficult, and act as if this were the case? | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 8 months ago

What Uncertainty Feels Like

When you're taking action in the face of uncertainty, you have to make peace with the idea that you're never going to know if you're doing the right thing. This pandemic is one way of remembering what that's going to feel like. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 8 months ago

Tacit Knowledge Is a Real Thing

What tacit knowledge is, and why it is the most interesting topic in the study of expertise today. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 8 months ago

Good Synthesis Is the Start of Good Sensemaking

When you're faced with uncertainty, the best thing you can do is analyse your inputs, synthesise a new model, and then destroy it to start over again. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 9 months ago

Exploiting Productivity Momentum

Notes from putting three variations of productivity momentum to practice. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 10 months ago

Watch the Cash Flow

Why cash flow is the right lens to use as we watch the current pandemic recession unfolding in real time. Written with the employee in mind. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 10 months ago

Get Numb Before You Get Good

You can't pursue expertise if you're scared of starting. Why it's better to get numb first before you focus on getting good. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 12 months ago

Desire for Mission Is a Career Limiting Belief

Why it's sometimes limiting to optimise for mission, especially if you're at the start of your career. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 1 year ago

The guide to reading a book a week for your career

Everything that's helped me read a book a week, even with a full-time job. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 1 year ago

Expertise Is 'Just' Pattern Matching

I find it a little difficult to believe that expertise is 'merely' pattern-matching. And yet it seems to have resulted in the some of my best learning outcomes over the past year. A look at my scepticism, in the context of several ideas we've covered in this blog. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 1 year ago

The Chinese Businessman Paradox

The Chinese Businessmen Paradox: what is it that makes uneducated, superstitious Chinese businessmen successful? | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 1 year ago

To Get Good, Go After the Metagame

What do metagames have to do with the acquisition of expertise? | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 1 year ago

What the CEO Wants You to Know

Ram Charan's 2001 book on business principles is probably the best concise introduction to how a business works. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 1 year ago

How the Superforecasters Do It

A comprehensive summary of superforecaster techniques from Philip Tetlock & Dan Gardner's Superforecasting. Because — let's face it — you want to predict the future, don't you? | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 1 year ago

The Land and Expand Strategy for Reading

A reading technique that's ridiculously simple, and surprisingly effective when used in service of reading for career goals. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 1 year ago

A Framework for Putting Mental Models to Practice

A Framework for Putting Mental Models to Practice is a series that examines the idea of putting Charlie Munger's Elementary Worldly Wisdom to practice in one's life in the pursuit of better decision making. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 1 year ago

Obviously Awesome

April Dunford's book on product positioning is awesome, and has some overlap with those of us who are interested in positioning an individual career. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 1 year ago

The Problems with Deliberate Practice

Have you ever tried putting deliberate practice to practice? If you have, it's likely that you'll have noticed just how difficult it is to apply deliberate practice principles to your career. Anyone that tells you otherwise is lying; here's why. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 1 year ago

The Mental Model Fallacy

The mental model fallacy is that it’s worth it to read descriptions of mental models, written and aggregated by non-practitioners, in the pursuit of self-improvement and success. It isn't. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 2 years ago

The 3 kinds of non fiction books

There are 3 kinds of non-fiction book: 💁 narrative, 🌳 tree, and 🌿 branch. Not every non-fiction book is worth reading, and not every book should be read the same way. These categories explain why. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 2 years ago

So Good They Can't Ignore You

Following your passion is the worst career advice you can get. Cal Newport argues for a more effective alternative. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 2 years ago

A Nuanced Take on Preventing Burnout

A technique to prevent burnout from my old bosses in Silicon Valley. And then some moral philosophising. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 2 years ago

Dismissively Stubborn

Why dismissively stubborn people are the worse kind of stubborn. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 2 years ago

Understand That People Are Wired Very Differently

Understanding how the human brain works helps with managing yourself, as well as with orchestrating other people. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 2 years ago

How to Optimise for Success, a Theory

Successful practitioners use 'optimise for usefulness' over 'optimise for truth'. Unintended side effect: this means it's ok to believe in religion, so long as it doesn't harm you. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 2 years ago

Overcompensate to Compensate for Software Perfection

Overcompensate to compensate for the software engineer's need for perfection. | Continue reading


@commoncog.com | 2 years ago