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Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions [Anglais] [Broché]

John S. Hammond , Ralph L. Keeney , Howard Raiffa
3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
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Description de l'ouvrage

5 mars 2002
Where should I live?
Is it time to switch careers?
What is the best course of action for me?

Decisions shape our experiences, from choosing which job offer to accept, to buying the right car, to selecting a good accountant. How do we know which choice is the smart one? How can we be consistent and confident in our decisions? In this book from the three leading authorities on decision-making, readers learn how to approach all types of decisions with a simple set of skills developed by professors from Harvard, MIT, and the University of Southern California.

Combining solid research with common sense and practical experience, this user-friendly guide shows readers how to assess deep-seated objectives, create a comprehensive set of alternatives, determine likely consequences, make tradeoffs, and grapple with uncertainty. Not only will readers learn how to make decisions, they will learn how to make the smartest decisions. For anyone caught at a confusing crossroad–whether you’re choosing between mutual funds or deciding where to retire–the Smart Choices program will improve your decision-making abilities immediately, and make your life more rewarding and fulfilling.

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Descriptions du produit


Chapter 1 Making Smart Choices

Our decisions shape our lives. Made consciously or unconsciously, with good or bad consequences, they represent the fundamental tool we use in facing the opportunities, the challenges, and the uncertainties of life.

• Should I go to college? If so, where? To study what?
• What career should I pursue? What job should I take?
• Should I get married now, or wait? Should I have children? If so, when and how many?
• Where should I live? Should I trade up to a larger house? What can I contribute to my community?
• Which job candidate should I hire? What marketing strategies should I recommend for my company?
• Since I feel unfulfilled, should I change jobs? Go back to school? Move?
• How should I invest my savings? When should I retire? To do what? Where?

Such questions mark the progress of our lives and our careers, and the way we answer them determines, to a large extent, our place in society and in the world. Our success in all the roles we play--student, worker, boss, citizen, spouse, parent, individual--turns on the decisions we make.

Making Decisions is a Fundamental Life Skill

Some Decisions will be fairly obvious--"no-brainers." Your bank account is low, but you have a two-week vacation coming up and you want to get away to someplace warm to relax with your family. Will you accept your in-laws' offer of free use of their Florida beachfront condo? Sure. You like your employer and feel ready to move forward in your careers. Will you step in for your boss for three weeks while she attends a professional development course? Of course.

But the no-brainers are the exceptions. Most of the important decisions you'll face in life are tough and complex, with no easy or obvious solutions. And they probably won't affect you alone. They'll affect your family, your friends, your coworkers and many others known and unknown. Making good decisions is thus one of the most important determinants of how well you meet your responsibilities and achieve your personal and professional goals. In short, the ability to make smart choices is a fundamental life skill.

Most of us, however, dread making hard decisions. By definition, tough choices have high stakes and serious consequences; they involve numerous and complex considerations; and they expose us to the judgments of others. The need to make a difficult decision puts us at risk of anxiety, confusion, doubt, error, regret, embarrassment, loss. No wonder we find it har to settle down and choose. In living through a major decision, we suffer periods of alternating self-doubt and overconfidence, of procrastination, of wheel-spinning and flip-flopping, of frustration, even of desperation. Our discomfort often leads us to make decisions too quickly, or too slowly, or too arbitrarily. We flip a coin, toss a dart, let someone else--or time--decide. The result: a mediocre choice, dependent on luck for success. It's only afterwards that we realize we could have made a smarter choice. And by then it's too late.

You Can Learn to Make Better Decisions

Why do we have such trouble? It's simple: we don't know how to make decisions well. Despite the importance of decision making to our lives, few of us ever receive any training in it. So we are left to learn from experience. But experience is a costly, inefficient teacher that teaches us bad habits along with good ones. Because decision situations vary so markedly, the experience of making one important decision often seems of little use when facing the next. How is deciding what job to take or what house to buy similar to deciding what school to send your children to, what medical treatment to pursue for a serious illness, or what balance to strike among cost, aesthetics, and function in planning a new office park?

The connection among the decisions you make lies not in what you're deciding, but in how you decide. The only way to really raise your odds of making a good decision is to learn to use a good decision-making process--one that gets you to the best solution with a minimal loss of time, energy, money, and composure.

An effective decision-making process fulfills these six criteria:

• It focuses on what's important.
• It is logical and consistent.
• It acknowledges both subjective and objective factors and blends analytical with intuitive thinking.
• It requires only as much information and analysis as is necessary to resolve a particular dilemma.
• It encourages and guides the gathering of relevant information and informed opinion.
• It is straightforward, reliable, easy to use, and flexible.

