Gabriel Weinberg (@yegg) is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, founder of privacy-protecting search engine DuckDuckGo, and coauthor of Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models.

What We Discuss with Gabriel Weinberg:

  • What are mental models, and how can they be applied to make your life run more efficiently and effectively?
  • How mental models used primarily in physics, economics, biology, and math can be easily adjusted for everyday decisions.
  • What a South American tribe that can only count to three and our own grade school experiences with multiplication tables can teach us about the power of math as a mental model.
  • Why you should be second-guessing your natural intuition during the decision-making process, and how you can use mental models to do it.
  • First principles versus conventional wisdom for approaching familiar situations in an innovative way.
  • And much more…

Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!

(Download Episode Here)
(Subscribe to the Podcast Here)
Worksheet for this Episode

Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCannDuckDuckGo founder and Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models co-author Gabriel Weinberg joins us to discuss how we can leverage mental models to easily examine and understand complex concepts, solve problems, and identify cognitive biases, giving us a more accurate and comprehensive view of the world around us.

It might sound complicated, but it’s quite the opposite. By the end of this episode, you’ll be making better decisions more reliably and seeing through smoke and mirrors when someone is intentionally trying to deceive you — and that is a skill set worth tucking into your arsenal. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

Please Scroll down for Full Show Notes and Featured Resources!

Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at!

Eight Sleep is the first bed engineered with dynamic cooling and heating that keeps you at the perfect temperature all night long. Get $100 off your purchase when you go to!

Need custom graphics, logos, or Web design? Access a community of 600,000+ designers by registering at and enjoy up to $100 off with The Jordan Harbinger Show bonus offer!

Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. Apply simply. Understand fully. Mortgage confidently. To get started, go to!

Does your business have an Internet presence? Save up to a whopping 62% on new webhosting packages with HostGator at!

The Mental Illness Happy Hour with Paul Gilmartin is a weekly online podcast that interviews comedians, artists, friends, and the occasional doctor. Each episode explores mental illness, trauma, addiction and negative thinking. Give it a listen here!

More About This Show

Like a mathematical equation, a mental model may seem convoluted at first glance, but it’s actually designed to simplify the process by which an answer is found. This is easily illustrated by thinking back to the way you calculated sums when you only understood addition and subtraction, and how the game changed when you learned the time-saving power of multiplication. More suddenly became possible with much less effort.

“‘Mental models’ is a fancy term for concepts,” says DuckDuckGo founder and Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models coauthor Gabriel Weinberg. “And you have concepts for everything. But there are several concepts (about 300 in the book) that are just generally useful across all sorts of areas. For example, I was a physics major in college. Lots of physics concepts you probably don’t care at all about aren’t generally useful, but one that is is critical mass.”

Initially conceived to describe the amount of material necessary to set off a nuclear chain reaction, critical mass can be converted into a mental model to strategically gauge how much effort and energy you need to pour into a project to make it self-sustaining. For instance: If you’ve got a podcast, at what point does your audience tip from friends and family who feel an obligation to listen over to an enthusiastic fan base that happily spreads the news of your existence without even being asked?

“If you can recognize that this is a critical mass situation, you can immediately realize that it’s going to have a snowball at some point and you can start to ask questions like: ‘How many people do I need to reach critical mass?’ or ‘Can I do it earlier?’ or ‘Is there an easier way to reach it?’ These are effectively shortcuts of how to think strategically,” says Gabriel.

Physics is just one area from which mental models can be drawn, but we can also adapt them from economics, law, biology, math — really any field that puts the application of ideas to the test and creates formulas to accurately predict results based on what’s already been observed.

Or, as the wise Thomas Dolby once explained in perhaps the shortest cut of all between concept and action: “SCIENCE!”

Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about the Streisand effect, chilling effects, survivorship bias, unforced errors, confirmation bias, reciprocity, first principles, why Jordan never grew up to be Dan Rather, testing assumptions, razors sharpened by Occam and Hanlon, the most respectful interpretation for increased empathy, nudging, fundamental attribution errors, reversible versus irreversible decisions, forcing function, the Semmelweis reflex, thinking grey, disconfirmation bias, the backfire effect, cognitive dissonance, the five whys, root cause analysis, blameless postmortems, optimistic probability bias, Maslow’s hierarchy, what it’s like to testify in front of Congress, how Gabriel helps his own children develop critical thinking, and much more!


If you enjoyed this session with Gabriel Weinberg, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:

Click here to thank Gabriel Weinberg at Twitter!

Click here to let Jordan know about your number one takeaway from this episode!

And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at

Resources from This Episode:

Worksheet for this Episode

Download Worksheet for How Mental Models Boost Super Thinking

in Podcast Episodes