“Reading Realization”: Everyone is familiar with the inductive and deductive methods, but how to apply them when reading?

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Logical Framework 1: Pyramid Structure

The most common logical thinking is the “pyramid structure”.


1. What is a pyramid structure

The pyramid structure comes from Barbara. Minto’s book The Pyramid Principle. This book has been enduring and popular for a long time. It has been translated into many languages ​​and reprinted several times. It is a classic training material that McKinsey & Company has pursued for 40 years, and it is also a recommended reading book for the gold medal lecturer of Huawei University.

Author Barbara. Minto was one of the first female students at Harvard Business School and the first female consultant ever at McKinsey & Company. Because of her expertise in writing, she was sent to London to help Europeans who needed to write reports in English. After that, she set up her own company and began to promote the pyramid principle.

The pyramid principle is now standard at McKinsey & Company and is considered an important part of McKinsey & Company’s organizational structure. Simply put, the pyramid structure embodies a highly efficient structured thinking. It can help managers improve logic, orderliness, and thinking ability, and help users think clearly and express effectively. More and more professionals in various industries use the pyramid principle to improve their ability to think, express and solve problems, and complete self-improvement.

The pyramid structure can be viewed from two directions.

From a vertical perspective, the top is your “conclusion”, the next layer is the different “reasons” that support the conclusion, and the next layer is the “facts” that support these different reasons.

From a horizontal perspective, the reasons and facts at each level must also have logic. That is to say, you have to sort the information by summarizing and grouping.


2. Four characteristics of the pyramid structure

  1. Conclusion first: Usually, only one idea is expressed at a time, and they all appear at the beginning of the article.
  2. The above is unified: the conclusion of the previous layer is a summary of the next layer.
  3. Categorized into groups: the ideas in each group must belong to the same category.
  4. Logical progression: The ideas of each group are not chaotic, but arranged in a certain logical order.

To sum up, the pyramid structure has four characteristics: theory, evidence, class, and comparison.

For example, the part that introduces the “six major reading methods” in the fourth section of Chapter 1 is written according to the pyramid structure:

The conclusion comes first. At the beginning, I clearly tell you that there are six common reading methods.

Under the above system. Then, explain the six reading methods in turn, each reading method is the support of the conclusion of the previous level.

Sort into groups. For example, the speed reading method has the most content, but the ideas in this group, whether it is reading steps or reading precautions, all belong to the same category, that is, the speed reading method.

logical progression. Each part is written in the logical order of “what” and “how to do”. The ideas in each group are arranged in a certain logical order.

Arguing through the pyramid structure can make the logic clear, and it is easier for the audience or readers to accept your point of view and follow your train of thought.


3. Two applications of pyramid structure

The first application method: speed reading. When reading a book, especially when reading quickly, if you consciously apply the pyramid structure, you can quickly identify conclusions, reasons, and facts.


⑴ Find the “conclusion” in the book

What is a “conclusion”? “Conclusion” is the central idea.

At this time, you need to pay attention to several important positions in the information: the beginning and end of each chapter, each section, and each paragraph. These are places where “conclusions” are particularly easy to present. Once you find the conclusion, you will grasp the key points, and you will not miss important information.


(2) Identify the “reasons” that support the conclusion

The “reason” in the book is usually clearly marked with numbers. For example: first, second, third, etc. Find the reason and help you hit the point of the book directly, instead of being immersed in the book and losing your direction.


(3) Find out what “facts” are in the information

The author cites materials and examples without emotion, all in order to support the “reason” for argumentation. So, you can skip it while speed reading.

For example, in the first chapter, “Seven Benefits of Clear Reading” is also discussed according to the pyramid structure.

Conclusion: Reading has seven benefits.

Reason: Benefit 1, Benefit 2, Benefit 3…

Facts: Each part cites real cases of students to help them understand.

After dismantling in this way, can you read more quickly?

The second application mode: output expression. Not only when inputting, you also need to use a pyramid structure when outputting. Following the four characteristics of the pyramid structure can help the other party more easily grasp the key points you want to express and achieve efficient communication between the two parties. The following examples illustrate:

  1. Conclusion first: Reading is very important for personal growth.
  2. The above is summarized as follows: Reason 1: “Big coffee” is reading every day, and ordinary people should read more; Reason 2: Ordinary people can upgrade their cognition through reading; Reason 3: Ordinary people can build core competitiveness through reading.
  3. Classification and grouping: In reason 1, give 3 examples, all of whom are successful people: Buffett, Charlie. Munger, Yu Minhong.
  4. Logical progression: Sorting in the order in which foreigners are discussed first, and then Chinese.

In short, when outputting according to the pyramid structure, you need to ensure that the top level is the conclusion vertically, then the reasons supporting the conclusion 1, 2, 3, and finally the objective facts; you need to ensure each set of points horizontally There are certain rules and classifications, and they are also logically related to each other.

