Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Why and How on Decision-Making

March 2013 Book Review


Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Apparently being geeky or nerdy has some privileges.  I was able to obtain an advanced copy of the Heath brothers’ next book: Decisive, How To Make Better Choices In Life and Work.  It’s an awesome book.  I dog-eared more than a dozen pages and took countless notes.  When you’re in the business of using research to help people with decisions, a book like this can be transformative.  I think The Heath brothers’ work in this book surpasses the other two books they wrote, Made To Stick and Switch.  They outline the biases and obstacles that prevent us from making sound decisions, and better yet, give us a framework to overcome them.  They have also managed to strip the framework to the barest of essence (simple is always better).

Here are a few of the better passages I can across in this book:

“Because we naturally seek self-confirming information, we need discipline to consider the opposite.”

“…when you’re trying to gather good information and reality-test your ideas, go talk to an expert.”

“The advice to trust the numbers isn’t motivated by geekery; it’s motivated by humility.  To ignore their experience isn’t brave or romantic.”

“…experts who made more media appearances tended to be worse predictors.”

“Why predict something we can test?  Why guess when we can know?”

“A preference for familiar things is necessarily a preference for the status quo.”

“Fighting overconfidence means we’ve got to treat the future as a spectrum, not a point.”

“What Dunbar discovered, after countless hours of eavesdropping and interviewing and synthesizing, was that one of the reliable but unrecognized pillars of scientific thinking is the analogy.”

The Fightin' Analyst Book Rating:

out of five stars