I found a paper with these notes on it stuffed into my copy of Poor Charlie’s Almanac. Below is a list of super-simple rules for good problem solving:
- Ask: Should I be working on this? or What if I did nothing?
- Resolve the big ‘no-brainer’ questions first.
- Apply the 80/20 Rule.
- Separate the core problem from the minutiae
- Invert – Think through the problem in reverse
- Apply numerically fluency (probability, statistics, algebra, basic calculus)
- Apply elementary, interdisciplinary wisdom.
- Never rely entirely on others.
- Watch for combinations of factors – The Lollapalooza Effect
- What are the factors that really govern the interests involved, rationally considered?
- What are the subconscious influences? Where is the brain automatically forming conclusions at the sub-conscious level?