The pyramid structure helps you express clearly. It allows you to clearly present your point of view, persuade the audience, and communicate efficiently with superiors, colleagues, and customers when you are doing reading sharing, speeches, discussions, and work reports.

Book friend Wei Wei is a beneficiary of learning logic. She uses logic to improve communication efficiency and even improve work performance. She has always been a person with not very strong logic. Once I made an appointment to go to Malaysia with a friend, and the friend made the itinerary right away, and she could only be amazed at it. The same is true when writing, she will only list her own gains, just like a copy-and-paste master. The expression is even more incoherent, and he can say whatever comes to his mind. Although he is not a “topic stopper”, he is also an out-and-out king of digressions.

There are countless similar situations. If things go on like this, she believes in her heart that acquiring the skill of logic is more difficult than reaching the sky. Especially in the recent communication, because she doesn’t have a clear logic, she always feels frustrated, and even begins to doubt herself, and she is in a very bad state. She has a personal habit of reading desperately whenever she feels inferior. Even so, she still lives with anxiety.

Later, through the introduction of a friend, we met, and I guided her to acquire logic. In the process of improving logic, she believes that the pyramid structure is the most helpful. In order to practice logical expression, she bought a notepad. Whenever she encounters important communication matters, she insists on making an outline first. She will make an outline in the form of conclusions, reasons and facts, and constantly add specific content during the communication process.

She works in sales. When she met clients before, her communication was always unrestrained. She was very happy during the chat, but it seemed like she had nothing to talk about after the chat. She has a habit of making a small review after communication, asking customers to talk about their achievements and giving her advice. A few familiar customers directly said that she was too long-winded, which was a big blow to her. However, the clients I have met recently can talk about at least two points of gain during the review, and feedback that her introduction is well-founded, simple and clear. There was even a client who had met twice solemnly said to her: “Sister, you are making great progress!”

All these gave her great motivation. Clear expression logic not only reduces communication costs, saves time for customers, but also improves her self-confidence. Of course, the accompanying performance doubled. This is the magic of logic.

Logical framework 2: MECE taxonomy

Let’s review the pyramid structure together: From a vertical perspective, the top is your conclusion, the next level is the different reasons that support the conclusion, and the next level is the facts that support these different reasons. From a horizontal perspective, the reasons and facts at each level must also have logic. In other words, you have to sort the information by category.

When it comes to classification, the MECE taxonomy is used. MECE taxonomy is the second most common logical thinking.

Why classify information? Because the amount of information the human brain can receive at one time is limited, and the brain has the ability to automatically classify and reorganize certain things with common characteristics. In other words, things that are clearly classified are easier to remember.

So, how to classify it? A common taxonomy is the MECE taxonomy.

The MECE classification method is a basic method in McKinsey’s thinking training, which means “mutually independent and completely exhaustive” in Chinese. To put it simply, when using the MECE classification method to classify, there can be neither overlap nor omission between the various elements, that is, “no repetition or omission”.


1. Five classification methods of MECE classification

⑴ Dichotomy: This classification method is relatively common in daily life, which is to divide information into two parts: A and non-A. For example: domestic & foreign, others & yourself, married & unmarried, adult & minor, left & right, man & woman, income & expenditure, etc.

⑵ Process method: As the name suggests, it is a method of classifying information according to the time, process, and procedures of the development of things. For example: the schedule you make in your daily life, the six steps to solve the problem, the three stages to achieve the goal, etc.

There is a very practical process method, which is “PDCA”. The so-called PDCA is the combination of initials of plan (Plan), implementation (Do), inspection (Check), and treatment (Act). No matter which job is inseparable from the PDCA cycle, each job needs to go through four stages: planning, implementation, inspection, and processing.

The PDCA loop is a logical way to make any activity work efficiently. You can use it not only for work, but also for reading. For example, make a plan at the beginning of each month, and then implement it according to the plan. When reviewing at the end of the month, check what problems exist, find areas that can be improved, and improve your actions next month. If you keep repeating it, you will become a reading master.

⑶ Element method: The element method sounds a bit esoteric, but in fact you often use it in your life. For example: seven qualities of excellent employees, seven secrets of time management, etc. In fact, a whole is divided into different constituent elements. This classification is often used to describe the characteristics of various aspects of things.

There is a very classic book, American Stephen. Covey (Stephen R. Covey) wrote “A Date with Success: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), which used the factor method in its writing.

⑷ Formula method: The formula method is also very common, that is to say, you can classify according to the elements of the formula design. For example, Sales = Customer Unit Price × Sales Quantity. This is the most commonly used formula in the commercial field, which is to break down the sales volume into unit price and sales quantity through the formula.

