the ability to think analytically is an

important skill both in business and in

life having the skill will pay dividends

in many areas including job performance

it may even help bring a little bit of

clarity into some of life's more

important decisions hi I'm Sean John

Thompson and today I'm going to teach

you how to think analytically before we

dive any deeper let me define what I

mean by analytical thinking analytical

thinking is the simplifying of complex

ideas tasks or problems in other words

it's taking something complex and

distilling it down to its essence or its

most simple form today I'm going to

teach you a three step process that will

help you improve your analytical

thinking ability I'm going to show you

this three-step process by way of

solving a problem together

there's a famous Google interview

question that I think showcases the

analytical thinking process perfectly

the question is designed to challenge

and make you think beyond the first

answer that pops in your head so the

interview question is this how many

piano tuners are there in New York City

hmm an interesting and somewhat strange

question and definitely one that makes

you think keep in mind as we try to

answer this question we're not looking

for perfection but rather to simplify a

complex problem and come up with an

approximate or estimated solution so how

does one go about determining how many

piano tuners there are in New York City

well let's start with step one in the

analytical thinking process the first

step in the analytical thinking process

is to take a step back and assess the

question from a wider vantage point this

allows us to see the question from

multiple angles and try to think of the

best way to approach it

so once we've taken a step back what is

the big picture what are we trying to

solve for here well the big question in

this case is how many piano tuners there

are in New York City that is our big

picture so New York City is where we

should start so starting with New York

City we should look at the population

first because it's likely that the piano

tuner lives in the city itself so let's

start there so I did a bit of research

and I

found that there are approximately eight

and a half million people that live in

New York City and likely those piano

tuners are part of that eight and half

million

so that eight and a half million

population is our big picture or the

starting point that brings us to step

two step two is to think in layers so we

know that the piano tuner is likely part

of that big picture population of eight

and a half million so a piano tuner

needs to have a piano Institute and it's

likely that not every single one of

those eight and a half million people in

our big picture owned a piano it's

probably more like there's one per

household so what do we need to think

about so we need to estimate a couple of

things one is the number of households

within New York City and two is the

number of households that we determine

how many of them own a piano so those

are our two initial layers below the big

picture so how do we go about solving

for this well that brings us to step

three which is to process and then

synthesize so as we start to process

let's think logically for a minute think

about your personal experience how many

of your friends or maybe your family

owned a piano I'm gonna venture a guess

and say one out of every five or twenty

percent of households owned a piano we

need to first determine how many

households there are in New York City so

if we take our eight and a half million

which is our big picture and we said

that the average household in New York

City is made up of three people we can

take our eight and a half million

divided by three to get the number of

households in New York City so in this

case eight and a half million divided by

three is 2.8 million households so

that's the number of households in New

York City and if you recall we guessed

that roughly twenty percent or one in

five on a piano so if we do 2.8 times by

that 20 percent we roughly get that

there are five hundred and sixty-six

thousand pianos in New York City okay

so backing up again we know that out of

eight and a half million people there

are roughly 2.8 million households and

up

that we estimated the 20% on piano so

that got us to the number of pianos in

New York City which is five hundred and

sixty six thousand that is the

population available to our piano tuners

to tune okay so what's next well it's

highly unlikely that every single one of

those five hundred and sixty-six

thousand pianos needs to be tuned every

single year so it's some subset of that

number that we need to think about in

order to guess how many pianos actually

need to be tuned every year so I'm not

100% sure but I'm just going to throw

out a guess and say that let's say 10

percent need to be tuned every year so

we're going to take our five hundred

sixty six thousand multiplied by ten

percent and that gets us to fifty six

thousand pianos that need to be tuned

every year I don't know that seems a bit

high to me I think we should reduce that

ten percent down to five so if we do

that if we take her five hundred

sixty-six thousand times five percent

when we end up with his twenty-eight

thousand pianos what we've done is that

we've said out of the population of

total pianos of five hundred sixty-six

thousand are available for the tuner to

tune roughly about twenty eight thousand

of them need to be tuned to each and

every year so the piano tuners in New

York have the ability to tune twenty

eight thousand pianos each year in the

city okay great

so let's think about mr. piano tuner

himself how many pianos can one tune or

tune each year well I have no idea but

let's just guess that the average piano

tuner works roughly two thousand hours a

year or two hundred and fifty workdays

and then eight hours a day perhaps it

takes let's say three hours to tune a

piano just a guess so that three hours

when you take in the travel time to and

from different locations

you guys got to eat lunch a few other

things then you get roughly that the

piano tuner can tune two pianos each

workday

not bad alright so how many pianos can

the tuner tune

year well if we take our 250 workdays

multiplied by two pianos a day we get a

total of 500 pianos per year okay now

we're getting really close so how many

piano tuners are there in New York City

well recall we found that there were

28,000 pianos available to tune the

average piano tuner can tune 500 pianos

a year so if we take 28,000 divided by

500 pianos each we get a number of 56 so

through the analytical thinking process

we determined that there are an

estimated 56 piano tuners currently

residing in New York City that tune

roughly 28-thousand pianos a year seems

reasonable to me all right so let's

recap what have we done here well we

started with the big picture to try and

solve the problem we then thought a

little bit more granularly in layers and

tried to figure out what we need to

solve for from there we process that

information into actionable usable data

that we then synthesize into information

that we then use to determine the number

of piano tuners living in New York City

so how close were we

well I'll link to a Google search I did

in the description below but according

to my research there are roughly 62

piano tuners in New York City so 56

versus 62 not bad we did pretty good on

her estimate so that's the analytical

thinking process analytical thinking

takes practice in time eventually you'll

start to think this way naturally and

over time you'll be able to simplify

life's most complex problems