Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work


Authors: Chip Heath,Dan Heath

The decisions we make are often affected by our biases, confidence, and emotions. The brain is an extraordinary organ but when presented with an opportunity to make a decision, it becomes pretty useless on its own. In Decisive, the Heath brothers use extensive research and answer the questions that plague our mind during the burdensome task of decision-making.

Video Review of Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath,Dan Heath

Quotes & Tips from Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Decision Making Process

Success emerges from the quality of the decisions we make and the quantity of luck we receive. We can’t control luck. But we can control the way we make choices.

Tripwires: One solution to this is to bundle our decisions with “tripwires,” signals that would snap us awake at exactly the right moment, compelling us to reconsider a decision or to make a new one.

Process vs analysis: When the researchers compared whether process or analysis was more important in producing good decisions—those that increased revenues, profits, and market share—they found that “process mattered more than analysis—by a factor of six.” Often a good process led to better analysis—for instance, by ferreting out faulty logic.

Pros & Cons: The pros-and-cons approach is familiar. It is commonsensical. And it is also profoundly flawed.

Opportunity Cost: What if we started every decision by asking some simple questions: What are we giving up by making this choice? What else could we do with the same time and money?

WRAP process: Widen Your Options | Reality-Test Your Assumptions | Attain Distance Before Deciding. | Prepare to Be Wrong.

Be Creative

Any time in life you’re tempted to think, ‘Should I do this OR that?’ instead, ask yourself, ‘Is there a way I can do this AND that.?’

Biases in Decision Making

Confirmation bias is probably the single biggest problem in business, because even the most sophisticated people get it wrong. When people have the opportunity to collect information from the world, they are more likely to select information that supports their preexisting attitudes, beliefs, and actions.

Thinking for others vs ourselves: When we think of our friends, we see the forest. When we think of ourselves, we get stuck in the trees. Ask yourself, What would I tell my best friend to do in this situation?

Paradox of Choice: A classic study by Columbia’s Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper monitored the behavior of consumers in a grocery store. One day, the store set up a sampling table with 6 different kinds of jam, and customers loved it; another day, the store set up a table with 24 different kinds of jam, and it was even more popular than the first. The surprise came at the cash register: Customers who’d chosen among 6 jams were 10 times more likely to actually buy a jar of jam than customers who’d chosen among 24! It was fun to sample 24 flavors, it seems, but painful to pick among them. The choice was paralyzing.

Familiarity Bias: we like what’s familiar to us;

Loss aversion: losses are more painful than gains are pleasant. 

Chip Health – Author – Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

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