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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Model Thinking by University of Michigan

1,787 ratings
396 reviews

About the Course

We live in a complex world with diverse people, firms, and governments whose behaviors aggregate to produce novel, unexpected phenomena. We see political uprisings, market crashes, and a never ending array of social trends. How do we make sense of it? Models. Evidence shows that people who think with models consistently outperform those who don't. And, moreover people who think with lots of models outperform people who use only one. Why do models make us better thinkers? Models help us to better organize information - to make sense of that fire hose or hairball of data (choose your metaphor) available on the Internet. Models improve our abilities to make accurate forecasts. They help us make better decisions and adopt more effective strategies. They even can improve our ability to design institutions and procedures. In this class, I present a starter kit of models: I start with models of tipping points. I move on to cover models explain the wisdom of crowds, models that show why some countries are rich and some are poor, and models that help unpack the strategic decisions of firm and politicians. The models covered in this class provide a foundation for future social science classes, whether they be in economics, political science, business, or sociology. Mastering this material will give you a huge leg up in advanced courses. They also help you in life. Here's how the course will work. For each model, I present a short, easily digestible overview lecture. Then, I'll dig deeper. I'll go into the technical details of the model. Those technical lectures won't require calculus but be prepared for some algebra. For all the lectures, I'll offer some questions and we'll have quizzes and even a final exam. If you decide to do the deep dive, and take all the quizzes and the exam, you'll receive a Course Certificate. If you just decide to follow along for the introductory lectures to gain some exposure that's fine too. It's all free. And it's all here to help make you a better thinker!...

Top reviews


Apr 07, 2018

The course presents a multitude of models that enable us to analyze human and systems behavior and interactions. By making implicit assumptions explicit we can understand real world processes better.


Feb 25, 2017

Great content and lectures, that possibly provides new dimensions to look/explain the situation in context, I guess I will comeback for references to continue with this journey in to 'Model Thinking'

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26 - 50 of 387 Reviews for Model Thinking

By Tom B

Jan 14, 2016

Barely in and it's one of the very best most fun courses I've taken. Scott is hugely enthusiastic and articulate in just the right ways. I hope I'm learning as much as I'm having fun letting model patterns float through my brain. I guess that is learning, sorta. I'm excited to complete the course and build on it. A very good sign. Thank you all so much for putting these courses out there. It's fucking fantastic. Okay, it doesn't really get more emphatic than that from me. Thank you again. Tom Bauer.

By Balint P

Jan 31, 2017

Very useful and engaging course in general! There were a lot of interesting parts in it. Especially, because it showed that the "many model thinking" is a useful "tool" in various fields of life. There were some trivial parts/ lectures, but it was still useful to go back to some basics for deeper understanding. Scott Page was also a great lecturer and I liked the whole structure of the course. Thanks for the great course, keep up the good work!

By Deleted A

Mar 26, 2016

An enlightening course. Opens my mind to a wide vista of new ways of thinking and living. Practical with seemingly endless tools for the mind. Prof. Page provides a wide variety of examples that are relatable.

The best thing for me is how Prof. Page feels relatable and approachable in his teaching style - he seems to really want students to understand what he's teaching and meeting us where we are, providing excellent scaffolding along the way.

By Mawabo M

Dec 23, 2015

I have a Masters degree and until I took this MOOC I had somehow gotten used to the ridiculous notion that I had learned everything that I needed to know. I am pleasantly amazed at how much I still don't know and I am very excited to learn more. I have even started reading journal articles by Page and Zellner because I am very facinated by the models shown to me in this course.

Thank you very much for making this material available.

By Diogo A

Oct 06, 2020

This course is a true delight. You will not learn advanced mathematics of programming skills: for that, there's plenty available. More critically, this course will give you the motivation to face that sometimes daunting math with a smile on your face. It will also give you critical skills to think about topics such as elections, forest fires, randomness and strategy. I cannot recommend this enough. Also, the professor is amazing.

By H. F

Jan 21, 2018

This class is just absolutely fantastic. I learned a ton and ended up getting a few of Scott Page's books, which go into even more detail (but still not at a level where someone like me, with a minimal math background, couldn't get it). Thank you for making this course. I'm a PhD student in Philosophy and this class (and Page's books) helped me work on an epistemology paper I would have been unable to do otherwise. Thank you!

By Кучумов В А

Jun 27, 2017

It is hard to imagine that a huge amount of information, which Scott collected, structured and offered as a finished course. I have learned a lot new data about natural phenomena, the behavior of the group of people and individuals in different social and economic conditions. I think that course is very useful to any person who want to expand his horizons and become truly "an intelligent citizen in the world". Thanks a lot.


Jun 05, 2020

One the finest course I had ever opted for. Professor Scott E Page is a true genius. The learning community needs more such courses especially from the legend himself to make a better sense of the things happening around us. It is highly recommended to purchase the books written by Professor Scott E Page for that every book worth its weight in gold. With profound regards to Professor Scott E Page. Cheers.

