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Problem Solving 101: A Simple Book for Smart People Hardcover – March 5, 2009
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"Problem Solving 101 teaches us to recognize the common elements in the decisions we face every day and how to think carefully about them. It offers tricks and tips for every age. If I may offer one more suggestion: when you don't know which of two options to choose, toss a coin, and when it is up there in the air think about how you want it to fall, and you have your answer."
--DAN ARIELY, author of the New York Times bestseller Predictably Irrational
"This book made me angry. It made me angry because there are so many people in this country who need to read it, who should read it, who will benefit enormously from reading it . . . and won't. They'll watch a reality show on TV instead. If everyone made decisions like Ken Watanabe, the world would be a better place."
--SETH GODIN, author of Tribes
"This is an excellent primer on problem solving."
--LOWELL BRYAN, author of Mobilizing Minds
About the Author
Ken Watanabe grew up bilingual in Japan and studied in the United States at Yale and Harvard Business School. He was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company for six years. He is now the founder and CEO of his own education, entertainment, and media company, Delta Studio.
Top customer reviews
The author is brilliant (wish we had teachers like him in every school)
His teaching are priceless and he truly wants everyone to walk away a better person then they started.
The author, Ken Watanabe, who is a former managerial consultant with McKinsey, has written a great primer on problem solving that is useful for business decisions, and everyday problems.
The examples are written using kid stories, which makes it fun, and provide the tools to start making problem solving an everyday behavior in life.
Some may complain that there is not enough depth, but they would be missing the bigger picture. It is not how much you are 'given' in a book, but rather how much is actually taken or understood - the transference of knowledge. Watanabe's book provides the frameworks for everyday problem solving that can be applied from the simple to the complex, and that's what makes it worthwhile.
Be a Problem Solver. Read this book.
The tools described includes:
1. Logic tree and yes/no tree: a visual tool for identifying all potential causes of a problem
2. Problem-solving design plan: a method that includes clarifying the issues you are trying to solve, stating your hypotheses, and listing the actions required to prove or disprove those hypothesis
3. Prioritization matrix: plotting your solutions in terms of impact vs. ease of implementation
4. Hypothesis pyramid: clarifying our argument before diving into data collection
5. Pros and cons and Criteria and Evaluation: for evaluating multiple options
Some of these tools I had learn in school or am using at work. Reading about them is a refreshing exercise.
If I have one complaint about the book, it is its price. The Kindle version sold on U.S. Amazon is pretty expensive considering the length of the book. I finished it in about an hour.
I wanted to be prepared for the case interviews and all the firms recommend to have strong problem solving skills, so I searched a book to improve problem-solving skills.
This book, supposedly written for kids, is one of the best guides for adults to acquire problem solving skills as the writer is an ex-McKinsey consultant. You can see how a real consultant thinks every-day-problems (i.e. why the attendance is low for a high school rock band and how to improve it).
It's really interesting and I totally recommend it.