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The Truth about Making Smart Decisions

Overview

Praise for
The Truth About Making Smart Decisions

The Truth About Making Smart Decisions offers a truly valuable and entertaining journey through the complex terrain of decision making. Robert Gunther combines a writer's gift of the pen with a keen understanding of human nature, drawing upon his own experiences, business anecdotes, and vignettes from other walks of life. His selection of traps, insights, and truths are edifying as well as ...

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Overview

Praise for
The Truth About Making Smart Decisions

The Truth About Making Smart Decisions offers a truly valuable and entertaining journey through the complex terrain of decision making. Robert Gunther combines a writer's gift of the pen with a keen understanding of human nature, drawing upon his own experiences, business anecdotes, and vignettes from other walks of life. His selection of traps, insights, and truths are edifying as well as amusing, and many readers will recognize themselves as he exposes our weaknesses, and occasional brilliance, as we carve the trajectory of our life one decision after the next.”

Paul J. H. Schoemaker, Ph.D., coauthor of Decision Traps and Winning Decisions

“Robert Gunther crystallizes years of expertise and insight in business writing into a book on probably life’s most important matter: decision making. How do you do it and how do you do it much better? He offers many tools to organize the mind and maximize your ability to be a leader and money maker.

Rick Rickertsen, Managing Partner of Pine Creek Partners and author of The Buyout Book and Sell Your Business Your Way

“We make decision errors predictably, and Robert Gunther offers fifty ways of taking decisions more intelligently. The Truth About Making Smart Decisions is a concise and actionable guide for what to consider when facing critical choice points.”

Michael Useem, Ph.D., Wharton Professor of Management and author of The Go Point: When It’s Time to Decide

“If you think decision making is cut and dried, this book will make you think again. In The Truth About Making Smart Decisions, Robert Gunther offers challenging insights on how factors from sleep to intuition to emotions to mental models affect the quality of our decisions. He urges readers to take a broader view and raises issues that anyone should consider in making smarter decisions.”

Yoram (Jerry) Wind, Ph.D., The Lauder Professor and Wharton Professor of Marketing, and coauthor of The Power of Impossible Thinking

Everything you need to know to make smarter, better decisions—in business and in life!

• The truth about learning from your mistakes and those of others

• The truth about how sleep can help you make better decisions

• The truth about the power of acting decisively

This book brings together 50 powerful “truths” about making better decisions: real solutions for the tough challenges faced by every decision-maker, in business and in life. You'll discover how to systematically prepare to make better decisions...how to get the right information, without getting buried in useless data...how to minimize your risks, and then act decisively...how to handle your emotions...make better group decisions...profit from mistakes...and a whole lot more. This isn't "someone's opinion": it's a definitive, evidence-based guide to effective decision-making...a set of bedrock principles you can rely on no matter what kind of decisions you make!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132354639
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 4/22/2008
  • Series: Truth about Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 605,055
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.42 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert E. Gunther is coauthor or collaborator on more than 20 books. Among many projects, he served as collaborating writer on Wharton on Making Decisions and coauthored The Wealthy 100, a ranking of the wealthiest Americans since the start of the country. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He has appeared on CNBC’s Power Lunch, NPR’s Morning Edition, and numerous local and national radio and television programs. His projects also have been featured in The New York Times, Time, USA Today, and Fortune. His columns or articles have been published in Harvard Business Review, American Heritage, Investor’s Business Daily, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

As founder of Gunther Communications, he has collaborated with leading business professors on books and articles, and engaged in communications work for Fortune 500 companies, universities, and major non-profits. After graduating from Princeton University, he worked as a reporter and editor for The Press of Atlantic City. He later joined the Wharton School where he served as director of development communications and director of publications in executive education. He and his wife have three children and live outside Philadelphia.

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Read an Excerpt

Praise for The Truth About Making Smart DecisionsPraise for The Truth About Making Smart Decisions

"The Truth About Making Smart Decisions offers a truly valuable and entertaining journey through the complex terrain of decision making. Robert Gunther combines a writer's gift of the pen with a keen understanding of human nature, drawing upon his own experiences, business anecdotes, and vignettes from other walks of life. His selection of traps, insights, and truths are edifying as well as amusing, and many readers will recognize themselves as he exposes our weaknesses, and occasional brilliance, as we carve the trajectory of our life one decision after the next."

Paul J. H. Schoemaker, Ph.D., coauthor of Decision Traps and Winning Decisions

"Robert Gunther crystallizes years of expertise and insight in business writing into a book on probably life's most important matter: decision making. How do you do it and how do you do it much better? He offers many tools to organize the mind and maximize your ability to be a leader and money maker."

