"Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser."
—George Akerlof, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics
—New York Times Book Review
Why do our headaches persist after we take a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a fifty-cent aspirin? Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup?
When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we?
In this newly revised and expanded edition of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They're systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational.
With boundless erudition and in delightfully clear prose, Surowiecki ranges across fields as diverse as popular culture, psychology, ant biology, behavioral economics, artificial intelligence, military history, and politics to show how this simple idea offers important lessons for how we live our lives, select our leaders, run our companies, and think about our world.
As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress. And, in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.
In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains at what point choice—the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish—becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice—from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs—has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution. Schwartz also shows how our obsession with choice encourages us to seek that which makes us feel worse.
By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counter intuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on those that are important and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.
“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!
Behavioral economist and New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational Dan Ariely returns to offer a much-needed take on the irrational decisions that influence our dating lives, our workplace experiences, and our temptation to cheat in any and all areas. Fans of Freakonomics, Survival of the Sickest, and Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and The Tipping Point will find many thought-provoking insights in The Upside of Irrationality.
The third edition of this ground-breaking book continues to advance its mission to support groups to do their best thinking. It demonstrates that meetings can be much more than merely an occasion for solving a problem or creating a plan. Every well-facilitated meeting is also an opportunity to stretch and develop the perspectives of the individual members, thereby building the strength and capacity of the group as a whole.
This fully updated edition of The Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making guides readers through the struggle and the satisfaction of putting participatory values into practice, helping them to fulfill the promise of effective group decision-making. With previous editions already embraced by business and community leaders and consulting professionals around the world, this new book is even more insightful and easy to use.
New for this edition:
In making decisions, when should we go with our gut and when should we try to analyze every option? When should we use our intuition and when should we rely on logic and statistics? Most of us would probably agree that for important decisions, we should follow certain guidelines—gather as much information as possible, compare the options, pin down the goals before getting started. But in practice we make some of our best decisions by adapting to circumstances rather than blindly following procedures. In Streetlights and Shadows, Gary Klein debunks the conventional wisdom about how to make decisions. He takes ten commonly accepted claims about decision making and shows that they are better suited for the laboratory than for life. The standard advice works well when everything is clear, but the tough decisions involve shadowy conditions of complexity and ambiguity. Gathering masses of information, for example, works if the information is accurate and complete—but that doesn't often happen in the real world. (Think about the careful risk calculations that led to the downfall of the Wall Street investment houses.) Klein offers more realistic ideas about how to make decisions in real-life settings. He provides many examples—ranging from airline pilots and weather forecasters to sports announcers and Captain Jack Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander novels—to make his point. All these decision makers saw things that others didn't. They used their expertise to pick up cues and to discern patterns and trends. We can make better decisions, Klein tells us, if we are prepared for complexity and ambiguity and if we will stop expecting the data to tell us everything.
Since 1985, Klein has conducted fieldwork to find out how people tackle challenges in difficult, nonroutine situations. Sources of Power is based on observations of humans acting under such real-life constraints as time pressure, high stakes, personal responsibility, and shifting conditions. The professionals studied include firefighters, critical care nurses, pilots, nuclear power plant operators, battle planners, and chess masters. Each chapter builds on key incidents and examples to make the description of the methodology and phenomena more vivid. In addition to providing information that can be used by professionals in management, psychology, engineering, and other fields, the book presents an overview of the research approach of naturalistic decision making and expands our knowledge of the strengths people bring to difficult tasks.
Today's business leaders have to face the facts—you can't separate leadership from decision making. The importance of making decisions, no matter how big or small, cannot be overstated. Decision Making For Dummies is a candid resource that helps leaders understand the impact of their choices, not only on business, but also on their credibility and reputation. Designed for managers, business owners, and anyone else who makes tough decisions on a daily basis, this guide helps you figure out if the decisions you're making are the right ones.
In addition to helping you explore how to evaluate your choices, Decision Making For Dummies covers ways to receive support for decision making, delves into various decision-making styles, reviews the importance of sifting through data and information, and includes information on ways to engage others and make decisions collectively. Being in charge can be challenging, but with this guide, you don't have to go it alone.
Crucial decisions need to be made every day in the business world, so there's no time to waste. Make Decision Making For Dummies your primary resource for learning to choose your actions wisely and confidently.
Since the beginning of human history, people have made decisions in groups—first in families and villages, and now as part of companies, governments, school boards, religious organizations, or any one of countless other groups. And having more than one person to help decide is good because the group benefits from the collective knowledge of all of its members, and this results in better decisions. Right?
Back to reality. We’ve all been involved in group decisions—and they’re hard. And they often turn out badly. Why? Many blame bad decisions on “groupthink” without a clear idea of what that term really means.
Now, Nudge coauthor Cass Sunstein and leading decision-making scholar Reid Hastie shed light on the specifics of why and how group decisions go wrong—and offer tactics and lessons to help leaders avoid the pitfalls and reach better outcomes. In the first part of the book, they explain in clear and fascinating detail the distinct problems groups run into:
In the second part of the book, the authors turn to straightforward methods and advice for making groups smarter. These approaches include silencing the leader so that the views of other group members can surface, rethinking rewards and incentives to encourage people to reveal their own knowledge, thoughtfully assigning roles that are aligned with people’s unique strengths, and more.
With examples from a broad range of organizations—from Google to the CIA—and written in an engaging and witty style, Wiser will not only enlighten you; it will help your team and your organization make better decisions—decisions that lead to greater success.
