What could you learn from ‘Decisive’ by Chip and Dan Heath (2014, 252 pages)

You make thousands of decisions each day.  Some are more important than others.  Research by many academics (for example, Daniel Kahneman, Gary Klein and Amos Tversky) has shown that the way you think, and your emotional state, play an enormous role in your decision-making ability.

In their latest book,’Decisive’ Chip and dan Heath argue there four reasons why your decision making is often poor.

  • You exclude alternative options and think that most decisions are binary
  • Confirmation bias makes you seek support for our existing point of view
  • Short-term emotion (anger, fear, joy) hugely impacts the decisions you make
  • Overconfidence will mean that you overestimate your ability compared to others or to the norm

Chip and Dan propose a simple mental algorithm WRAP can be used to counter these biases, and make better decisions.

  1. W – widen your options
    • avoid a narrow frame
    • multitrack
    • find someone who has solved your problem
  2. R – reality-test your assumptions
    • consider the opposite
    • zoom out, zoom in
    • test with pilots
  3. A – attain distance before deciding
    • overcome short-term emotion
    • honour your core principles
  4. P – prepare to be wrong
    • bookend the future
    • set a tripwire

You can learn a lot from this book.  Chip and Dan use great examples to demonstrate the biases that affect decision making.  They also provide evidence to support the use of their WRAP framework.  However, the greatest strength of this book is that it forces you to pause and consider your decisions – before you make them.

Amazon link – Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions

Link to Chip and Dan’s website