First Principles Thinking
It is breaking down of a complex problem into smaller parts, then solving those smaller parts — usually one at a time, and then integrating those solutions to make a wholistic one.
Okay, i put that heavy statement directly below the title for description purpose (ignore!)
This article/essay/whatever is just my twitter thread’s conversion into the medium format. Feel free to read the thread instead.
- First Principles Thinking. What does it mean?
It means reasoning(establishing logic for something) from ground up.
2. It is breaking down of a complex problem into smaller parts, then solving those smaller parts — usually one at a time, and then integrating those solutions to make a wholistic one
4. A complex problem → divide into smaller parts → solve smaller parts → integrate → BOOM! (problem solved!)
5. It could be applied to any task that you are handling — especially those which seem unsolvable or hard.
6. It should be applied to make existing solutions energy efficient, faster, and better!
7. It’s a well-established approach in the scientific community and many high achieving entrepreneurs like Elon Musk use it.
8. Famous example: Elon Musk applied it to solve his rocketry problem
9. Problem: expensive rockets → why so? → solve it → result: cheaper rockets
“I think it’s important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy.” Elon Musk
10. It’s a wonderful tool to understand the world. Use it for learning.
for example: ask questions like “X” happens — why? “Y” happens — why? and so on. you get the point.
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Hope this helps you in your life. Thanks for reading!
You can find me on twitter @pagarevijayy, I am open for discussions. See ya.
keywords: reverse engineering, creativity, mental model
key people: aristotle, charlie munger, elon musk, richard feynman, others.
generally used in: physics (e.g. atomic models)