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Winning Decisions: Getting It Right the First Time Hardcover – December 26, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Making "good, fast, frequent decisions... better than those with whom you compete," say J. Edward Russo and Paul J.H. Schoemaker, is a critical skill in today's business climate. They additionally believe it's a skill that all of us can learn, much like a proper golf swing. In Winning Decisions, they lay out a four-step process that constitutes "a broad, conceptual framework" applicable in virtually any situation where a decision is needed. Russo and Schoemaker, consultants and professors who collaborated on an earlier book about the roadblocks to proper decision making, turn their attention here to making decisions "with the head, not the gut." Their program is divided into four phases fully explained in their own sections: Framing, Gathering Intelligence, Coming to Conclusions, and Learning from Experience. In total, they reveal a disciplined system that will benefit anyone looking to make better decisions in just about any situation. --Howard Rothman

From Publishers Weekly

The coauthors of 1989's Decision Traps offer a clear, straightforward explanation of how managers should perform one of their most basic tasks: making a decision. Russo, professor of marketing and behavior science at Cornell, and Shoemaker, research director of Wharton's Mack Center for Technology and Innovation, break their method into four steps: framing decisions, i.e., factoring in difficulties like information overload and the "galloping rate of change," and thereby determining which choices need to be addressed and which ones don't; gathering real intelligence, not just information that will support internal biases; coming to conclusions, i.e., assessing how one's company acts on the intelligence gathered; and learning from experience. The authors walk readers through each of the steps. Unlike many business books, this one is akin to a workbook, providing how-tos, case studies and worksheets so readers can put their ideas into play immediately. The authors highlight key concepts, and they even show an occasional humorous side. However, they stress that even improving the way one goes about making decisions won't guarantee that they'll be the right ones. Decisions still have to be executed successfully, and luck is always a factor. Still, with better decision-making skills, the odds are bound to go up. This book will prove valuable to managers at all levels of an organization. (On-sale: Dec. 26)

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (December 26, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385502257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385502252
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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72 of 77 people found the following review helpful By R. Shaff on March 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A relative glut of periodicals and books exist on decisionmaking, whether personally or professionally. Many have solid foundations, many are commercialized tripe. In MAKING DECISIONS, authors Russo and Shoemaker hit on a timely subject for professional managers or entrepreneurs. The economy has plummeted and the stock market has deflated propelling each individual responsble for their company's path to success into crucial, perhaps vital decisions on a daily basis. And the rapid rate of change is forcing all executives and managers to make decisions faster.
Given the current environment, it is well worth the time to revisit an executive/manager's most basic of tasks: making a decision...a subject devoid of attention except in academic journals or business books. In a straightforward, well-presented fashion, the authors break down the decisionmaking process into four steps:
1. Framing or deciding what you are going to decide-and not decide;
2. Gathering intelligence-real intelligence, and not just information that will support your internal biases;
3. Coming to conclusions-determining how your company acts on the intelligence it gathers, and;
4. Learning from experience.
The authors guide the reader through each of the steps providing insight into the process, highlighting key concepts, and providing case studies and worksheets so the reader can begin to track their own issues at hand. Russo and Shoemaker have presented this material in such a way as to demystify the "process" of decisionmaking. The "process" gets so much attention as being clandestine, complex and erudite. However, by providing a detailed framework reflecting a relatively mechanical and logical process to making a decision, the authors have uncorked the mystery.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By R. Riddle on December 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book, one of the best I've ever read about decision making. It takes a structured approach to making decisions and discusses the "how" of decision making. It gives a bunch of ideas to use, mostly questions to help the decision maker focus his or her attention on the process of getting the decision right under uncertainty and time contraints.

The book, as great as it is, has one short coming to my way of thinking: it gives very little attention to intuitive decision making. I think that the authors have concentrated on deliberative decision making with the idea in mind that the process will ultimately become intuitive when practiced enough. Perhaps so. However, I would very highly recommend another book that talks about intuitive decision making, Educating Intuition by Hogarth. This excellent book may help a reader learn how to make the deliberative techniques part of the the intuitive decision making process.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Reviewer on September 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is okay, but it's poorly structured and repetitive. It doesn't offer a clear, systematic process for making decisions. I think Smart Choices is a far, far better book. Simpler, better structured, easier to work with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Giancarlo on January 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You should read this if you think intuition and overconfidence
are ruining your company. The book is supported by a large amount of research.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris Speer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 17, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Absolutely fantastic book about how we can refine our decision making processes to make them more powerful and effective, and less vulnerable to a variety of biases.

I love the multiple anecdotes and examples the author provides of the common fallacies to effective decision making. The author does a great job of keeping the reader not only entertained but intrigued and informed throughout the text.

Highly recommended for any business manager or other individual looking to refine and develop a well calculated, thorough, and thoughtful decision making process.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alvarez on November 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a follow-up to their Decision Traps book, which was also very good. Couple Russo & Schoemaker's work with the work by Rogers and Bienko from "Who Has the D? How Clear Decision Roles Enhance Organizational Performance"(HBR, Jan'06) and you've got a complete methodology that can be used effectively and works cross-culturally.
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I'm an Operations Research student, so its an interesting twist on the more rigid framework we deal with. It comes at decision making from a more psychological angle, which makes it much more accessible to the layperson than business process or capital expenditure decision analysis. The book is very comprehensible, and very easy to read. It makes for a great jumping point into other books like Smart Choices or Gut Feelings for comparison and contrast. And taken from an Operations Research perspective, it certainly encourages one to explore the human element. It's a good read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was assigned this book as part of an MBA class, and with the possible exception of Daniel Goleman's work, it is the most impactful text I've read as part of this program. I found it to be a really readable book with effective techniques that I started using right away. A great resource for anyone that participates in decision making or process changes at work, with many ideas that could be extrapolated to personal life decisions as well. I've already recommended this to several coworkers.
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