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Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work
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Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work [Format Kindle]

Chip Heath , Dan Heath

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“A leader's most important job is to make good decisions, which—minus perfect knowledge of the future—is tough to do consistently…The Heath brothers explain how to navigate the land mines laid by our irrational brains and improve our chances of good outcomes.” -Inc.

Présentation de l'éditeur

Just making a decision can be hard enough, but how do you begin to judge whether it's the right one? Chip and Dan Heath, authors of #1 New York Times best-seller Switch, show you how to overcome your brain's natural shortcomings.

In Decisive, Chip and Dan Heath draw on decades of psychological research to explain why we so often get it very badly wrong - why our supposedly rational brains are frequently tripped up by powerful biases and wishful thinking. At the same time they demonstrate how relatively easy it is to avoid the pitfalls and find the best answers, offering four simple principles that we can all learn and follow. In the process, they show why it is that experts frequently make mistakes. They demonstrate the perils of getting trapped in a narrow decision frame. And they explore people's tendency to be over-confident about how their choices will unfold.

Drawing on case studies as diverse as the downfall of Kodak and the inspiring account of a cancer survivor, they offer both a fascinating tour through the workings of our minds and an invaluable guide to making smarter decisions.

Winner in the Practical Manager category of the CMI Management Book of the Year awards 2014.

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115 internautes sur 124 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Helpful Guide to Making Better Decisions 26 mars 2013
Par Mike Mertens - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I highly recommend Decisive as a valuable aid to making more objective decisions. The Heath Brothers do a great job laying out a better and more memorable process for making decisions while illustrating the principles with a wide variety of examples. They begin by discussing how the normal decision making process proceeds in 4 steps, each of which has a "villain" that can negatively impact it. To quote from their introduction:
* You encounter a choice. But narrow framing makes you miss options.
* You analyze your options. But the confirmation bias leads you to gather self-serving information.
* You make a choice. But short-term emotion will often tempt you to make the wrong one.
* Then you live with it. But you'll often be overconfident about how the future will unfold

They spend the remainder of the book detailing a process to make better decisions - the WRAP process:
* Widen your options
* Reality Test Your Assumptions
* Attain Some Distance
* Prepare to Be Wrong

Each part of the process has several powerful ideas that are worth chewing on and implementing in the context of one's life. I have chosen a few of the ideas to give you a flavor of what is in store:

For widening your options, it is important to avoid a narrow frame. In order to make sure you challenge yourself to do this, they propose an idea called the Vanishing Options Test - what would you do if the current alternatives disappeared? Here is a key quote: "When people imagine that they cannot have an option, they are forced to move their mental spotlight elsewhere - really move it - often for the first time in a long while."
For Reality testing your assumptions. They have a chapter on "consider the opposite" - and there is an approach from Roger Martin that recommends for each option you are looking at, ask yourself "What would have to be true for this option to be the right answer?" This is an especially powerful concept in a business context where sides may be talking past each other - this helps reset the context to analyzing the options rather than arguing past each other.
In attaining some distance, they cover a simple but powerful question that is really helpful for a personal decision (though it applies in business contexts as well). The question is: "What would I tell my best friend to do in this situation?"
For preparing to be wrong, they cover the idea of a tripwire - something to make us come back and revisit the decision. This helps in making sure that past decisions get revisited periodically. This is especially important in reminding us that we have a choice in our actions and we are free to revisit those decisions we made in the past to make sure they are still meeting our needs. I find this important for reminding myself to remain actively engaged rather than passively falling into the status quo.

There are many other powerful techniques and ideas spread throughout the book. Some of my favorites are: prevention versus promotion focus, zoom out/zoom in, ooching, and pre-mortems. I highly recommend purchasing the book and integrating its concepts into your life in order to make better decisions.

Here are a few related thoughts and items that others may find interesting:

For reality testing your assumptions, see Richard Feynman's "Cargo Cult Science" article (freely available on the internet)
I have found the book Making Great Decisions in Business and Life by David Henderson and Charles L Hooper to be helpful as well. An interesting course on decision making is also made available by the Teaching Company (the course is taught by Michael Roberto who is mentioned in the book in the section on Recommendations for Further Reading)
For a powerful article on choices and values, see David Kelley's article "I Don't Have To" (also available freely on the internet)
The March 2013 Harvard Business Review has an article by Heidi Grant Halvorson and E. Tory Higgins related to prevention and promotion mindsets

Please note that this review is based on an advance copy (Uncorrected Proof) of the book that the authors made available via their website (a "secret" buried in a David Lee Roth story about tripwires). I enjoyed the book so much that I pre-ordered the hardcover right after finishing the advanced copy
94 internautes sur 103 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good ideas delivered in a heavy, indirect and lengthy discussion. 4 avril 2013
Par Mark P. McDonald - Publié sur
Chip and Dan Heath are known for writing insightful and approachable books like Switch. Their new book, Decisive does not follow this pattern. That simple statement required me to make a decision about this review. Writing a less than stellar review is often a challenge eliciting negative feedback when sharing reasons why something did not live up to your expectations or was worth the time to read.

