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Heart and Mind: Mastering the Art of Decision Making Paperback – May 30, 2013
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This book lives up to its title, Heart and Mind, by integrating both heart-felt intuition and rational analysis. I find this unique among books on decision-making. Most books focus on analytics, forgetting that human emotions play a critical role in our decisions. Other books refute the benefit of analysis, overly emphasizing intuition (think "Blink"). Both approaches sadly overlook the opportunity for integration, which this book richly provides by showing how to make the most of personal values, intuition, analysis, creativity, numerical rating, courage and follow-through. I highly recommend it.
Barry Anderson, Dan Hahn and Ursina Teuscher, all from the University of Portland, have teamed together to deliver a well structured method for improving the quality of our decisions.
According to the authors, there are three key principles to good decision making: Courage to be rational, Creativity and Balanced judgment. The book starts with simple examples and moves to very complex decisions. Along the way, the authors teach us about problem structuring - defining the problem, about values and creating value trees. They then move to generating alternatives. From there they provide guidance on how to properly construct a decision ladder, including fact tables, plus and minus tables, extremes tables and weighted values tables. Finally they introduce the decision tree.
While the book is about a systematic approach to making good decisions, the authors point out that good decisions do not guarantee good outcomes. Because decisions are about the future, you can never know for certain if a good decision will result in a good outcome. But under the law of large numbers, if you follow the techniques, you will on balance get more good outcomes from making good decisions.
This book would be a great resource for anyone making important decisions. However it will require a fair amount of time to understand and then master the techniques put forth in this book. I think the book is of far greater value to those who are frequently called on to make important decisions or to assist others in making important decisions. This book should be very valuable for coaches, consultants and counselors.
The authors all teach at the college level but their writings style is not at all academic. They write in a very conversational style and the book is filled with drawings, illustrations and example tables that help to clarify and explain the concepts.
At the end of each chapter is a recap of the points covered in that chapter.
If you are involved in helping others make better decisions, this is a book that you will want to keep handy and refer to often. I found plenty of concepts I could put to use immediately in guiding others facing complex decisions.
I was provided a review copy of this book.
The authors of Heart and Mind do a fabulous job of integrating the use of intuition and scientific analysis to the process of decision making. It's important to develop the ability to have 'balance' in the process of 'listening to your gut' and 'rational thought'. Given the analytic nature of the content in Heart and Mind, it could easily be written in a very dry and complex way. However, the authors have found a way to write the content using very user friendly language that applies to all areas of life decisions (e.g. career, relationships, finances, etc.). The authors also provide techniques to visualize the components involved when making life decisions, which I find incredibly helpful. Heart and Mind integrates what I believe are the three most important components in making life decisions: courage, creativity, and balance. I give my very strong recommendation to adding this book to one's repertoire of references to use when applying the process of decision making.
Kathy Hardie-Williams, M.Ed, MS, NCC, MFT, LPC