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How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

By Chip and Dan Heath
  • Read in 18 minutes
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  • Contains 12 key ideas
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Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath

The book identifies the main issues that typically stand in the way of decision making: a narrow view on our problems, short-term emotions, and overconfidence when it comes to predicting the future. It gives knowledgeable insight into how our decisions are formed and how to avoid making bad ones.

Key idea 1 of 12

What is in it for me: making decisions is hard, let’s learn how to do it right.

Making decisions is part of everything we do, and the better our choices, the better our lives, whether deciding between cappuccino or latte macchiato, or between two potential romantic partners.

In Decisive, brothers Chip and Dan Heath explain how in many situations our decision-making isn’t ideal: we think too narrowly; we’re biased by previous choices, personal values and short-term emotions; and we’re overconfident about our decisions.

The book also illustrates how making poor decisions — or not making decisions at all — can have dramatic effects, as can be seen in the example of Kodak, the once-leading manufacturer of photographic film.

Kodak was aware that digital photography would likely usurp analog photography, as early as 1981. However, they remained indecisive about taking action. Eventually, by 2002, once sales of digital cameras surpassed those of analog ones, Kodak had been left behind.

The book answers the questions:

  • What alternative choices do I have and how can I find them?
  • How can I avoid making a decision simply based on what I like?
  • How can I stop my temporary emotions from standing in the way of a wise decision?
  • How can I be ready for the good and bad results stemming from my choices?
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