Chip and Dan Heath, the bestselling authors of Switch and Made to Stick, tackle one of the most critical topics in our work and personal lives: how to make better decisions.
Research in psychology has revealed that our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities: We’re overconfident. We seek out information that supports us and downplay information that doesn’t. We get distracted by short-term emotions. When it comes to making choices, it seems, our brains are flawed instruments. Unfortunately, merely being aware of these shortcomings doesn’t fix the problem, any more than knowing that we are nearsighted helps us to see. The real question is: How can we do better?
In Decisive, the Heaths, based on an exhaustive study of the decision-making literature, introduce a four-step process designed to counteract these biases. Written in an engaging and compulsively readable style, Decisive takes readers on an unforgettable journey, from a rock star’s ingenious decision-making trick to a CEO’s disastrous acquisition, to a single question that can often resolve thorny personal decisions.
Along the way, we learn the answers to critical questions like these: How can we stop the cycle of agonizing over our decisions? How can we make group decisions without destructive politics? And how can we ensure that we don’t overlook precious opportunities to change our course?
Decisive is the Heath brothers’ most powerful—and important—book yet, offering fresh strategies and practical tools enabling us to make better choices. Because the right decision, at the right moment, can make all the difference.
The Heath brothers, a Stanford University Graduate School of Business professor and a senior fellow at Duke University's Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship respectively and coauthors of Switch and Made to Stick, tackle the problems of decision-making, and all the failures that come with it. To help with the decision making process, the authors approached it from four principles that they refer to as the "WRAP model": Widen your options; Reality test your assumptions; Attain distance before deciding; and Prepare to be wrong. Each principle is given several chapters, with examples provided for putting these approaches into practice. Breaking out of a narrow framework to recognize other options, for example, is approached through methods such as considering opportunity costs and the vanishing options test. The writing is humorous and often surprising, a tool that the authors use to great effect when sharing such examples as David Lee Roth's obsession with brown M&Ms. Coupled with their insightful analyses, the book proves particularly insightful.