A decision-making approach that addresses these criteria can be practiced on decisions major and minor--what movie to see, what car to buy, what vacation to take, what investment to make, what department head to hire, what medical treatment to pursue. And the more you use such an approach, the more efficient and effective it will become. As you grow more skilled and your confidence grows, making decisions will become second nature to you. In fact, you may find your friends and associates asking you for help and advice with their tough choices!

Use the PrOACT Approach to Make Smart Choices

This book provides you with a straightforward, proven approach for making decisions. It does not tell you what to decide, but it does show you how. Our approach meets the six criteria listed above. It helps you to see both the tangible and the intangible aspects of your decision situation more clearly and to translate all pertinent facts, feelings, opinions, beliefs, and advice into the best possible choice. Highly flexible, it is applicable to business and professional decisions, to personal decisions, to family decisions--any decision you need to make.

One thing the method won't do is make hard decisions easy. That's impossible. Hard decisions are hard because they're complex, and no one can make that complexity disappear. But you can manage complexity sensibly. How? Just like you'd climb up a mountain: one step at a time.

Our approach takes one step at a time. We have found that even the most complex decision can be analyzed and resolved by considering a set of eight elements. The first five--Problem, Objective, Alternatives, Consequences, Tradeoffs--constitute the core of our approach and are applicable to virtually any decision. The acronym for these--PrOACT--serves as a reminder that the best approach to decision situations is a proactive one. The worst thing you can do is wait until a decision is forced on you--or made for you.

The Eight Elements of Smart Choices

Risk Tolerance
Linked Decisions

The three remaining elements--uncertainty, risk tolerance, and linked decisions--help clarify decisions in volatile or evolving environments. Some decisions won't involve these elements, but many of your most important decisions will.

The essence of the PrOACT approach is to divide and conquer. To resolve a complex decision situation, you break it into these elements and think systematically about each one, focusing on those that are key to your particular situation. Then you reassemble your thoughts and analysis into the smart choice. So, although our method may not make a hard decision easy, it will certainly make it easier.

Revue de presse

"In Smart Choices, John Hammond, Ralph Keeney, and Howard Raiffa tell us in plain language how to make optimal decisions in our everyday lives. They combine one hundred collective years of experience in an exceptional resource that takes the reader step-by-step through problem formulation and final decision." –Jerome P. Kassirer, editor-in-chief, New England Journal of Medicine

"Throughout Smart Choices, Hammond, Keeney, and Raiffa provide valuable insight and guidance on the inevitable and ongoing negotiation with yourself when facing a difficult decision. By following their effective, systematic process, anyone can make important personal or business decisions with greater clarity, confidence, and efficiency." –Stephen J. Hemsley, former head of Strategy, Technology, and Operating Professional Service Lines, Arthur Andersen

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 256 pages
  • Editeur : Crown Business; Édition : Reprint (5 mars 2002)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0767908864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767908863
  • Dimensions du produit: 19,3 x 14,2 x 1,4 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 30.315 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Dans ce livre (En savoir plus)
Première phrase
OUR DECISIONS SHAPE OUR LIVES. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent 20 juillet 2011
Bien entendu, on ne présente plus les auteurs.
Ce bouquin est une excellente intro à l'analyse de la Décision. Il est présenté comme un "how to", avec des exemples plutôt tirés de la vie quotidienne. Pour un usage dans l'eneignement, cela le rend moins crédible, mais cela le rend aussi très accessible.