The decisions we make every day – frequently automatic and incredibly fast – impact every area of our lives. The Little Black Book of Decision Making delves into the cognition behind decision making, guiding you through the different ways your mind approaches various scenarios. You'll learn to notice that decision making is a matter of balance between your rational side and your intuition – the trick is in honing your intuition to steer you down the right path.
Pure reasoning cannot provide all of the answers, and relying solely on intuition could prove catastrophic in business. There must be a balance between the two, and the proportions may change with each situation. This book helps you quickly pinpoint the right mix of logic and 'gut feeling,' and use it to find the best possible solution.
Decision making is the primary difference between organisations that lead and those that struggle. The Little Black Book of Decision Making helps you uncover errors in thinking before they become errors in judgement.
Despite the best of intentions, humans are notoriously bad—that is, irrational—when it comes to making decisions and assessing risks and tradeoffs. Psychologists and neuroscientists refer to these distinctly human foibles, biases, and thinking traps as “cognitive errors.” Cognitive errors are systematic deviances from rationality, from optimized, logical, rational thinking and behavior. We make these errors all the time, in all sorts of situations, for problems big and small: whether to choose the apple or the cupcake; whether to keep retirement funds in the stock market when the Dow tanks, or whether to take the advice of a friend over a stranger.
The “behavioral turn” in neuroscience and economics in the past twenty years has increased our understanding of how we think and how we make decisions. It shows how systematic errors mar our thinking and under which conditions our thought processes work best and worst. Evolutionary psychology delivers convincing theories about why our thinking is, in fact, marred. The neurosciences can pinpoint with increasing precision what exactly happens when we think clearly and when we don’t.
Drawing on this wide body of research, The Art of Thinking Clearly is an entertaining presentation of these known systematic thinking errors--offering guidance and insight into everything why you shouldn’t accept a free drink to why you SHOULD walk out of a movie you don’t like it to why it’s so hard to predict the future to why shouldn’t watch the news. The book is organized into 100 short chapters, each covering a single cognitive error, bias, or heuristic. Examples of these concepts include: Reciprocity, Confirmation Bias, The It-Gets-Better-Before-It-Gets-Worse Trap, and the Man-With-A-Hammer Tendency. In engaging prose and with real-world examples and anecdotes, The Art of Thinking Clearly helps solve the puzzle of human reasoning.
Edited by John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org ("The world's smartest website"—The Guardian), Thinking presents original ideas by today's leading psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers who are radically expanding our understanding of human thought.Contributors include:
Now, with Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and teach us all to think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally—to think, that is, like a Freak.
Levitt and Dubner offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems, whether your interest lies in minor lifehacks or major global reforms. As always, no topic is off-limits. They range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain. Along the way, you’ll learn the secrets of a Japanese hot-dog-eating champion, the reason an Australian doctor swallowed a batch of dangerous bacteria, and why Nigerian e-mail scammers make a point of saying they’re from Nigeria.
Some of the steps toward thinking like a Freak:
Levitt and Dubner plainly see the world like no one else. Now you can too. Never before have such iconoclastic thinkers been so revealing—and so much fun to read.
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Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned:
Ranging widely through the annals of business and government, Peter Drucker demonstrates the distinctive skill of the executive and offers fresh insights into old and seemingly obvious business situations.
Few things are as valuable in business, and in life, as the ability to make good decisions. Can you imagine how much more rewarding your life and your business would be if every decision you made were the best it could be? Decision Quality empowers you to make the best possible choice and get more of what you truly want from every decision.
Dr. Carl Spetzler is a leader in the field of decision science and has worked with organizations across industries to improve their decision-making capabilities. He and his co-authors, all experienced consultants and educators in this field, show you how to frame a problem or opportunity, create a set of attractive alternatives, identify relevant uncertain information, clarify the values that are important in the decision, apply tools of analysis, and develop buy-in among stakeholders. Their straightforward approach is elegantly simple, yet practical and powerful. It can be applied to all types of decisions.
Our business and our personal lives are marked by a stream of decisions. Some are small. Some are large. Some are life-altering or strategic. How well we make those decisions truly matters. This book gives you a framework and thinking tools that will help you to improve the odds of getting more of what you value from every choice. You will learn:
Many people are satisfied with 'good enough' when making important decisions. This book provides a method that will take you and your co-workers beyond 'good enough' to true Decision Quality.
Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills is the comprehensive guide to training your brain to do more for you. Written by a critical thinking trainer and coach, the book presents a pragmatic set of tools to apply critical thinking techniques to everyday business issues. Think Smarter is filled with real world examples that demonstrate how the tools work in action, in addition to dozens of practice exercises applicable across industries and functions, Think Smarter is a versatile resource for individuals, managers, students, and corporate training programs.
Thinking is the foundation of everything you do, but we rely largely on automatic thinking to process information, often resulting in misunderstandings and errors. Shifting over to critical thinking means thinking purposefully using a framework and toolset, enabling thought processes that lead to better decisions, faster problem solving, and creative innovation. Think Smarter provides clear, actionable steps toward improving your critical thinking skills, plus exercises that clarify complex concepts by putting theory into practice. Features include:
Learn what questions to ask, how to uncover the real problem to solve, and mistakes to avoid. Recognize assumptions your can rely on versus those without merit, and train your brain to tick through your mental toolbox to arrive at more innovative solutions. Critical thinking is the top skill on the wish list in the business world, and sharpening your ability can have profound affects throughout all facets of life. Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills provides a roadmap to more effective and productive thought.
If you read nothing else on decision making, read these 10 articles. We’ve combed through hundreds of articles in the Harvard Business Review archive and selected the most important ones to help you and your organization make better choices and avoid common traps.
Leading experts such as Ram Charan, Michael Mankins, and Thomas Davenport provide the insights and advice you need to: