The Impulse Factor: Why Some Of Us Play It Safe and Others Risk It All by Nick Tasler

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The Impulse Factor: Why Some Of Us Play It Safe and Others Risk It All by Nick Tasler

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Buy The Impulse Factor: Why Some Of Us Play It Safe and Others Risk It All by Nick Tasler at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Popular Science
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Trish Simpson-Davis
Reviewed by Trish Simpson-Davis
Summary: A guide to decision-making in management for risk takers and the more cautious. The first half interested me most.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 272 Date: January 2009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 978-1847374226

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Nick Tasler works for TalentSmart®, an American company which provides research, testing and training for the business world. The company's core business promotes Emotional Intelligence, so whether impulsivity in decision-making is good or bad is an interesting sideline. The American edition has already won a Best Career Book of 2008 award, so my perception is that up-and-coming managers may find it useful in their personal development portfolio. A more general readership may find it less riveting.

Ever since reading about toxic parents – as a parent, that is – I've taken the view that development books should follow a no-harm principle, that is, that they leave nobody feeling the worse for their theories. Nick Tasler is supportive both of the 25% impulsive risk takers, who he labels as 'potential seekers' and the majority 'risk managers' who take a more cautious view of life. I liked this empowering approval. Decisiveness and risk-taking may seem more glamorous and inviting than cautious conservatism to a bright young thing. But as he warns, risk-takers can soar as the highest stars in the entrepreneurial sky, or fall right out of it. Methodical, patient and well-organized risk managers are equally vital to the success of a business venture, and he devotes equal care to their decision-making needs.

Tasler's thesis is that 'seekers' may have a mutation of the dopamine receptor gene D4, known as the 'novelty-seeking' gene. He sets out his argument in the first part of the book and substantiates by reference to several psychological experiments, some recent. In an evolutionary context, impulsive searchers lived dangerously and advanced civilization, while the majority of folk survived and consolidated by cautious living. These distinctions can be seen today in such diverse areas as investments, elections, buying and selling football players, inventing Barbie dolls and the work ethic of Bill Gates. People diagnosed with ADHD are twice as likely to have the gene mutation. The author distinguishes between functional and dysfunctional impulsivity, suggesting that decisions should at least be 'directionally correct', however quickly they are made. (I thought that the self-actualizing tendency ensured this happened?) This section fair clips along, with plenty of entertaining case studies to provide human interest.

An on-line test, complete with electronic feedback, then determines on which side of the risk fence the reader sits.

The second part of the book examines how people in the two groups can balance their complementary strengths in the workplace. This section didn't seem overly innovative to me, in the sense that action research and evidence-based practice are already well-recognized in the health services and education. I felt that the last section didn't pack the same punch as the earlier part, mainly because it devolved into Tasler's management philosophy rather than grasping the nettle. I suspect that the science of decision-making is currently too incomplete and the variables too complex to do anything else. Management, of course, needs answers right now, preferably without the stingers.

The Bookbag would like to thank Simon and Schuster for sending this book.

At the Bookbag, we highly enjoyed Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious by Gerd Gigerenzer. Malcolm Gladwell's Blink also has an interesting take on impulsive decisions, for a more general readership.

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Buy The Impulse Factor: Why Some Of Us Play It Safe and Others Risk It All by Nick Tasler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Impulse Factor: Why Some Of Us Play It Safe and Others Risk It All by Nick Tasler at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Impulse Factor: Why Some Of Us Play It Safe and Others Risk It All by Nick Tasler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Impulse Factor: Why Some Of Us Play It Safe and Others Risk It All by Nick Tasler at Amazon.com.

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