Recommandé, bien sûr.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Bof 8 juin 2011
Par Hibou92
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
En gros le "truc" c'est :
1) Faire des listes de toutes les possibilités (ne pas en oublier ou en rejeter sans examen)
2) Ne pas se tromper sur ses "vrais" objectifs.
3) Imaginez des solutions originales (penser "en dehors des cadres").
4) Faire des petits calculs (tableau pondérés pour évaluer le pour et le contre).
Si jamais vous êtes brouillon et impulsif, ce livre peut vous servir.
Sinon ....
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Ideas 12 avril 2011
Par Guillaume
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
There is one thing I really liked in this book : It gives Ideas of little things we can change to enhance our life in many situations.
Thank you.
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2.0 étoiles sur 5 Feeling indecisive? Disappointed 30 avril 2013
Par Jeremie
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The title of the book says it all.
You don't know how to make decisions, then go get it. Otherwise save your time for another one.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.5 étoiles sur 5  82 commentaires
70 internautes sur 76 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Put this one at the top of your reading list 22 février 1999
Par - Publié sur
I had the pleasure of reading this book last year as assigned material in a graduate business course taught by Ralph Keeney. My degree is in information systems management and, frankly, I took Managerial Decision Analysis only because I needed 3 elective credits to graduate. In retrospect, however, the course was among the most beneficial to me and Smart Choices was certainly the most relevant book I read in graduate school. I say it was the most relevant because it demonstrates how to define problems and make decisions not simply as a business leader, but as an individual. The PROACT approach is a valuable tool for making formal decisions like "Which career path should I choose?" or "Which software package should I recommend to my client?" But the mentality that the approach engenders is pervasive. You will find yourself unwittingly applying elements of it to questions like "How should I spend time with my kids this weekend?" or "What is the best Valentine's Day gift for my wife?" The greatest benefit to me has been the piece of mind that comes with knowing that I don't just make better decisions -- I am now a better decision maker.
40 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent summary of a difficult subject 1 juillet 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
I have read many books on decision analysis - however, the 3 authors managed to condense the most relevant points in one book, without academic speak. The famous Kahnmann & Tversky's Heuristics and Biases are nicely summarised in the final chapter. The case studies are easy to relate to. Definitely a professional book written for the layman. No need for a PhD to understand this!
33 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A useful guide for systematic decision-making 29 janvier 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur
This is an excellent book. The title may make this appear to be one of the too-numerous mass-market books which claim to offer advice on business and personal decision-making but actually offer lots of specific admonitions which are based on values which the reader may not share (example: anything by Steven Covey). This book, however, doesn't try to sell you any of the the authors' values; instead it teaches you an effective process that you can use to analyze any decision-making situation and make the choices which are most effective for achieving your objectives, whatever they may be. The book treats the subject in the same systematic way that it might be treated in an academic decision theory text, only it is written in plain language which can be read quickly and easily comprehended by the general reader. It finishes with a summary outline (they call it a "roadmap") which is a useful quick reference.
29 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Somewhat Good but not Great 30 septembre 2009
Par Sachmo - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The first 75 pages or so of this book are pretty boring. As someone else noted, immediately after reading them you wonder what it was you just read, because the writing feels very meaningless. The one message I took away from it was, carefully think about how you phrase a problem. True enough, but that is also kind of obvious.

One thing especially annoying about the book was that they role-played with a couple seeking to buy a new home because they were having a new baby. The problem as they describe is whether to renovate, buy a new home, if so which home, etc etc. The examples, although real in some aspects, do not go into enough depth. The case studies such as this one feel artificially canned to demonstrate a point. The case studies could have been a LOT better throughout the book, and would have made the book from an OK product to something really good.

Methods in this book, although systematic and useful, don't directly map to real life. They do however point you in the direction you need to go, which is to start writing things down in a clear coherent fashion (in terms of stating problems), and creating tables to visually see solutions to these problems compared against each other.

This book gets pretty good when it gets into the process of comparing alternatives. The ideas about putting solutions into tables, assigning numerical values to qualitative information, and then eliminating dominated alternatives is great. It clearly illustrates how to compare direct alternatives to each other, and there is very little room for screwing this up. Really good stuff, made the book worth reading.

After that however, I don't really buy into their risk analysis section. The assumptions behind the risk forecasting aren't clearly articulated and I'm not so sure that the future can be forecasted with percentages at ALL (as in a 40% chance that I win a lawsuit). I have a very high degree of skepticism to any numerical forecasting done in this fashion.

The linked decision section is not that great either.

In the end what makes this book really good is demonstrating how to compare direct alternatives - i.e. if you have a choice between 4 houses, or 3 jobs, or 6 car mechanics - this book will show you how to narrow it down to 1 choice in an extremely well thought out and articulated manner. I guess it makes the book worth reading, although much of the rest of it is boring.

My only criticism is that often times choices, (the choice of a job for example) will necessarily involve other decisions, such as what city to live in, what apartment or house to rent, that are tightly interwoven... Moving from top level decisions to bottom level decisions (like city first, then job, then apartment) is not always so clear cut. For example, the same decision tree could be (job first, city second, then apartment). Better case studies with a bit more complex problems would have helped a little bit in this regard.
51 internautes sur 61 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Best Simple Explanation of Good Decision-Making Processes 27 janvier 1999
Par Donald Mitchell - Publié sur
I am a corporate strategy consultant and an author of business books and articles. As a young man, I was taught all of the techniques described in this book in their most complex form. I loved the ideas, and have used them with great success for the last 30 years. Professor Raiffa is someone I admire greatly, as a result. I was delighted to find that this book addresses these complex tools in their simplest possible form, and applies the lessons to everyday living (especially the most important decisions that most people have to make). I immediately bought copies for everyone in my family as a way to help coach them in how to have more effective lives. You should do the same. I also suggest that you use the book as a model the next time that an important decision comes up that your whole family should participate in. This will not only help you develop better choices, but it will greatly improve the communications in your family about the decision. I strongly hope that the authors will write a similarly simple version for business people. I know a few hundred people to whom I would like to give such a book.
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