(5) Matrix method: This classification method is also very common. For example, the very classic “Four Quadrants of Time Management” uses the matrix method, as shown in Figure 2-2. According to the importance and urgency of things, things are divided into four types: important and urgent, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, unimportant and not urgent. Expressed in a matrix, it is very easy to understand.


2. Three applications of the MECE taxonomy

⑴ Efficient thinking: When you think about a problem, you can directly apply the wisdom summarized by the predecessors to improve your thinking efficiency. For example, people often struggle when changing jobs. At this time, it is very clear to use the SWOT analysis model to analyze your current situation.

SWOT is a strategic analysis method. SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Reats. Conclusions are drawn through comprehensive assessment and analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the analyzed object. You can use SWOT to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the two jobs, instead of struggling with them all the time.

⑵ High-quality output: When you output to the outside world, whether it is writing or speech, using the logical model in the book will make your output more high-quality. Especially when reporting at work, the proper application of logical models will impress leaders and colleagues and help you win more opportunities.

For example, using classic theories such as 4P marketing theory, PEST model, and Porter’s five forces model for analysis can make your output more convincing.

⑶ Classification and grouping: When thinking and expressing, when you sort out a bunch of reasons and facts and list them on the pyramid structure, you need to use “classification and grouping” when you want to classify and sort them horizontally .

For example, after a certain lecture, when Hong Sheng wrote the results of the lecture, he classified and grouped the lecture content, and discussed it in three points, with clear logic, which made him stand out when outputting.


Three lessons learned from listening to lectures

  • Why read: Seven benefits of reading; there is a golden house in the book; through reading to broaden your cognition and improve yourself.
  • What books to read: Choose the right book, protect your reading habits, read book reviews, recommendations from experts, etc. and organize your personal book list.
  • How to read: Use the six major reading methods to cultivate your reading ability and develop a good habit of reading and summarizing, but reading alone is useless. You must practice and share your practice. Only continuous learning and input can ensure continuous output .


Logical framework 3: Inductive versus deductive

The third common logical thinking is induction and deduction. Induction and deduction are the most familiar logical thinking methods.


1. What is induction

Induction is a way of thinking from the particular to the general. That is to say, based on the particularity of many individual things, the characteristics of similar things are summarized.

For example: magpies are birds and magpies can fly. A crow is a bird, and a crow can fly. So the conclusion is that all birds can fly.

Note: Although the induction method is a relatively common way of argumentation in our daily life, when you use the induction method to summarize the conclusion, you must make sure that the points you list are exhaustive. Otherwise, the conclusions drawn may be incorrect.

For example, in the above example, you will find that the ostrich is also a bird, but it cannot fly. Therefore, you cannot conclude that “all birds can fly”.


2. What is deductive method

Deduction is a way of thinking from the general to the specific.

The main form of deductive method is the syllogism, namely the major premise, minor premise and conclusion. The major premise is the general thing, the minor premise is the particular thing of the argument, and the conclusion is the argument. Usually the major premise is the generality of things, the minor premise is the specific things, and the conclusion is the nature of the specific things.

Now, take the most famous “Socrates is mortal” syllogism as an example:

Major Premise: All men are mortal.
Minor premise: Socrates is a man.
Conclusion: Socrates must also die.

Note: If the major and minor premises are incorrect, even if the logic is correct, the conclusion cannot be guaranteed to be correct. Whether the conclusion drawn by the deductive method is correct or not has yet to be tested in practice.


3. Three uses of induction and deduction

Everyone is familiar with inductive and deductive methods. But how to apply it when reading a book? In fact, in real life, most people are using induction and deduction, because it is based on experience and is more in line with human cognitive laws.

⑴ Accelerate understanding of content: With the inductive and deductive way of thinking, you can understand the author’s writing structure faster and grasp the key points faster. For example, there is a book called “The Lean Startup”, which uses the deductive method in its writing. The method described in the book is that you first put forward a hypothesis, such as a growth hypothesis or a value hypothesis, and then use MVP (Minimum Viable Product, Minimum Viable Product) to verify whether the hypothesis is correct or not.

MVP means that the development team obtains user feedback by providing a minimum viable product, and continues to quickly iterate on the basis of this minimum viable product until the product reaches a relatively stable stage. MVP is very important for entrepreneurial teams. It can quickly verify the team’s goals and quickly try and make mistakes.

⑵ Summarize the key points in the book: When reading, you should form a good habit of summarizing the key points in time.

For example, every time you finish reading a section, try to use a sentence or a keyword to summarize the key points of this section and mark it in the corresponding part of the table of contents.

While summarizing and reading, it will also make your memory deeper.

⑶ Picking various titles cleverly: Another use of the induction method is to help you pick titles. After reading a book, when writing a book review or sharing a book, you usually need a beautiful title to attract the attention of others.

The core of the title is a summary of the highlights of the book. You can easily retrieve the titles of book reviews or book sharing after browsing the table of contents and the key points you marked.

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