Tools Guide

How to choose the right thinking tool

This is a simple guide for choosing the right thinking tool here on

Start here: what do you need to do?

  1. Solve a problem
  2. Make a decision
  3. Understand a system

Or look at some prompt questions to point you to the right tool.

Prompt questions

When you find yourself in front of a problem, decision or a system, you can ask yourself these prompt questions. They will point you to the right tool for you.

QuestionRecommended tool
Am I only thinking of ideal solutions?Inversion
Can I break this problem down?Issue trees
Do I need an innovative solution to a complex problem?First principles
Am I solving the right problem?Abstraction laddering
How do I come up with a creative solution?Productive Thinking model
What kind of decision am I making?Hard choice model
Which option from these is the best one?Decision matrix
What would be the long-term consequences of this decision?Second-order thinking
Am I jumping to conclusions?Ladder of inference
How should I respond to this situation?Cynefin framework
What should I be working on right now?Eisenhower matrix
How does this system work?Connection circles
Why is X happening?Iceberg model