Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Book cover for Decisive

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

By Chip Heath, Dan Heath
Crown Business, New York, 2013

Research in psychology has revealed that our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities: We’re overconfident. We seek out information that supports us and downplay information that doesn’t. We get distracted by short-term emotions. When it comes to making choices, it seems, our brains are flawed instruments. Unfortunately, merely being aware of these shortcomings doesn’t fix the problem, any more than knowing that we are nearsighted helps us to see. The real question is: How can we do better?

In Decisive, the Heaths, based on an exhaustive study of the decision-making literature,introduce a four-step process designed to counteract these biases. Decisive takes readers on an unforgettable journey, from a rock star’s ingenious decision-making trick to a CEO’s disastrous acquisition, to a single question that can often resolve thorny personal decisions.

Selected Editorial Reviews
A leader's most important job is to make good decisions, which — minus perfect knowledge of the future - is tough to do consistently … The Heath brothers explain how to navigate the land mines laid by our irrational brains and improve our chances of good outcomes.
To help with the decision making process, the authors approached it from four principles that they refer to as the 'WRAP model': Widen your options; Reality test your assumptions; Attain distance before deciding; and Prepare to be wrong. Each principle is given several chapters, with examples provided for putting these approaches into practice. Breaking out of a narrow framework to recognize other options, for example, is approached through methods such as considering opportunity costs and the vanishing options test. The writing is humorous and often surprising, a tool that the authors use to great effect when sharing such examples as David Lee Roth's obsession with brown M&Ms. Coupled with their insightful analyses, the book proves particularly insightful.
Publisher's Weekly
... the Heath brothers, drawing on extensive studies, stories and research, offer specific, practical tools that can help us to think more clearly about our options, and get out of our heads, to improve our decision making, at work and at home.
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