Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition

Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition

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by Michael Mauboussin
     
 

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Leaders in all fields-business, medicine, law, government-make crucial decisions every day. The harsh truth is that they mismanage many of those choices, even though they have the right intentions. These blunders take a huge toll on leaders, their organizations, and the people they serve.

Why is it so hard to make sound decisions? We fall victim to simplified

Overview


Leaders in all fields-business, medicine, law, government-make crucial decisions every day. The harsh truth is that they mismanage many of those choices, even though they have the right intentions. These blunders take a huge toll on leaders, their organizations, and the people they serve.

Why is it so hard to make sound decisions? We fall victim to simplified mental routines that prevent us from coping with the complex realities inherent in important judgment calls. Yet these cognitive errors are preventable. In Think Twice, Michael Mauboussin shows you how to recognize-and avoid-common mental missteps, including:

-Misunderstanding cause-and-effect linkages

-Aggregating micro-level behavior to predict macro-level behavior

-Not considering enough alternative possibilities in making a decision

-Relying too much on experts

Sharing vivid stories from business and beyond, Mauboussin offers powerful rules for avoiding each error. And he explains how to know when it's time to think twice-to question your reasoning and adopt decision-making strategies that are far more effective, even if they seem counterintuitive.

Master the art of thinking twice, and you'll start spotting dangerous mental errors-in your own decisions and in those of others. Equipped with this awareness, you'll soon begin making sounder judgment calls that benefit (rather than hurt) your organization.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781422176757
Publisher:
Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date:
10/12/2009
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author


Michael J. Mauboussin is Chief Investment Strategist at Legg Mason Capital Management. He has been an adjunct professor of finance at Columbia Business School since 1993. BusinessWeek's Guide to the Best Business Schools highlighted him as one of the school's "Outstanding Faculty"-a distinction received by only seven professors.

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Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
ideastoaction More than 1 year ago
Mauboussin's gives us sharp tools to make headway in relaying on our blunted ability to be rational. If you take him seriously the only question is how long will it take to learn to Think Twice? We all get into the habit of understanding decision making from our own perspective. I am Michael Mauboussin's fan and his mother-in-law so take what I say as you will. I have also spent the 34 years of my professional life working as a family therapist and in so doing have learned about the many emotional challenges of thinking rationally Poor decisions can provide clues about significant hidden biases or hidden emotional pressures, either of which can overpower our more rational side. Most of us know that stress contributes to poor decision-making. Of course if the people you love die, or if you get divorced, you might not be at the top of your rational game. We also know that it is just not stress or mental illness that creates the conditions for poor decision-making, it is also the way the brain has evolved which contributes to the way we make decisions. By pausing to Think Twice, it becomes possible for us to avoid many irrational "slippery slope." Becoming rational is a challenge as we don't value introspection, flexibility or the ability to properly calculate evidence. After reading the book once, I read it twice. My goal: make this information work in my life. Chart the appearance of these mental traps with examples from my life and the news media. If rational thinking is to increase we have to notice how our brain immediately responds to clues. By looking carefully at these clues and wondering about their impact on us we can often re-think any problem. The brain works its short-cut thinking magic, unless one can: (1) Seek the statistical outside viewpoints. (2) See how we respond to complexity with tunnel vision. (3) See the inconsistent performance of experts in predicting the future. (4) See the errors in cause and effect thinking in complex systems. (5) See the difference between cause and correlations. (6) See the difference between skill and luck. (7) Consider probability in what goes up will come down, or revision to the mean. (7) Consider "the grand Ah-Whooms" or the tipping point in non-linear systems. (8) Understand: "Our brains are not wired for the process of moving from preparation to recognition. Indeed typical decision makers allocate only 25% of their time to thinking about the problem properly and learning from experience." Therfore: 1) Keep a decision journal, 2) Make a checklist. My take away is to understand the ancient roots of irrationality as they surface in my day-to-day life. Perhaps this will help retool my brain, reducing my deep need to feel good and to be right at the expense of long-term solutions to complex problems.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
Research indicates that people buy more German wine when a store's sound system plays German music in the background and more French wine when it plays French music. However, shoppers claim that the background music has no effect on their wine choices. Most people think that they make rational decisions, even if they do not. In this example, irrelevant, low-level sensory input determines people's choices. Michael J. Mauboussin, a finance professor and investment strategist, wants to help people make better decisions. In his book, he details the most common decision-making mistakes and suggests practical techniques you can use to avoid them. getAbstract recommends this book to people who want to increase their awareness of their own irrationality and, especially, to managers in decision-making positions, whose mistakes may have ripple effects throughout their organizations and even beyond.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago