Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

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Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A look at how we make decisions that reads like a good story. Even if you think you have the problem cracked this could well open up some new areas of thinking. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: February 2014
Publisher: Random House Business
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1847940865

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I don't have a problem with making decisions, probably because I've always tended to the view that it's better to make a decision and get on with life than haver and waste time in limbo. With a few notable exceptions it's served me well, but when Decisive appeared on my desk it struck me that there could be advantages to improving the quality of the decisions too. The Heath brothers have a good history of collaborating on such subjects and delivering books which open the mind.

The Heaths introduce us to the four enemies of good decision making, neatly summed up in a mnemonic: WRAP. The first point is that we should Widen our options and we should worry whenever a decision is expressed as whether or not to... There are almost always more than two possibilities and we're given some clever ways of bringing these options to the fore. Next we have to Reality-test our assumptions. Too often we believe that a choice will be right for us but we're taken through ways in which we can test-drive the end result before we commit ourselves. Thinking of a career change? Offer your services for free in the industry for a period of time and see if the job is going to live up to expectations. That's just one of the many ways in which we can look into the future.

It's also necessary to Attain distance before deciding. (OK - that A might be just a little bit contrived...) Too often we make decisions in the heat of the moment which would be better looked at in the cold light of day. There are some good hints as to how you can do this, including being true to your core priorities. The final part is Prepare to be wrong. Surprisingly this doesn't just cover having got it wrong in a bad way but also having underestimated the extent of your success. I found the information here on setting a tripwire to tell you when something is going wrong particularly useful.

If this sounds rather dry and dull then I'm not telling the story anywhere near as well as the Heath brothers. They have the knack (and background) which enables them to come up with an anecdote which illustrates the point neatly - and these stories often involve household names. Major companies have made bad decisions about acquisitions and we'll see why they did what they did - and what they should have done. It's very, very readable and the next time you have a decision to make - personal or business - you should be much better equipped to get it right.

The rock group Van Halen had a reputation for being difficult and for riotous living. One of their 'demands' was that in their dressing room there should be a bowl of M&Ms with all the brown ones removed and if this wasn't correct all hell could be let loose. I'd heard the story before and written them off as divas. Read this book and you'll discover that it was a genius part of the decision-making process designed to ensure the band's safety. Yes. Seriously.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy Talk Lean: Shorter Meetings. Quicker Results. Better Relations by Alan H Palmer and The Reality Test: Still Relying on Strategy? by Robert Rowland Smith.

Buy Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath at Amazon.com.


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