Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

4.7 12
by Chip Heath, Dan Heath
     
 

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Chip and Dan Heath, the bestselling authors of Switch and Made to Stick, tackle one of the most critical topics in our work and personal lives: how to make better decisions.
 
   Research in psychology has revealed that our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities: We’re

Overview

Chip and Dan Heath, the bestselling authors of Switch and Made to Stick, tackle one of the most critical topics in our work and personal lives: how to make better decisions.
 
   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. Written in an engaging and compulsively readable style, 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.

   Along the way, we learn the answers to critical questions like these: How can we stop the cycle of agonizing over our decisions? How can we make group decisions without destructive politics? And how can we ensure that we don’t overlook precious opportunities to change our course? 

   Decisive is the Heath brothers’ most powerful—and important—book yet, offering fresh strategies and practical tools enabling us to make better choices. Because the right decision, at the right moment, can make all the difference.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Heath brothers, a Stanford University Graduate School of Business professor and a senior fellow at Duke University's Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship respectively and coauthors of Switch and Made to Stick, tackle the problems of decision-making, and all the failures that come with it. 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.
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From the Publisher
“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.” -Inc.
Kirkus Reviews
A manual on how to become more rational when facing difficult decisions at work and in your personal life. The brothers Heath (Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, 2010, etc.) are a writing team with a couple of best-selling business titles under their belt. Chip, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Dan, a senior fellow at Duke's Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, specialize in writing about how human behavior affects organizations. Their present collaboration examines a variety of decision-making processes in business and personal life--whom to hire, which job to take, which schools to apply to, whom to pursue a romantic relationship with--and argues that those processes matter more to the outcome than the decisions themselves. The Heaths argue that humans are hampered by four "enemies" of decision-making rooted in our unconscious behavior: narrow focus, confirmation bias, short-term emotion and overconfidence in the outcome. They propose a four-step model called WRAP ("Widen your options, Reality-test your assumptions, Attain distance before deciding, and Prepare to be wrong") that they believe provides a template for good decision-making. All this is presented in the introductory chapter. The rest of the book fleshes out the Heaths' thesis with dozens of examples of best practices--e.g., Sam Walton's bus tour of competitors to decide how to speed customers through checkout lines; an Intel executive's insight that enabled him to drop a safe product line and focus on a riskier one; a San Diego nonprofit's struggle to decide to stick with their increasingly successful local mission or attempt a national one. Readers approaching this book because they have a pressing decision may be annoyed by the Heaths' lumbering pace, but for those who want to improve decision-making overall, the workshop style of the narrative should prove helpful.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307956392
Publisher:
The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/26/2013
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
73,356
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

CHIP HEATH is a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He lives in Los Gatos, California. DAN HEATH is a senior fellow at Duke University's Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE). He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Heath brothers are the bestselling authors of Made to Stick and Switch.

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Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
RichBurkey More than 1 year ago
Wrap your hands not only around this book but the great insights Chip and Dan Heath share in making better choices. They not only deal with the 4 villains that hinder  decision making, they also lay out 4 ways to leverage our decision making to a higher level. They don't promise 100% accuracy in making decisions (that would be the sign of a fool). But they do share 4 choices to overcome the villains to be wiser at work, at home, and in one's daily life. Learn to:Widen your options. Reality-test your assumptions. Attain distance before deciding. Prepare to be wrong. By putting these choices to work, you and I can develop a process for making better decisions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Heath brothers developed an easy-to-remember acronym they label WRAP, which stands for Widen your options, Reality test your assumptions, Attain distance before deciding, and Prepare to be wrong. Each one of these solutions targets a corresponding “villain of decision making.” These decision-making mistakes include narrow framing, confirmation bias, short-term emotion, and overconfidence. Each problem-solution has examples pulled from the author’s research and case studies and presented in an interesting and sometimes humorous style. I enjoyed this book because I recognized many of the decision flaws I have experienced, both personal and professional. There have been times when I thought that narrowing my options with an either/or scenario was the best thing to do when deciding. The authors argue that this kind of thinking is exactly opposite and what we need to do. Widening our options allow for more possibilities and perhaps produce even better solutions. There are many other techniques and examples in this book that have changed the way I think about decisions now. Whenever I have a weighty decision to make I think WRAP. I’d highly recommend this book as a valuable tool in your decision-making process.
ruralphil More than 1 year ago
Followed the Heath Brothers in Fast Company and have purchased each of their books since. Thought provoking ideas about navigating a shifting business environment.
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Very useful information presented in an engaging way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!******;)