Rick Rickertsen, Managing Partner of Pine Creek Partners and author of The Buyout Book and Sell Your Business Your Way

"We make decision errors predictably, and Robert Gunther offers fifty ways of taking decisions more intelligently. The Truth About Making Smart Decisions is a concise and actionable guide for what to consider when facing critical choice points."

Michael Useem, Ph.D., Wharton Professor of Management and author of The Go Point: When It's Time to Decide

"If you think decision making is cut and dried, this book will make you think again. In The Truth About Making Smart Decisions, Robert Gunther offers challenging insights on how factors from sleep to intuition to emotions to mental models affect the quality of our decisions. He urges readers to take a broader view and raises issues that anyone should consider in making smarter decisions."

Yoram (Jerry) Wind, Ph.D., The Lauder Professor and Wharton Professor of Marketing,
and coauthor of The Power of Impossible Thinking

Preface

Think quickly. Should you buy this book? You have to make a decision. Every minute of every day, you are making a series of small decisions that could change the course of your career and your life. Our lives are the sum of our decisions. Your success is largely a result of the quality of your decisions. Have you given any thought to how you make decisions?

This book won't keep you from making stupid decisions. Alas, it won't offer you a life without regret or buyer's remorse. It will help you step back from the heat of decision making and think about how you approach decision making. I've had the opportunity to work with some of the leading researchers in the field of decision making, including Paul Schoemaker, author of Decision Traps and Winning Decisions, Howard Kunreuther, co-director of the Wharton School's Risk and Decision Processes Center, and Jerry Wind and Colin Crook, authors of The Power of Impossible Thinking. I have learned a great deal from them about making decisions.

I wish I could say that all this good schooling has kept me from making absolutely disastrous decisions, but I'd be lying. I've walked away from a stable job to start a business (turned out to be a pretty good decision). I've moved 2,000 miles from Pennsylvania to Colorado with a St. Bernard and three kids and back again in one year (a disaster but a fascinating adventure as well). It is a decision I'd make again in a heartbeat because it was for the sake of family. So the little knowledge I have hasn't kept my tail out of the fire. But the way I think about and approach decisions has changed.

There is no simple formula for decisions, but we can become better at making them. No decision is perfect, but often doing nothing is worse. The time to act is now. On the following pages are a series of sharp insights that will give you new ways of thinking about your decisions. There are no shortcuts or machines to make decisions for you. You just need to dig in, open your eyes and get to work. I hope the following truths about decision making can help you in making your own tough decisions.

But some decisions are not all that tough. I mean, buy the book already.

—Robert Gunther

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction x

Part I The Truth About Preparing for Decisions

Truth 1 Before a major decision, get some Z’s 1

Truth 2 Act from a state of clarity 3

Truth 3 If you can’t get distance, get perspective 7

Truth 4 Keep it real 11

Truth5 Use a systematic process 15

Truth 6 Know your decision-making style 19

Part II The Truth About Why Bad Decisions Are Good

Truth 7 To make better decisions, make more mistakes 23

Truth 8 Be prepared to profit from your mistakes 27

Truth 9 Learn from your close calls 29

Truth 10 Learn from the decisions of others 33

Truth 11 Don’t judge your decisions based on their outcome 35

Truth 12 Leave yourself room to get back from the pole 39

Part III The Truth About the Limits of Your Mind

Truth 13 Understand common “decision traps” 43

Truth 14 Giving up something? Get over it! 47

Truth 15 It’s possible to miss an entire gorilla 51

Truth 16 You may see only what you’re looking for 53

Truth 17 You’re not as clever as you think you are 57

Truth 18 Your view of the world depends on what planet you’re from 61

Truth 19 Beware of seeing patterns that aren’t there 65

Truth 20 Different is not always better 69

Part IV The Truth About Complex Decisions

Truth 21 Boil knowledge down to its essence–and then act on it 71

Truth 22 Decisions are not snapshots but movies 75

Truth 23 No decision is an island 79

Truth 24 Build the city around your decision 83

Part V The Truth About Data

Truth 25 Listen for the dog that doesn’t bark 85

Truth 26 Sorry, Joe Friday. The facts are never “just the facts.” 89

Truth 27 Recognize the power of intuition 91

Part VI The Truth About Acting Decisively

Truth 28 The wrong decision is better than none at all 95

Truth 29 Get 80 percent (or less) of what you need, and then act on it 99

Truth 30 Every decision carries risk. Get used to it. 103

Truth 31 Not making a decision is a decision 107

Part VII The Truth About Decisions in Groups

Truth 32 Two heads can be worse than one 111

Truth 33 Use constructive conflict 115

Truth 34 Surround yourself with people smarter than yourself 119

Truth 35 Make decision roles clear 123

Truth 36 Break free from the prisoner’s dilemma 127

Part VIII The Truth About Emotions

Truth 37 A little adrenaline can be a good thing 131

Truth 38 Understand the impact of emotions 135

Truth 39 Beware of the attractive new shortcut 139

Part IX The Truth About Ethical Decision Making

Truth 40 Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want seen on YouTube 143