We all make decisions and the top of making better decisions should have been a slam-dunk. While Decisive does deliver, particularly in the first few chapters, overall the messages in this book get lost. The book is too long, heavy and complex to be helpful, particularly covering a subject already treated by others.

The core messages of the book are sound and helpful. The book covers recognizes the challenges we face in making decisions:

> Forcing an either/or decision when its not needed
> Confirmation bias, when we seek and see only the data that supports our views
> Removing emotion from the decision making process
> Overconfidence in decision making that limits our ability to consider alternative

The answers to these challenges are a pop acronym WRAP that describes their four-step process to making better decisions.

> Widen your options
> Reality test your assumptions
> Attain distance before deciding
> Prepare to be wrong

These are commonsense and helpful ideas. They are the basis for an easy to understand, actionable set of tools, you are right. This is a case where the structure and prose gets in the way as the book uses 11 chapters to cover each letter of WRAP. Each chapter goes through a review of other people's books, psychology studies and stories around a particular sub-aspect of each letter. Much of the content of these chapters will be familiar to readers of other books about decision-making.

In my opinion this book should have been 200 pages not 300. Focus would give the read more value by delivering less prose. The decision to deliver less would have meant so much more.

The best part of this book is the first few chapters, those related to widening your options. These chapters reflect the spirit of Chip and Dan Heath's earlier books. The logic is clearer, the actions more practical, and the explanations more accessible. After those first few chapters, the prose grows in heavier, the stories while interesting become a little confusing in large part because of their number and the book becomes less readable or interesting. It seems like the authors fell into the Gladwell trap and tried to write a Malcolm Gladwell book, which was probably a poor decision.


> Focusing on decision-making is an important and timely topic and one that we all need to keep in mind.

> The book concentrates on personal decision-making, the ones we make as individuals and consumers more than the ones we make as business leaders and citizens. Since we make personal decisions all the time it makes it easy to test and apply the ideas right away.


> The book is rather generic to the sense that many of the ideas are obvious and much of this ground has already been covered by the likes of Dan Ariely, Johan Lehrer and Daniel Pink. Chip and Dan Heath are latecomers to the subject area and do more to repeat and repackage rather than introduce new ideas.

> The story examples, while helpful, bog the book down; require you to wade through what the authors want you to read rather than enabling you to jump ahead to the information you want.

> The structure of the chapters and numbered subsections with chapters are not particularly helpful and chop up the book. If the authors were trying to make the book more like reading a blog, then the missed as the subsections are too long and indirect.

Overall, recommended if you have the time and have not read any other books on decision making. In that case, this content will be new and helpful. If you have already read other decision related books, then I might put this one lower on the priority list.
73 internautes sur 81 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Heath Brothers Hit Another Home Run 27 mars 2013
Par Aaron Johnson - Publié sur
Here are 3 aspects I've appreciated about Decisive

Readability: No one writes non-fiction business books like these guys. In parts, Decisive is hard to put down. If you've read Made to Stick, you'll see the authors practicing what they preach by applying their SUCCES principles to the format of this book (if you haven't read it, then get it).

Gives You Language: Three of us in our department at work got a copy of Decisive and it comes up in conversation everyday. The Heath brothers have given us language like: "ooching", "setting tripwires", "widen our options,"narrow framing, and "What would have to be true for this to be the best option?" This is kind of language has the power to shape the culture of an organization.

Researched: I love the footnotes! Decisive is full of credible examples, and you can tell that the authors and their research team put in hundreds of hours exploring the topic of decision making. The result is a litany of real-life examples and the results of research studies put into layman's terms.
73 internautes sur 87 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Enrich your decision-making toolkit 26 mars 2013
Par Amy Tiemann - Publié sur
The Heath brothers' previous books Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die and Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard are mainstays on my book shelf, and now "Decisive" joins them as a worthy companion. It is pretty shocking to think how little education most of us get on the art of how to make decisions. This book arrived at a very opportune time for me, as it immediately helped think about two major life decisions in new ways. First, my family was thinking of buying a new house, one of a family's biggest purchases. When my husband and I were touring the home, the real estate agent said, "make a list of pros and cons as you think it over." As she said that, I thought how inadequate that seemed as a decision-making strategy. Later that day, I cracked open "Decisive" and the Heaths immediately offered novel alternatives to the "pros and cons list." These solid, research-tested ideas laid out in their "WRAP process" helped me realize that the costs of moving, both financial and opportunity costs of time, were too great, and we should learn to love our current home. Second, I am thinking about applying for a new job in a new field, and the advice to "ooch," to take a small step and experiment and try out the job (by shadowing someone who is already in the role), was right on target. Take a series of small steps before you leap into a major life change.

As "Decisive" can help us make decisions more wisely and thoughtfully, it proves its worth over and over again. For me, this book was literally worth its weight in gold as it helped me save the expense of a major move! Time will tell what happens with the new job, but I will definitely face it better prepared, thanks to "Decisive." This is another hit by Chip and Dan Heath, and serves as a great resource for individuals, organizations, and would be an engaging college textbook, too.
111 internautes sur 143 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 I hope there's no fourth book (like this)> 4 avril 2013
Par Sean D'souza - Publié sur
Yes, Dan and Chip would want to read this.