By Eric W

Jan 19, 2017

This course blew my mind week after week. Professor Page's excitement for the topic combined with an amazing ability to communicate clearly and concisely made this an awesome 12 week journey. The double edge of the course is that after 11 weeks my brain is carrying so many new models, it can be hard to keep them straight ... that's what practice and refreshing is for. Awesome class!

By Phil M

Aug 16, 2019

Models are the stuff of knowledge: we propose simplified versions of how the world works and consider how well they match reality. Scott answers the philosophical question "What are models for?" and gives an introduction to several engaging models. Anyone who wants to become a lifelong learner will do well to develop the skill of designing, refining, and applying their own models.

By Zakhar K

Jan 01, 2020

A great intro to mental models - interesting, provocative and thought-inducing. Scott lays off the foundation by breaking complex processes into simple equations and deriving the formulas (the formulas that really work!). This course will definitely help one start looking at our world in models - getting a clearer understanding of what's happening around us.

Thanks, Mr. Page! <3

By Marta K

Jun 06, 2017

An eye opening walk through different models that govern our lives, both personal, political, social, economic and... [insert any industry, academic discipline]. It'll help you become a more rational person, pay attention to fallacies and patterns that appear around us. Might also turn you into a selfish bot evaluating everything rationally, unless that's just me ;-)

By Udaya R

Nov 13, 2016

This was a very well structured course. Prof. Scott has delivered wach lecture with great clarity. As introduction course, it had a very good range of topics and models to learn from. The content is intuitive enough to apreciate the "fertility" of these models and apply them in various contexts.

Many thanks,

Looking forward to more such courses on modeling,

Udaya Ranga

By Yi D

Jan 28, 2017

Great course for quantitative social science, focusing on modeling. I recommend anyone who are interested in social science to take it to know something beyond the traditional reasoning method. I really think quantitative is the future of social science though it is not mature enough. Anyway, this course gives a great introduction, and the content is plenty.

By Nastaran A

Jul 04, 2020

There's something really amazing about having a class with Professor Page. He deeply knows how to keep a class alive! He ends his class sessions with "thank you", and now, I want to say him thank "you"! This class helped me to find my true way. I found the very thing I was seeking. I deeply appreciate it. Thanks for this great opportunity! :)))

By Ali M

Jul 14, 2019

This is a brilliant course taught by an exceptional instructor who is a passionate innovator in his field. This course not online provided me with just the right amount of "stretch" in terms of the intellectual effort needed, it also expanded the boundaries of my knowledge. You will become smarter if you take this course, I highly recommend it.

By Prabal G

Apr 14, 2020

Its an excellent introductory course to develop model thinking capability in an intuitive and practical manner. The course is designed to supplement you cognitive abilities to analyse a variety of decisions people take in life. The instructor, course content and reading material are exceptionally good and I learnt a lot by taking this course.

By Zhu L

Oct 12, 2017

This is an amazing course for high school students and undergraduate freshmen, especially for students without STEM backgrounds.

Know that it's a very basic introductory course, like an appetizer, it's up to you to research more into all those models (rigorous definition, mathematical formulae, technical papers, real-world application, etc.).

By David L L

Aug 24, 2017

Simply, a great surprise! Content, videos, material, answers in the Forum, Coursera help online. It's been a rewarding journey! I must Excel the materials before I am taking a new one, and I need to wait for a period where the workload is letting me put the effort needed to succeed, but I'll repeat next summer again! Highly recommended!

By Warwick T

Mar 08, 2019

This was a very interesting course. Scott Page is an excellent lecturer. The lectures often have questions in them that make sure the student understands the lecture. The reviews also ask good questions to help the student learn. One suggestion for improvement is that the lectures that have corrections in them should be recorded again.

By Joshua S

Apr 06, 2020

A fantastic course that covers a wide variety of topics. My particular interest is in mathematical models and there are plenty of those. The instructor, Scott, was really faultless. I'd recommend this course to anyone who genuinely wants to become a clearer thinker and someone who can analyse and understand the world around them.

By Paul T

May 17, 2020

I took this course as it looked interesting and even though the topic is not something I would normally use in my professional career I would highly recommend as it will give you new insights to a wide variety of different situations. There is a lot packed into the course and the lecturer is highly effective and engaging.

By Oana G

Apr 15, 2017

I have thouroughly enjoyed this course; it was a great introduction to many new concepts and reasoning frameworks and I cannot wait to dwell deeper into the technicalities of each model. Scott's lectures and explanations are easy to follow, entertaining and I liked having diverse extra readings for each topic.

By Bohdan S

Jul 15, 2019

Outstanding mind-changing introduction to the world of models. Very fertile in terms of applications. Would definitely use the lessons learned in my field — making video games. Take the course if you feel like you need to upgrade your rational thinking and learn a new stuff outside the scope of your field.

By Rodolphe I

Nov 18, 2016

I like it when courses are related to real life problems and thus immediately useful. And that's the case with this course. You'll not only learn some interesting ways to model things out. It will make you tick and reflect on a lot of subjects / putting things into perspectives. Long but rewarding!