In a famous speech in the 1990s, Charlie Munger summed up the approach to practical wisdom through understanding mental models by saying:
“Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head.
And you’ve got to array your experience both vicarious and direct on this latticework of models. You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered. Well, they fail in school and in life. You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head.”
Magicians tend to “bang back” the tricks and routines they learned in lectures and spend way too much time in finding the “new” stuff. Better invest in your latticework of practical knowledge.