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Guide to Decision Making: Getting it More Right than Wrong

Book Description

A comprehensive look at decision-making practices and what can be done to eradicate errors

Designed to help companies in any industry make fewer mistakes, The Economist Guide to Decision Making is an in-depth look at the tools and techniques for preventing errors and improving efficiency. Exploring how and why decisions go awry in the first place; what decision-makers can do to counter the psychological, social, and other forces that can undermine individual judgment and pull organizations off course; and highlighting often overlooked aspects of the science of decision making, the book illustrates how mistakes really happen so that they can be better avoided.

Drawing on examples taken from companies around the world, including Motorola, EMI, and the London Stock Exchange, as well as gold mines in South Africa, and food contamination scandals in China, The Economist Guide to Decision Making thoughtfully considers how companies can be more effective and improve their decision-making strategies.

  • Presents new ways for companies to improve their decision-making processes

  • Explains how decision-making works and discusses the tools available for helping reduce the likelihood of errors

  • Draws on examples taken from companies around the globe

Decision making can never prevent mistakes entirely, but a better understanding of how to improve practices and processes is invaluable for companies looking to increase their overall efficiency. The Economist Guide to Decision Making leads the way.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Contents
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. Acknowledgements
  7. Introduction
  8. Chapter 1: Illusions of Control: The Confidence Trap
    1. Illusions of Control
    2. The Confidence Trap
    3. Success and Luck: The Deadly Cocktail
    4. Bunker Mentality
    5. Avoiding the Overconfidence Trap
    6. Risk as Choice
  9. Chapter 2: Blinkered Vision: The Judgment Trap
    1. Look no Further: Confirmation Traps
    2. Why First Impressions Matter: Anchoring Traps
    3. Seen it All Before: Analogy Traps
    4. Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Availability Traps
    5. Alluring Images: Vividness Traps
    6. Too Good to Lose?
    7. Emotional Rollercoaster: Instant-Response Traps
    8. Two Dead Fish: Expectation Traps
    9. Expectations are Reality
    10. Surprise, Surprise . . .
    11. Avoiding Judgmental Traps
    12. All that Glitters: Evaluating Opportunity
    13. Separating Heart and Head
    14. When not to Make a Decision
    15. “Only the Paranoid Survive”
  10. Chapter 3: Ghosts and Shadows: Where is Reality?
    1. What is a Problem?
    2. What Do Hierarchies Really Do?
    3. Solving the Wrong Problem
    4. The Invented Reality
    5. Rushing a Solution
    6. Solving Problems that Do not Exist
    7. Subtle Movements
    8. Corporate Myopia
    9. Reality as Myth
    10. The Ruling Myth
    11. Mythical Rights and Wrongs
    12. Go Slow to Go Fast
    13. The Problem Behind the Problem
    14. Listening to Galileo: Conceptual Blockbusting
    15. Second-Order Thinking
    16. Stop Problems Before they Start
    17. Solve the Right Problem
    18. Apply the “Because” Test
    19. Finding the Lobster: The Importance of Mind States
    20. Expecting the Unexpected
    21. Fact or Fiction?
    22. Testing Reality
  11. Chapter 4: Gorilla in the Room: Information and Decision-Making
    1. How Do We Know What We Think We Know?
    2. Where the Unexpected Come From
    3. Risk as a Mirror of Imagination
    4. Perception is Reality
    5. Gorilla in the Room
    6. Complicit Computers
    7. Liars in Service of Truth
    8. Shut the Toolbox and Open the Mind
    9. Going into “Lockdown”
    10. What is the Question?
    11. Information-Gathering Must Have a Point
    12. The Reality of Planning
    13. Ask Why? Not Who?
  12. Chapter 5: Conspiracies of Optimism: Group Dynamics
    1. Problems of Status
    2. Impact of Group Culture
    3. Groupthink: Conspiracies of Optimism
    4. Risky Shift
    5. Groups and Myopia
    6. Managing Groups
    7. Changing Group Culture
    8. Effective Leadership
    9. As Others See us
    10. Critical Decisions Require Critical Thinking
    11. Refreshing the Group
  13. Chapter 6: Shifting Tides: Power and Politics in Decision-Making
    1. The Dynamics of Power
    2. The Problem with Rules and Instructions
    3. Low Power
    4. Inevitable Tensions
    5. The Politics of the Deadly Ds
    6. Thinking the Unthinkable
    7. The Art of the Possible: Managing Power and Politics
    8. Getting the Approach Right
    9. Managing Conflict
    10. Ending the Debate
    11. The Importance of Authority
    12. Missing Links
    13. The Old, Old Story
  14. Chapter 7: Predictable Surprises
    1. Today’s Solution: Tomorrow’s Problem
    2. When Solutions Dictate or Distract
    3. Winner’s Curse
    4. The Curse of Establishment Status
    5. The Tragedy of the Commons
    6. Herding
    7. The Missing Hero
    8. Vicious Circle or Exploding Cluster
    9. Self-Fulfilling and Self-Destroying Prophecies
    10. Paradoxes
    11. Anticipate or Trip . . .
    12. . . . And Query the Control Dials
    13. If the Front Door is Closed . . .
    14. Loose-Tight Virtues
    15. Dare to Act Counter-Intuitively
    16. Leaving the Party
    17. Symbolic Importance
    18. When Being Wrong is Right
  15. Chapter 8: The March of Folly: The Escalation Trap
    1. Too Much Promise
    2. Games People Play
    3. Escalating IT
    4. A Life of their Own
    5. Denial and Delusion
    6. Escalation of Commitment
    7. Fear of Failure – and Combatting it
    8. Waste not Want not
    9. Sunk Costs
    10. A Question of Framing
    11. Public Image
    12. Preventing Escalation
    13. Recognising and Reacting to the Larger Signs
    14. Look to the Future
    15. Allowing for Fallibility
    16. Going for it
    17. Letting it Lie
    18. The Role of Budgets
    19. Stepping Back
  16. Chapter 9: Decisionless Decisions: The Continuity Trap
    1. Decisionless Decisions
    2. Waiting for “Lock-In”
    3. Doing Nothing is not an Option
    4. Comfort Zones and Sacred Cows
    5. The Cost of Entrapment
    6. Trapped by Human Nature
  17. Chapter 10: Risk a Little, Gain a Lot: Options Thinking
    1. Falling Forwards
    2. The Business Options
    3. Other Options . . .
    4. . . . And a Warning
    5. Value Creation – and Destruction
    6. Exercising Decisions
    7. The Philosophy of War
  18. Closing Thoughts
  19. Index