Please or Register to create posts and topics.

First Principles Thinking (Mental Model For Problem-Solving)

I stumbled upon this video of Elon Must applying First Principles  and did some deeper digging on the topic from various videos and websites. Essentially the mindset is to to "boil things down to the fundamental truth...and reason up from there (non-negotiables) ." rather then thinking by analogy/copying others.

Elon's E.g:

  • Batteries are high cost(Assumption)
    • What are the batteries made out of?
    • What's the market value of the materials?
      • List of materials
    • How much would it cost if we bought that at the London Metal exchange how much would it cost?
      • Like $80 per kwh
      • Think of clever ways to shape it into a battery cell

Can be applied for when:

  • Beginning something new
  • Understanding more complex things
  • Dealing with problems


  • Can be extremely mentally taxing/energy intensive
  • Not to be applied to everything


More specific steps:

  1. Clarify your thinking and origins of ideas
  2. Identify and Challenge assumptions
  3. Look for Evidence
  4. Consider alternative perspectives
  5. Examine consequences and implications
  6. Question the original questions


Smilar method(more for business):

    1. Definition of the problem
    2. Data collection
    3. Cause analysis (why/what is going on here?)
    4. Solution and implementation
    5. Evaluation of effect
    6. Standardisation (How widely you can apply it)
    7. Evaluation of process

Hoped this help or provided some form of value!

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Thank you for sharing this, Dre.

Sounds like a good approach to find and vet potentially groundbreaking ideas.

Dre has reacted to this post.
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?