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Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions Paperback – March 5, 2002
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"In Smart Choices, John Hammond, Ralph Keeney, and Howard Raiffa tell us in plain language how to make optimal decisions in our everyday lives. They combine one hundred collective years of experience in an exceptional resource that takes the reader step-by-step through problem formulation and final decision." –Jerome P. Kassirer, editor-in-chief, New England Journal of Medicine
"Throughout Smart Choices, Hammond, Keeney, and Raiffa provide valuable insight and guidance on the inevitable and ongoing negotiation with yourself when facing a difficult decision. By following their effective, systematic process, anyone can make important personal or business decisions with greater clarity, confidence, and efficiency." –Stephen J. Hemsley, former head of Strategy, Technology, and Operating Professional Service Lines, Arthur Andersen
From the Inside Flap
Where should I live?
Is it time to switch careers?
What is the best course of action for me?
Decisions shape our experiences, from choosing which job offer to accept, to buying the right car, to selecting a good accountant. How do we know which choice is the smart one? How can we be consistent and confident in our decisions? In this book from the three leading authorities on decision-making, readers learn how to approach all types of decisions with a simple set of skills developed by professors from Harvard, MIT, and the University of Southern California.
Combining solid research with common sense and practical experience, this user-friendly guide shows readers how to assess deep-seated objectives, create a comprehensive set of alternatives, determine likely consequences, make tradeoffs, and grapple with uncertainty. Not only will readers learn how to make decisions, they will learn how to make the smartest decisions. For anyone caught at a confusing crossroad?whether you?re choosing between mutual funds or deciding where to retire?the Smart Choices program will improve your decision-making abilities immediately, and make your life more rewarding and fulfilling.
Top customer reviews
If you train yourself to be proactive about your decisions, you will be able to think critically and offer valid reasons for your decisions. Honestly, there is some great advice in it and will help one make better decisions. For me, I tended to skip through and skim because most of it seemed rather straightforward. This book at times was rather dull but the advice is trustworthy. I will keep this book on my shelf because I can flip right to the part that I need advice on.
On last thing is the chart to help make decisions:
Address the right decision problem
Clarify your real objectives
Develop a range of creative alternatives
Understand the consequences of your decision
Make appropriate tradeoffs among conflicting objectives
Deal sensibly with uncertainties
Take account of your risk-taking attitude
Plan ahead for decisions linked over time
Smart Choices drills down into the eight steps of problem solving, discussing each at length. The book also discusses common pitfalls, which I saw myself in just about every pitfall mentioned.
The authors suggest that we, as readers, should get out there and practice being better problem solvers. We should also get more pro-active about solving problems. This is all great advice.
I had to admit I bounced over some of the more technical bits. This book probably has to be read several times, or referred to often, as it's hard to pick up all the techniques in one read.
Better problem solving is key to a better quality of life. Who wouldn't want to make better decisions and reap the benefits? I would highly advise reading Smart Choices because it sets the bar much higher for better decisions, and certainly gives the reader plenty of new skills and things to think about that should lead to better results!
The author gives you an easy-to-use acronym to remember the process: PrOACT. I add URL to the end for Uncertainty, Risk, and Linked decisions.
Here are the highlights preceded by the chapter number:
2. Define problem.
3. Identify objectives.
4. Generate alternatives.
5. Lay-out consequences for each alternative.
6. Identify tradeoffs. Eliminate even swaps.
7. Identify possible uncertainties.
8. Take into account your personal risk tolerance.
9. Identify linked decisions.
10. Watch out for anchors. Be open-minded. Set aside sunk costs when making a decision; otherwise it will muddy your thinking. Frame questions well.
11. The art of good decision making lies in systematic thinking.