The Right Decision

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The Right Decision: A Mathematician Reveals How the Secrets of Decision Theory

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Should you stay in a comfy job with little chance of advancement-or take a riskier one in which you could make lots of money but also wind up on the street?

Should you listen to a doctor who advises surgery-or trust another who tells you to wait and see if your condition improves?

Should you remain in a cozy relationship without much spark-or cut your losses and search for your soul mate?

Is there ever a “right” decision? Professor James Stein would argue yes, and in this provocative new book, he shows you how to apply the mathematical principles of Decision Theory to every aspect of your life. Ingeniously blending statistics, probability, game theory, economics, and even philosophy, this dynamic new approach to decision making can help you choose a new career path, buy a better home, even pick the perfect mate. With The Right Decision, you can't go wrong.



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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071614191
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/29/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

James Stein is a Yale graduate who received both his M.A. and Ph.D at U.C. Berkeley, is Professor of Mathematics at California State University, past member of the enormously prestigious Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton (where Oppenheimer held the physics chair formerly held by Einstein and became the head of the Institute) and co-author of two other books. He is also the author of the soon-to-be-published book, How Math Explains the World (Harper-Collins 2008) which is scheduled for an initial print run of 50,000; translation rights have already been sold in a number of countries.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Making the Right Moves v

Part 1 The Basics of Decision Theory 1

Chapter 1 You Are What You Decide 3

Chapter 2 Creating the Menu 13

Chapter 3 What's in it for Me? Determining Your Payoffs 25

Chapter 4 When the Crystal Ball is Cloudy 39

Chapter 5 Dumping the Losers: The Admissibility Criterion 51

Chapter 6 Worst-Case Scenarios: The Minimax Criterion 61

Chapter 7 In the Long Run: The Bayes' Criterion 73

Chapter 8 Taking the Plunge: The Maximax Criterion 85

Chapter 9 Which Club to Use 97

Chapter 10 What You Don't Know Can Hurt You 105

Chapter 11 The Balance of Power 125

Chapter 12 People Who Need People 135

Chapter 13 Hurts So Good 145

Part 2 The Quizzes 155

Index 239

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Making decisions is hard, and understanding new theoretical appr

    Making decisions is hard, and understanding new theoretical approaches to decision making can be even harder. Mathematics professor James Stein does a fine job of explaining these theoretical frameworks, converting abstract theory to applicable tools and illustrating his explanations with numerous examples. Stein offers many case studies, so readers can apply their understanding of the theoretical tools. But he doesn’t always provide sufficient explanation of the factors involved or the reasoning behind how the decision makers in the scenarios weigh their choices. That aside, this is a useful introduction to a complex subject. getAbstract recommends Stein’s methods to planners, managers, strategists and anyone who wants to make better decisions.

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