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

Olivier Sibony

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

4.2 (114 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.

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    You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!
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    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.

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    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.

    You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake! Review

    You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake! (2020) by Olivier Sibony is a book that offers practical strategies for making better decisions in our personal and professional lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides insightful analysis and real-world examples, helping readers understand common decision-making pitfalls and how to avoid them.
    • Using a data-driven approach, Sibony challenges conventional wisdom and introduces techniques for problem-solving that can be implemented immediately.
    • With its engaging storytelling and relatable scenarios, the book keeps readers hooked, ensuring that the topic of decision-making remains anything but boring.

    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.

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    You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!  FAQs 

    What is the main message of You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!?

    The main message of You're About to Make a Terrible Mistake! is that decision-making is prone to biases and errors, but by understanding these pitfalls, we can make better choices.

    How long does it take to read You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!?

    The reading time for You're About to Make a Terrible Mistake! varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake! a good book? Is it worth reading?

    You're About to Make a Terrible Mistake! is a thought-provoking read that sheds light on the common errors we make when making decisions. It provides valuable insights and practical advice for avoiding mistakes. Definitely worth reading!

    Who is the author of You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!?

    The author of You're About to Make a Terrible Mistake! is Olivier Sibony.

    What to read after You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake! ?

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