Customer Review

259 of 274 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best on the Topic, November 24, 2011
This review is from: What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite (Paperback)
I've read many books on the topic of cognitive bias and this rates one of the best for the general reader. I'm endlessly fascinated by the topic and can't seem to stop reading these books even though there isn't a lot new in most of them. They all keep saying the same thing and I'm getting a little tired of it.

So I was quite surprised when this one seemed a little different. It does an excellent job at explaining the issues and it is one of the few books in this area that devotes a reasonable amount of space to what you can actually do to avoid the problems. The author devotes one whole chapter at the end to 50 techniques to help you avoid your brain faults and he scatters other advice through most of the rest of the book.

The book is organized well, it is very clear in its explanation, and it reads easily and quickly. It kept my attention throughout. There is an excellent resources section at the end of the book which describes a large number of related books and blogs. That resource list alone is probably worth the price of the book.

To top it off this book has Amazon's "Look Inside!" feature that let's you preview before you buy. Well done and highly recommended.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 16, 2012 6:20:31 PM PST
Hmm. From preview I read wasn't clear that this was different from the flood of great books that have come on the market on this topic. Good to hear you felt so.

Posted on Mar 25, 2012 9:05:47 AM PDT
Can you tell us your own personal story of taking DiSalvo's advice on making your brain more unhappy and how your life has been positively affected by the attempt? All I've heard you say is how reading the book made your brain attentive and happy ... and, that's bad - right? Thanks.

Posted on Mar 26, 2012 9:58:40 AM PDT
teaweed says:
Have you read The Thinker's Toolkit by Morgan D. Jones?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012 1:57:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2012 2:07:05 PM PDT
Hi teaweed,

The tools mentioned by Jones are: (1) Problem restatement, (2) PROs-CONs-FIXes, (3) Divergent Thinking, (4) Sorting, Chronologies and Timelines, (5) Causal Flow Diagramming, (6) Matrices, (7) Decision/Event Trees, (8) Weighted Ranking, (9) Hypothesis Testing, (10) Devil's Advocacy, (11) Probability Tree, (12) Utility Tree, (13) Utility Matrix and (14) Advanced Utility Analysis.

Other (or similar) Tools include Lean's Five Whys and Kaizen, Input-Processing-Output or IPO Analysis, Fishbone Diagrams, Instruction Task Analysis, Root-cause Analysis, Control Chart, Pareto Analysis, Orthogonal Checklist, Historical Data in Stratified Lists (sorting), Tree (or WBS) Diagrams (which lead into the weighted Priority Matrix used as far back as Ben Franklin) with a corresponding Statement of Work (SOW), Responsibility Matrix, Process Decision Program Chart (or PDPC) Contingency Diagram, Force Field Analysis, PDSA Cycle, Activity Network Diagram, and an Activity Network Flow Chart. This all startsd of course with a firm understanding of people's underlying values.

There are also other team brainstorming techniques (besides just Affinity Diagrams and Interrelationship Diagraphs) as well as efficient organization tools such as a Thoughtline, Scrum Meeting, Work Process Flowchart, Six Sigma's Team Charter, Balanced Score Card, Sytems' Project Approach (see, Malcolm Baldrige review (and it's Data Centers, Dashboards, and Quality Improvement Story Boards), and double loop organizational learning from a narrative approach that goes beyond just a strong pedagogical vocabulary.

Why do you ask?

Perhaps, a better question would be why is all this falling out of favor as the practice of building, for instance, Six-Sigma Black Belts is today little more than just hiring our Black Belt friend from GE, say, at Intuit. Why is making our brains happy in the short term taking over otherwise rational long-term views so completely? Why do we still utilize DARE and Sex Education classes after 50 years of research showing them to be harmful? Why do we still sending relief funds to Africa now that we know for sure it only makes things worse? Why, after reading and discussing books like Jones', is rational thinking on such a decline? If you're not part of the solution, one truth that still rings clear, YOU are the problem.
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