The Book of Beautiful Questions Summary
Updated: Jan 8
Mental Models: Commitment and Consistency Bias, Emotions: Fear, First Conclusion Bias, Language Instinct, Liking, Narrative Instinct, Newton's 3rd Law: Action & Reaction, Tendency to Minimize Energy Output
Mental Models from the book:
'The Book of Beautiful Questions' can be summarised into 8 mental models:
1. Commitment & Consistency Bias
Jeff Bezos says 'if you have a conviction....even if there is no consensus say: "Look, I know we disagree on this but will you gamble with me on it? [can we disagree and commit?]
2. Emotions: Fear
We are happier when we make bolder choices. Steven Levitt conducted a study using people who were in the process of making a difficult decision. These people agreed to use a coin flip to decide if they would go ahead with their decision, if it landed heads they would say "yes". 6 months later he found that the "yes/heads" people were significantly happier than the "no/tails" people. When left to our devices we are too risk-averse and say no too often.
To overcome our risk aversion tendency: (instead of using a coin) use a weighted question: If I am usually better off saying yes to bold opportunities, why wouldn't I say yes to this one?
3. First Conclusion Bias
Scientific studies do not support the idea of following your gut instincts. You will be wrong more than you are right.
Asking: "And what else?"... encourages people to think more and go beyond the obvious answers and conclusions.
4. Language Instinct
To become a better listener ask:
"Just to make sure I am understanding, are you saying...."
"Can I try and explain what I think your position is- and then you can do the same for me? Because until we can accurately present one another's arguments, we do not know what the other is saying"
Repeat back a few words that the person has said in the form of a question.
If you ask more questions you become more likable.
6. Narrative Instinct
The Journalist Mindset - Before going to a gathering tell yourself: I am going to go to this event as a journalist, looking for stories about the people I meet.
We are too short-termist in our thinking. To overcome this ask yourself: Which decision will make for a better story in 5 years?
7. Newton's 3rd Law: Action & Reaction
Ask Don't Sell - People put up their defenses when they think you are trying to sell them something. When you ask questions you build a relationship.
8. Tendency to Minimize Energy Output
Daniel Kahneman found that "people who face a difficult question, often answer an easier one instead."
Mental Model Mind Maps:
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