The Multidisciplinary Approach to Thinking

Roam on Sundays V

This week’s newsletter focusses on Peter Kaufman’s speech about multidisciplinary thinking and how to live a meaningful life. These topics are truly core to what we all want to achieve in life. Kaufman wrote Poor Charlie’s Almanack, which goes into great depth on Charlie Munger’s way of thinking, investing, and living. It is a great book and this talk is an incredible synthesis of Charlie Munger’s approach.

Tonight, I will be streaming live on Twitch at 8PM EST, as I muse and riff of the notes from this week’s talk. Hope to see you all there to discuss!

As always you can read this week’s edition on [[Roam Research]], but without further ado, here’s what we can learn from Peter Kaufman:


  • 'The frog in the well knows nothing of the mighty ocean' - Japanese proverb

    • Life is filled with complex systems, so how are you going to make good decisions in life if all you know is one well—one specialty

  • Learn the big ideas from all the different disciplines

  • Test your mental models with the three biggest and most relevant sample sizes we have:

    • 13.7 billion years of the inorganic universe

    • 3.5 billion years of biology

    • 20,000 years of human history

  • Mirrored reciprocation accurately describes how everything in the world works—you get what you put in

    • Seen in classical physics (Newton's Third Law), human-animal interactions, and social interactions

  • Compound interest—dogged incremental constant progress over a very long timeframe—is the most powerful force that humans can potentially harness

    • Albert Einstein called it the most powerful force in the universe, the greatest mathematical discovery of all time, and the eighth wonder of the world

    • The most powerful force in biology has been evolution, which is another word for dogged incremental progress over a long duration

  • Simple transcends genius because you can understand it

  • 22-second course in leadership

    • Be trustworthy, principled, courageous, competent, loyal, kind, understanding, forgiving, and unselfish in every single one of your interactions with others

  • To get everything in life from everyone in your life:

    • Pay attention to them

    • Listen to them

    • Show them respect

    • Give them meaning, satisfaction and fulfillment

    • Convey they matter to you

    • Show you love them

    • But the key is going first, and what do you get back? Perfect mirrored reciprocation

  • To change someone's behaviour you must change how they see the world #inception

  • The secret to leadership is to see through the eyes of all six most important counterparty groups—customers, suppliers, employees, investors, regulators, and communities—and ensure everything you do is structured to be win-win with each of them

  • 'If you want to go quickly, go alone, if you want to go far, go together' - African proverb

  • 'No road is long with good company' - Turkish proverb


    Peter Kaufman: Six ways to break the investment code