You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!  Book Summary - You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!  Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake! summary

Olivier Sibony

How Biases Distort Decision-Making – and What You Can Do To Fight Them

4.3 (111 ratings)
27 mins

Brief summary

You're About to Make a Terrible Mistake! by Olivier Sibony explains the causes of decision-making errors and provides a comprehensive guide to improving our judgment by avoiding analytical traps and biases. It highlights the importance of systematic thinking and thorough analysis.

Table of Contents

    You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!
    Summary of 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 7

    We can’t eliminate bias. But we can take steps to reduce its effects.

    You’ve just read an amazing study. According to the research, drinking a glass of red wine has health benefits comparable to spending an hour at the gym. This is fantastic news, because, first, you love red wine and, second, you’re an investor in fitness facilities! 

    So what do you do? Well, obviously, you go with your gut and buy yourself a vineyard. No need to think twice. No need to talk to your team. The future of fitness is wine! 

    Clearly, this would be a terrible mistake. Your personal fondness for the grape does not mean red wine will revolutionize the world of fitness. You are biased toward wine – and before you make any big business decisions, you’ve got to banish that bias. 

    The key message here is: We can’t eliminate bias. But we can take steps to reduce its effects. 

    Here’s the bad news: bias is hard to banish. And, within a large organization, it’s pretty much impossible to get rid of. Just consider a complex organization such as NASA: it’s full of individuals, each susceptible to various biases. But that doesn’t mean we should shrug our shoulders and categorize bias as an insoluble problem. Why? Because bias is at the root of many organizational issues.

    So how exactly does bias work? Well, if you’ve ever relied on your own subjective experience rather than objective facts when making a decision, then you’ve been led by bias. Bias is most common when people are making judgment calls – and it's no secret how commonplace judgment errors are, especially when it comes to business strategy.

    In one survey, of about 2,000 executives asked, only 28 percent thought their company made good strategic decisions. The majority, about 60 percent, said the ratio of bad decisions to good was about the same, meaning that a coin flip might make as good – if not better – decisions than a team of highly-qualified executives. You can imagine how bad this is for business.

    But, again, bias can’t be rooted out entirely. Luckily, it doesn’t need to be. Let’s return to the example of NASA. Sure, it’s full of biased individuals, but it’s also established collective processes that counteract those individual biases. 

    So how can you follow NASA’s lead and diminish bias within your business? One way is to reconsider your approach to leadership. Rather than being the person who makes the final call, aided by gut instinct alone, you should be someone who organizes how choices are presented. Becoming a decision architect instead of a decision maker, therefore, is the most effective way to lessen the impact of individual bias and steer your strategy in the right direction.

    Want to see all full key ideas from You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake! ?

    Key ideas in You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake! about?

    You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake! (2020) deals with the negative but often predictable effects that cognitive biases have on high-stakes decisions. Far from claiming that biases can be eliminated altogether, it demonstrates how every decision is colored by bias and outlines specific techniques that’ll help you make more rational, fact-based business decisions.

    Who should read You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake! ?

    • Businesspeople who have to make frequent decisions
    • Anyone interested in business strategy and behavioral economics
    • Fans of Daniel Kahneman or Malcolm Gladwell

    About the Author

    Olivier Sibony is a professor at HEC Paris and Oxford University. His research centers around minimizing the influence of cognitive biases on decision-making processes. In English, he has cowritten an article with Daniel Kahneman entitled “Before You Make That Big Decision.” He is also a coauthor of Cracked It! How to Solve Big Problems and Sell Solutions Like Top Strategy Consultants.

    Categories with You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!

    Book summaries like You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    29 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial