Magazine article People & Strategy

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Magazine article People & Strategy

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Article excerpt

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

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Authors: Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I can imagine what their old hometown neighbors say about the Heath brothers ... "Those boys were smart, but you might not have known it. They were not the least bit bookish." Or ... "They always did know how to spin a tale." Or ... "Did you ever imagine those boys would become professors?" The fact is, Heath & Heath (that's Chip and Dan) teach at two of the top U.S. business schools: Chip Heath is a professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, and Dan Heath is a senior fellow at Duke University's Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship. They've written multiple best-selling business books, and they've done it again.

The Four Villains of Decision Making

The book starts by outlining the "Four Villains of Decision-Making," each associated with one of the basic steps in the decision-making process:

1. You encounter a choice--But narrow framing makes you miss options.

2. You analyze your options--But the confirmation bias leads you to gather self-serving information.

3. You make a choice--But short-term emotion will often tempt you to make the wrong one.

4. You live with it--But you'll often be overconfident about how the future will unfold,

From there, the Heath boys proceed to introduce strategies that will help you overcome these villains and make better choices.

Anything but dull, the book is chock full of methods for improving decisions, including "seeking out one more option; finding someone else who's solved your problem; or asking what would have to be true for you to be right." Other strategies include "making big decisions based on core priorities; running pre-mortems and pre-parades; laying down tripwires; and ooching as a way to dampen politics. …

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