Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions

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Overview

Anyone who watches the television news has seen images of firefighters rescuing people from burning buildings and paramedics treating bombing victims. How do these individuals make the split-second decisions that save lives? Most studies of decision making, based on artificial tasks assigned in laboratory settings, view people as biased and unskilled. Gary Klein is one of the developers of the naturalistic decision making approach, which views people as inherently skilled and experienced. It documents human strengths and capabilities that so far have been downplayed or ignored.

Since 1985, Klein has conducted fieldwork to find out how people tackle challenges in difficult, nonroutine situations.
Sources of Power is based on observations of humans acting under such real-life constraints as time pressure, high stakes, personal responsibility,
and shifting conditions. The professionals studied include firefighters, critical care nurses, pilots, nuclear power plant operators, battle planners, and chess masters. Each chapter builds on key incidents and examples to make the description of the methodology and phenomena more vivid. In addition to providing information that can be used by professionals in management, psychology, engineering, and other fields, the book presents an overview of the research approach of naturalistic decision making and expands our knowledge of the strengths people bring to difficult tasks.

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Most studies of decision-making treat humans like rats in a laboratory. But Dr.

Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders, fighter pilots,paramedics, and others making split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings." Thomas Petzinger, Jr. The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal - Thomas Petzinger

Most studies of decision-making treat humans like rats in a laboratory.
But Dr. Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders,
fighter pilots, paramedics, and others making split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings.

Thomas Petzinger Jr.
Dr. Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders, fighter pilots, paramedics, and other smaking split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings.
Wall Street Journal
Nature
Klein has amassed an impressive quantity and range of evidence that erodes the myth of the expert decisionmaker who behaves according to classical rational models, and he suggests that traditional definitions of both rationality and expertise need to be re-examined.
Thomas Petzinger, Jr.
Dr. Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders, fighter pilots, paramedics, and other smaking split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings.
The Wall Street Journal
Nature
Klein has amassed an impressive quantity and range of evidence that erodes the myth of the expert decisionmaker who behaves according to classical rational models, and he suggests that traditional definitions of both rationality and expertise need to be re-examined.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262611466
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 2/26/1999
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 185,152
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Klein is a Senior Scientist at Applied Research Associates. He is the author of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions (1999) and the coauthor of Working Minds: A Practitioner's Guide to Cognitive Task
Analysis
(2006), both published by the MIT Press.
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Table of Contents

Examples
Figures
Tables
Acknowledgments
1 Chronicling the Strengths Used in Making Difficult Decisions 1
2 Learning from the Firefighters 7
3 The Recognition-Primed Decision Model 15
4 The Power of Intuition 31
5 The Power of Mental Simulation 45
6 The Vincennes Shootdown 75
7 Mental Simulation and Decision Making 89
8 The Power to Spot Leverage Points 111
9 Nonlinear Aspects of Problem Solving 121
10 The Power to See the Invisible 147
11 The Power of Stories 177
12 The Power of Metaphors and Analogues 197
13 The Power to Read Minds 215
14 The Power of the Team Mind 233
15 The Power of Rational Analysis and the Problem of Hyperrationality 259
16 Why Good People Make Poor Decisions 271
17 Conclusions 285
Notes 295
References 309
Index 323
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