Listening Notes: Venkatesh Rao on The Three Types of Decision Makers, Mental Models, and How to Process Information | The Knowledge Podcast

Listening Notes for Venkatesh Rao on The Three Types of Decision Makers, Mental Models, and How to Process Information | The Knowledge Podcast

Link to the podcast: https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2016/02/venkatesh-rao-decision-making/

Types of Decision Makers

  • Evidence-based
  • Moral (right vs wrong)
  • Tribal (emotional/affiliation decision-making)

Staying grounded in reality by maintaining cracks in your mental models. (Note: I first need to codify my existing mental models)

From Wikipedia: Red Queen effect is an evolutionary hypothesis which proposes that organisms must constantly adapt, evolve, and proliferate not merely to gain reproductive advantage, but also simply to survive while pitted against ever-evolving opposing organisms in an ever-changing environment. The phenomenon’s name is derived from a statement that the Red Queen made to Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass in her explanation of the nature of Looking-Glass Land: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”

Venkatesh Rao only takes notes when he is doing academic research (for references and quotes). He optimizes normal reading for serendipity. Note taking, he thinks, interferes with that.

How do we structure organizations as we get more and more independent workers/free agents?

There are two ways of looking at the Uber situation:

  1. Drivers not getting paid enough based on their being the necessary labor (drivers) (1920s labor style)
  2. Drivers training an AI data set for self-driving cars, so being paid as researchers helping the tech transition.

Not picking a book that influenced you the most. Influence is difficult to measure. I read quite a bit and different books do different things for me at various points in my life. There are books that were important to me at a particular time that I wouldn’t even have finished the first chapter of at another time. There are books I reread every few years, but I think it has more to do with personal attachment and what I need, not necessarily what will work for someone else. This is what I like to tell people: Go read more. Read things that give you joy. Read things you are curious about.