Because it provides the counter-view...
Their first book was truly a wonderful book. The second got more complex. This one goes round in circles forever. I would recommend you read this book and judge for yourself, but I found it terrible. I thought it was just me, but speaking with others in my group, the decision was unanimous.

Are there nuggets in the book? I'm sure there are. But I had to abandon the book despite buying the audio version as well, at a much higher price. I even bought it sight unseen (without any reviews and in advance).
I hope Dan and Chip take this well. I recommend "Made to Stick" as required reading for all our clients. But this one, I'd recommend they pass.

I'm more than disappointed. And I do hope that Dan and Chip listen to this lone dissenting voice and find out how they can make their books a lot better.

I wrote the post above and didn't elaborate. Here's the long version.

So why was the book so hard to read?
1) It doesn't understand isolation.
2) It doesn't use stories and examples as a binding device.
3) It keeps hemming and hawing (using references to Gary Klein etc).

1) Why Isolation Matters
If you read a very management-driven book like "Good to Great" by Jim Collins, it may kinda put you to sleep, but surprisingly it doesn't. And this is because of the way Jim managed to isolate the chapters. So if you read about "the Hedgehog Principle", it's different from "Level 5 Leaders" which is different from the other concepts. Even though Jim jumps several topics (which could be books in themselves) he stays and drives home the point long enough for you to understand the importance of the point.

This is the concept of isolation.
This is what a writer has to learn to do. That in any book, report, article etc. the chances are that you're not going to run out of information. Rather, the opposite occurs. You know too much. And you get lost in the information, and it's your job to find your way out of the 'information spaghetti'. But the Heath Brothers never do.

After going through chapters in their new book, Decisive, it's a struggle to isolate facts that will help me make a better decision. And that's not on. A book is probably the best place to create isolation, because it has the natural boundary of chapters. So your chapter should signal what you want to talk about and then it should connect to the next chapter.

A book should move from chapter to chapter without too much of a problem. That's because a topic in any chapter goes through a systematic, what, how, why, examples, stories, objections etc. and then finally connects to the next chapter. Without that comprehensive skeleton or outline, you're just jamming in the facts. And facts, impressive as they are, tire the mind.

Articles can have the same problem
You might think an article is easier to write, but it's not. Again, like a book, your article can bloat in a matter of minutes, unless you keep to a very clear outline. And the way to contain your article is to have a solid outline. You as a writer need to know this. But you also need to know that facts can be boring after a while. Which is why stories and examples have to keep being brought back time after time.

Which takes us to the Heath Brothers' second mistake.

2) The stories need to bind the concept together
The stories and examples are what help you remember the lesson. If you were to listen to an audio book or read a book for the second time, you'll find something very interesting. You'll find that you almost want to skip over the stories. Why? Because once the story rolls a bit, you know what's coming next. It's a bit like the story your grandma told you everytime you visited. In a few minutes, you knew what was coming.

So stories are boring the second time around, so why have them?
Because they're amazing the first time you learn something. The story helps you encapsulate the information and make sense of it. When you remember the story, you tend to remember the rest of the information.

Stories also help relax your brain
The brain loves a great story, and facts tire the brain. The moment you start telling a story, the brain calms down and is able to pick all the detail. So it's a great way to just relax the reader.

The story binds the concepts together--and guess what? The book by the Heath Brothers have stories but they don't help to bind the facts. Instead they keep coming like a series of waves, relentless. I can remember some stories, like the Van Halen "M&M" story, but not many others. This dooms a book, because now you're now asking the reader to slog through stories and case-studies. The very thing that should be a friend to the reader, now becomes an onslaught.

Which would be fine if the facts went somewhere. And that's the third problem.

3) They keep hemming and hawing

I listened to the book on audio, and almost about an hour into the audio, the book still seemed to suggest that we're getting somewhere. It kept saying, "This book is about..."

Oh come on!

I need to know what this book is about in the first 5-10 minutes. Not way down the line, with constant reminders what the book is supposedly about. And then they keep suggesting that their system is not THE system, which is fair enough, but be the experts. I'm counting on you to be the experts. Show some spine!

But they never do.
Well, not until the point I've reached at least. They keep going back to some study on decision making, quoting this person and that, but never really telling me what to do.

As I was listening to the book, my mind kept wandering away
And I thought it was me. I thought I was over-occupied. I thought the reader (of the book) was not so good. Until I spoke to my wife too. She struggled he book too. I spoke to several of my clients. So it wasn't me. It was a very difficult book and I had to learn to trust my judgment better.

And so the book suffers on many fronts, but in the sprit of isolation, let's summarize:
1) Not enough isolation.
2) Not enough story telling and analogies
3) Hemming and hawing, never leading me with confidence.

I have to say I'm writing this review with a heavy heart.
Read it and judge for yourself.
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