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Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work Kindle Edition
“Excellent tips for improving your decisions and a neat four-stage conceptual formula.... Books about decision-making are common these days. But the Heath brothers have a winner with their outline of the four villains of decision-making and their many practical solutions, informed not only by behavioural economics studies but also examples of successful and unsuccessful decision makers.”
—Harvey Schachter, The Globe and Mail
“An important reference on strategic decision making... . Decisive is an important resource for strategic decision articulation and action. The book will be helpful for a wide audience of institutional planners, decision-makers, senior managers and the government sector. The presentation is brief and easy to comprehend.”
“As they did in Switch, they do again with the daunting task of decision-making. The Heath brothers have expertly explored the topic at length and broken it down into small action steps that anyone grappling with a big decision will benefit from.... Along the way there are great anecdotes.”
About the Author
- ASIN : B00BFTSYNA
- Publisher : Cornerstone Digital (March 28, 2013)
- Publication date : March 28, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 742 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 338 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #484,885 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Here’s a summary of the book’s subject in two quotes from the introduction.
“Kahneman says that we are quick to jump to conclusions because we give too much weight to the information that’s right in front of us, while failing to consider the information that’s just offstage. He called this tendency “what you see is all there is.” In keeping with Kahneman’s visual metaphor, we’ll refer to this tendency as a “spotlight” effect. (Think of the way a spotlight in a theater directs our attention; what’s inside the spotlight is crisply illuminated.)”
“And that, in essence, is the core difficulty of decision making: What’s in the spotlight will rarely be everything we need to make a good decision, but we won’t always remember to shift the light. Sometimes, in fact, we’ll forget there’s a spotlight at all, dwelling so long in the tiny circle of light that we forget there’s a broader landscape beyond it.”
Decisive describes how you can make better decisions by following a simple process. The Heaths share research that shows that process is more important than analysis when reaching effective decisions. In fact, a good process can lead to better analysis.
They describe what they call the four villains of decision-making. The villains are: narrow framing, confirmation bias, short-term emotion, and overconfidence. They share a four-step process you can use to lessen the effect of the four villains.
I like the simple process represented with a few letters. The military does the best job I know of in teaching people how to decide. One key to their method is to define a simple process for analyzing an issue. The Army uses an analysis tool called METT-TC. That stands for: Mission, Enemy, Troops available, Terrain, Time, and Civilian concerns. The simple process helps a decision maker consider all the important factors.
The Heaths’ tool is a little different. They use the acronym WRAP. Each letter of the acronym represents a way to deal with one villain of decision-making. W is for “Widen your options.” R stands for “Reality-test your assumptions.” A represents “Attain distance before deciding.” And P is “Prepare to be wrong.”
Each of those elements of their process gets several chapters’ worth of coverage. The authors illustrate their points with relevant, well-told business stories, some of which you probably haven’t heard before. The Heaths also introduce several tools you can use to make the process work better. I found tools I was already familiar with, such as pre-mortem. There were tools I knew about but which had slipped away from the front of my memory. An example is Suzy Welch’s 10/10/10. And there were tools I never heard about such as book-ending.
In A Nutshell
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work is one of the best books I’ve read on decision-making. The Heaths created a simple process with an acronym to help you remember it. Then they present an array of tools to help you make the process work. If you want to improve your decision-making, or even if you think you don’t need to, this book is a must-read.
Science has shown that the formulas our brains use to decide simplify things, but the mental shortcuts often are not in our best interests. Cognizant of this, the questions then becomes: How do we overcome these innate predilections and decide better? Decisive illustrates four specific strategies.
The four strategies are W.R.A.P.: Widen Your Options, Reality Test Your Assumptions, Attain Distance Before Deciding and Prepare to Be Wrong. The book proceeds linearly through W.R.A.P. and each section goes into detail about how a specific strategy can help you to decide better. Furthermore, within each section, sub-strategies are detailed that explain the critical building blocks you will need when deciding.
Also located throughout Decisive are ‘clinics’ that pose a question and invite you to apply what you’ve learned to a case study. For those who just want to get straight to the point, each chapter ends with a one-page summary of bullet points.
The only negative comment I have about this book is that it is told through many, many stories. Decisive is a non-fiction book but at times it feels like you are reading a fiction novel about a series of characters who had to navigate through tough scenarios. It’s understandable why the authors did this (because stories are memorable, impart knowledge and inspire to act), but it felt as if they went overboard at times. The hardcover is 300 pages and I would presume over 100 of those pages consist of the stories alone.
Decisive is the third book (Switch and Made to Stick) from Chip and Dan Heath that I have read and the sole reason why I bought Decisive is because of the others. All three books are insightful, practical, and have significant overlap, so whether you are a business leader, a chef, a or a Sunday school teacher, there will be something for you to learn and apply.
Essentially, reading all three will show you how to develop a lasting idea that people will believe in, care for, and take action on (Made to Stick); how to materialize that idea into transformative change (Switch); and how to navigate along the path you have chosen in your personal life and job (Decisive).
Since I'm not an executive, the business-related stuff was less helpful, and there are so many ideas in there that I'm not totally sure how best to apply them all, but it's an easy read with a lot of helpful ideas supposedly backed by research.
Top reviews from other countries
I absolutely hate the political correctness of today and this book is heavily influenced by all that and especially "female empowerment".
They use female pronouns absolutely everywhere, making me feel as if this book is meant for women exclusively and a man shouldn't be reading it.
This is a problem with almost any non-fiction book released in the last 10 years, but this is the worst one yet in that sense.
Any time they use a hypothetical situation, female pronouns are used. If it's a negative hypothetical situation, only then are male pronouns used.
I managed to read through this book in little over a day. It contained useful info with action summaries at the end of each chapter, so if you're in a rush you could whizz through the key points pretty quickly. Recommended.