This chapter explores 11 schools of thought and thinkers contributed to Elinor Ostroms intellectual development. It focuses on the origins of Elinor Ostroms ideas. She was an inter-disciplinary thinker and not averse to engaging with those with very varied and sometimes contradictory views. A number of theorists who took rational choice theory in new directions, showing that economics might be about more than selfish self-interest, including Reinhard Selten, Robert Axelrod and Herbert Simon are vital to understand Elinor Ostroms work. Alexis de Tocqueville was a member of an aristocratic family traumatised by the French Revolution of 1789. John R. Commons outlined in The Legal Foundations of Capitalism, law provides part of an institutional framework that shaped economic decision-making. Ostrom was not a dogmatic or consciously ideological thinker, she tends to use individual thinkers or broad approaches to generate concepts that helped in her quest for institutional knowledge.