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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
The most insightful advice in the book comes on the first page of Chapter 1 - "All decisions have three parts: 1) you identify your goals 2) you identify your options; and 3) you choose from among your options". The rest of the book goes downhill from there. Nothing much more is offered. The examples used tend to lack demonstration of insights into real-world effective decision-making, which is unexpected considering that he studied the decision-making process of Middle East leaders. The second half of the book I found to be tedious without much actual usefulness. Even the selling points, the 9 main steps to effective decision making, are redundant and can be reduced down to those 3 parts stated earlier. Very boring reading. You can throw out most of the chapters and it wouldn't make much of an impact on the overall book. Pass on this one.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Some may feel that the ability to be a smart decision maker and one who resolves their personal matters in wise ways is something innate to the being. David A. Welch's guide explores the procedural manner in which one can learn to become a more effective decision maker for both large and small dilemmas in both personal and professional situations. Welch has authored several books examining war and the Cuban Missile Crisis and is an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto. In the first chapter of the book, he looks at the ideal situation for decision-making and discusses the constraints that effect our decision making in the real world using everyday examples. Welch breaks down the steps to effective decision making into nine steps. In the second chapter, Welch explores many different types of decision-making situations and the different strategies that could be used depending on what type of decision is being made. In chapter three, Welch decisions that can be quantified such as any decisions that involve money. In chapter four, Welch discusses the effects of people's emotions, judgments, and perceptions on their decision making process and the importance of being aware of these personal biases when making a decision. Chapter five is devoted to philosophical issues and moral decision-making. In chapter six, Welch explores the belief that decision-making styles of women and men differ specific to their gender. Finally, the book discusses habits and the importance of developing a strong decision making style in order to overcome an ineffective decision-making style. This book was extremely informative and used many everyday scenarios that made the reading applicable to business people as well as household decision makers. In his approach to decision making, the one who analyzes and presents options for resolving the problem situations is also the decision maker. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge personal biases, gender issues, and moral issues, which do affect the decision-making process as well as the decision that is made.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
I can't remember the last time I read a book so useful and so much fun at the same time. This is a sweeping tour of decision making chock full of insight and information that makes you laugh out loud (usually at yourself!) How nice it is to read a book that doesn't assume the reader is an idiot, too. I can think of about a dozen people I'd like to give this to for Christmas.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is chock full of great tips and insights into the decision making process. It gives a very well rounded overview of the many aspects of decision making from the logical to the emotional to the moral. It is also one of the more easily read books on the subject - examples are relevant and sometimes humorous. Using the example of the 9 steps when choosing a soft drink made the concept accessible, while reassuring the reader that nobody would actually sit down and do all the steps before making such a trivial decision. But the simplicity of the decision made it easier to understand the process. Loved it and will read it again.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This book is worth getting just for the discussion of decision strategies. This lets you choose an approach appropriate to the importance of the issue and the amount of time and information you have available. Because these strategies are somewhat hidden, I will summarize them here:

Optimize. Use this when the decision is so important that you seek the very best choice. Here you try to maximize your subjective expected utility (SEU), a measure of the overall goodness expected of an outcome, relative to your needs and desires. A weighted matrix is a simple and effective way to do this. The author provides several realistic, and often amusing, examples to show how this might be done, combining objective, subjective, and even moral, considerations.

Satisfice. Rather than trying to find the very best alternative, accept the first one that is satisfactory, based on some criteria. This is much faster since you need not consider all alternatives nor all the criteria that you might take into account in optimizing.

Preselect. If you have prior experience or a recommendation from a trusted source, that may be good enough to allow you to make a choice. An example is choosing a restaurant based on a review rather than comparing all the restaurants in the area.

Constrained optimization. If you have a large number of choices you may constrain them to a smaller group that you are fairly certain will include a good alternative. Then do optimization within the smaller collection.

Randomize. Use this if the decision must be fair and impartial, such as choosing a raffle winner. It is also a good strategy when you have evaluated the viable options and they all seem equally good, or if the differences among the options do not warrant spending time on evaluations. Just flip a coin and get on with it.

This quick summary may sound dry and pedantic, but the author enlivens the discussion with wit and real-life examples. The book is quick and enjoyable to read.

There is a full chapter devoted to making decisions with moral considerations. This is the first book on decision-making that I have found that addresses this important issue. A compelling example of a decision about care for an aging parent illustrates the techniques, and shows how the general methods may be used to balance practical and ethical concerns.

In addition, the author alerts the reader to psychological traps, biases, risk aversion, and gender differences that play into our decision-making.
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35 of 53 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 18, 2005
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I read a lot of books on strategy and game theory, which ultimately are also about making the right decisions. The information in this book is nothing new. Yet, I found it even more boring than other books in its genre. For example, the author outlines NINE steps to making a decision.

1)Identify your Objective
2)Do Preliminary survey of your options
3)Identify the implicated values
4)Assess the importance of the decision
5)budget your time and energy
6)Choose decision making strategy
7)Identify your options
8)Evaluate your options
9)Make your choice on time and budget

If you follow the author's nine steps to making decisions, then you are an idiot or an intellectual masochist. For example, if I walk into a donut shop and want to make a decision on which donuts to buy I must 1)realize that I want donuts to end my hunger 2)check out all 60 different donuts in the shop 3)realize donuts costs money 4)calculate how important it is to buy the right donut 5)realize you shouldn't take too much time to choose a donut because it just isn't worth it to ponder this in your head for too long and, besides, the other customers are yelling at you to make your choice by now 6)choose a strategy to choose the right donut while ignoring the donut shop manager's death stare 7)ask yourself if you want twinkies instead of donuts 8)donut vs twinkies? hmm I wonder which one is better? 9)ok I want the French Cruellers which costs a whopping 70 cents less than the good old twinkies! Ha, I have learned to make the right decisions while totally wasting my time and annoying everyone around me.
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