Latticework of Mental Models

Charlies Munger advocates for building a "broad theoretical toolbox" that he calls a Latticework of Mental Models. The idea is to accumulate concepts from a wide range of disciplines so that our facts can "hang together" in a network of ideas.

Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience, both vicarious and direct, on this latticework of models. You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered. Well, they fail in school and in life . You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head.

(Munger 1994)

Having a diversity of mental models ensures that we don't get attached to just a few.

The slipbox helps us build this latticework. Firstly, through focusing on principals of ideas as we store notes, and secondly, through the process of connecting to other notes.

What's more, we actively practice recall of older ideas each time we make search for connections, allowing for greater retention and developing a positive "vicious circle" of learning.

Ahrens (2017) (pg. 126-129)

I am reminded of a answer from The Art of Game Design to the question: what skills does a game designer need?

In short, all of them. almost anything that you can be good at can become a useful skill for a game designer.

Schell (2015) (pg. 3)

Setting out to build a cross-discipline latticework like this is a great example of practicing Growth Mindset.

Cover image from Latticework at Ceremonial Court in Education City on Wikimedia.


Sönke Ahrens. How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking: For Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers. CreateSpace, North Charleston, SC, 2017. ISBN 978-1-5428-6650-7.

Jesse Schell. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. CRC Press, Boca Raton, second edition edition, 2015. ISBN 978-1-4665-9864-5.