Truth 41 There are no quiet corners safe from scrutiny 145

Truth 42 To know where you’re going, know where you stand 149

Truth 43 Don’t let power or ego sway you from your course 153

Part X The Truth About Big Decisions

Truth 44 Lower the costs of failure 157

Truth 45 Break down big decisions into smaller ones 161

Truth 46 Don’t forget the screwdrivers 165

Part XI The Truth About Moving On

Truth 47 Keep your eye on the long term 169

Truth 48 Belief in your decision can make it come true 173

Truth 49 Keep a sense of humor 177

Truth 50 Don’t look back 181

Additional Resources 183

References 184

About the Author 188

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Preface

Praise for The Truth About Making Smart Decisions

"The Truth About Making Smart Decisions offers a truly valuable and entertaining journey through the complex terrain of decision making. Robert Gunther combines a writer's gift of the pen with a keen understanding of human nature, drawing upon his own experiences, business anecdotes, and vignettes from other walks of life. His selection of traps, insights, and truths are edifying as well as amusing, and many readers will recognize themselves as he exposes our weaknesses, and occasional brilliance, as we carve the trajectory of our life one decision after the next."

Paul J. H. Schoemaker, Ph.D., coauthor of Decision Traps and Winning Decisions

"Robert Gunther crystallizes years of expertise and insight in business writing into a book on probably life's most important matter: decision making. How do you do it and how do you do it much better? He offers many tools to organize the mind and maximize your ability to be a leader and money maker."

Rick Rickertsen, Managing Partner of Pine Creek Partners and author of The Buyout Book and Sell Your Business Your Way

"We make decision errors predictably, and Robert Gunther offers fifty ways of taking decisions more intelligently. The Truth About Making Smart Decisions is a concise and actionable guide for what to consider when facing critical choice points."

Michael Useem, Ph.D., Wharton Professor of Management and author of The Go Point: When It's Time to Decide

"If you think decision making is cut and dried, this book will make you think again. In The Truth About Making Smart Decisions, Robert Gunther offers challenging insights on how factors from sleep to intuition to emotions to mental models affect the quality of our decisions. He urges readers to take a broader view and raises issues that anyone should consider in making smarter decisions."

Yoram (Jerry) Wind, Ph.D., The Lauder Professor and Wharton Professor of Marketing,
and coauthor of The Power of Impossible Thinking

Preface

Think quickly. Should you buy this book? You have to make a decision. Every minute of every day, you are making a series of small decisions that could change the course of your career and your life. Our lives are the sum of our decisions. Your success is largely a result of the quality of your decisions. Have you given any thought to how you make decisions?

This book won't keep you from making stupid decisions. Alas, it won't offer you a life without regret or buyer's remorse. It will help you step back from the heat of decision making and think about how you approach decision making. I've had the opportunity to work with some of the leading researchers in the field of decision making, including Paul Schoemaker, author of Decision Traps and Winning Decisions, Howard Kunreuther, co-director of the Wharton School's Risk and Decision Processes Center, and Jerry Wind and Colin Crook, authors of The Power of Impossible Thinking. I have learned a great deal from them about making decisions.

I wish I could say that all this good schooling has kept me from making absolutely disastrous decisions, but I'd be lying. I've walked away from a stable job to start a business (turned out to be a pretty good decision). I've moved 2,000 miles from Pennsylvania to Colorado with a St. Bernard and three kids and back again in one year (a disaster but a fascinating adventure as well). It is a decision I'd make again in a heartbeat because it was for the sake of family. So the little knowledge I have hasn't kept my tail out of the fire. But the way I think about and approach decisions has changed.

There is no simple formula for decisions, but we can become better at making them. No decision is perfect, but often doing nothing is worse. The time to act is now. On the following pages are a series of sharp insights that will give you new ways of thinking about your decisions. There are no shortcuts or machines to make decisions for you. You just need to dig in, open your eyes and get to work. I hope the following truths about decision making can help you in making your own tough decisions.

But some decisions are not all that tough. I mean, buy the book already.

—Robert Gunther

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Read More Show Less

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