Mental Models For COVID-19

In May of 2020 I set out to try and understand decision-making in a world being overrun by COVID-19.

I wanted to be able to make smart decisions about what risks I would and wouldn’t take on.

Like most of my projects, this one ended up being much larger than I expected. It took me on a journey through risk management, the history of science, game theory, statistical reasoning, and much more.

I hope you enjoy it.

Bad Priors

In which we learn that no opinions are formed in a vaccuum.

Map Meets Territory

In which we learn about base rates, and how they can help us understand the world.

8 Months To Live

In which we learn the difference between group and individual indexing, and why base rates can be misleading.

No Basis

In which we explore derivatives, and learn that map and territory can drift apart.

The Beauty Contest

In which we begin exploring game theory, starting with the first, second, and third-order decision making.

Missionaries

In which we explore common knowledge games, and how narratives are created.

False Positive

In which we explore the illusion of certainty.

Monty Hall

In which we explore the Monty Hall problem, a fascinating intersection of risk and uncertainty.

All In Our Heads

In which we start to explore how science, news, and opinion intersect to make understanding COVID-19 extremely difficult.

One In a Million

In which we start to bring everything together into a coherent strategy for making personal decisions during a pandemic…and discuss the role of empathy in modern life.

All Woods Must Fail

Series finale. We use micromorts, heuristics, and MinMax Regrets to figure out what’s best for us in times of uncertainty. We also reveal our COVID-19 MicroMort calculator.

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