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Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep it From Happening to You 1st Edition

14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1422126127
ISBN-10: 9781422126127
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Think again, the authors say. They are right. Reading this book will not mean you pursue a mistake-free career. But choosing to read it may be one of your better decisions." --FT.com

"Think Again ends constructively, with feasible safeguard options such as group debate, accountability, governance, and monitoring that protect one from poor choices." --T+D Magazine

About the Author

Jo Whitehead and Andrew Campbell direct the Strategic Management Centre at Ashridge Business School. Sydney Finkelstein, the author of Why Smart Executives Fail, is a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and regularly lectures on leadership and why leaders fail.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781422126127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422126127
  • ASIN: 1422126129
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By loka on September 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, if you haven't read any other titles on neuro-science or decision-making, this will be a good introduction.

I gave it a 2-star rating because I have read books like: How We Decide, Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average, Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior and I found these titles more informative and engaging. If you have similar stuff on your bookshelf, don't bother reading this one.

This book tries to do 3 thihgs:
1. How we make decisions and why are we prone to making wrong decisions.
2. What are the situations under which we are most vulnerable in making a flawed decision.
3. What can we do about it.

For starters, 95% of what is written about 1. is a shallower and briefer reproduction of the books I mentioned above.

For 2., it tries to teach us how to spot "red flags" i.e. misleading experience, misleading judgments, inappropriate self-interest and inappropriate emotions. (Which, I think, could be summarized in one word: biases). Basically, it says that we have to beware of our biases, which are generated from our previous experiences and emotions, because they work subconsicously.

For 3.
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32 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Diego Azeta on May 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The authors of "Think Again," impeccably credentialed and versed in management strategy, are eminently qualified to scrutinize the performance of executives and senior managers in making organizational decisions. In their book they discuss numerous cases involving high-ranking decision makers. It is quite sobering, though not at all surprising, to see so many atrocious decisions consistently being made by people who are supposed to be masters of that craft. Evidently, these professionals are nowhere near as proficient as they are usually deemed to be. In view of the prevalence of this situation, it is hard to avoid concluding that, on the whole, top decision makers are no better at doing their job --making the right decision-- than would be a randomly selected employee drawn from the ranks of their own organization. Even more troubling is the fact that no other professional field of endeavor seems to suffer from such an appalling condition.

The book tackles this disconcerting problem by proposing a framework which consists of three parts: a description of how our brains make decisions and how it can be tricked into false judgments, an explanation of four posited conditions under which flawed thinking is likely to happen, and a set of safeguards prescribing how to counterbalance the four sources of error. The brain is presented as a pattern recognition apparatus that employs emotional tagging and one-plan-at-a-time processing to make sense of what's going on in the world and devise a response to the perceived challenges. Most of that processing, however, is conducted beyond the realm of consciousness, so the hapless (and ostensible) decision maker is in an extremely weak position to question the validity of the brain's verdicts or its torrent of neural decrees.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Olly Buxton on August 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was handed this book at the conclusion of a management seminar I had unexpectedly enjoyed, and so spurred by that novel experience but otherwise against my better judgement, decided to give it the benefit of the doubt.

The authors' programme is interesting enough - to analyse famous the decision-making process that culminated in the most egregious political and corporate blunders - but it would be guilty of 20:20 hindsight were it not for the caveat that examples selected were those which were patent howlers even at the time the decision was made, as opposed to informed punts that just didn't work out. Some of the examples may well be controversial: time might have sufficiently told on Kennedy's Bay of Pigs fiasco, but I dare say there are more than a defiant few who would still defend the decision to invade Iraq, which makes me wonder whether the determination "obvious on its face howler" itself is only that can only emerge after the passage of time and opportunity for sober reflection. If so, much of this book's thrust is undermined.

In any case the authors have sifted through literally hundreds of such obviously catastrophic decisions and from them extracted some commonly occurring "red flags" which, they say, could have pointed to concerns about the soundness of the decision at the time - "misleading experiences" and "misleading pre-judgements" informing the decision, and "inappropriate attachments" and "inappropriate self-interest" undermining the judgement of the decision-maker.
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