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The Truth About Making Smart Decisions

Book Description

Praise for
The Truth About Making Smart Decisions


The Truth About Making Smart Decisions offers a truly valuable and entertaining journey through the complex terrain of decision making. Robert Gunther combines a writer's gift of the pen with a keen understanding of human nature, drawing upon his own experiences, business anecdotes, and vignettes from other walks of life. His selection of traps, insights, and truths are edifying as well as amusing, and many readers will recognize themselves as he exposes our weaknesses, and occasional brilliance, as we carve the trajectory of our life one decision after the next.”

Paul J. H. Schoemaker, Ph.D., coauthor of Decision Traps and Winning Decisions

“Robert Gunther crystallizes years of expertise and insight in business writing into a book on probably life’s most important matter: decision making. How do you do it and how do you do it much better? He offers many tools to organize the mind and maximize your ability to be a leader and money maker.

Rick Rickertsen, Managing Partner of Pine Creek Partners and author of The Buyout Book and Sell Your Business Your Way

“We make decision errors predictably, and Robert Gunther offers fifty ways of taking decisions more intelligently. The Truth About Making Smart Decisions is a concise and actionable guide for what to consider when facing critical choice points.”

Michael Useem, Ph.D., Wharton Professor of Management and author of The Go Point: When It’s Time to Decide

“If you think decision making is cut and dried, this book will make you think again. In The Truth About Making Smart Decisions, Robert Gunther offers challenging insights on how factors from sleep to intuition to emotions to mental models affect the quality of our decisions. He urges readers to take a broader view and raises issues that anyone should consider in making smarter decisions.”

Yoram (Jerry) Wind, Ph.D., The Lauder Professor and Wharton Professor of Marketing, and coauthor of The Power of Impossible Thinking

Everything you need to know to make smarter, better decisions—in business and in life!

• The truth about learning from your mistakes and those of others

•  The truth about how sleep can help you make better decisions

•  The truth about the power of acting decisively

This book brings together 50 powerful “truths” about making better decisions: real solutions for the tough challenges faced by every decision-maker, in business and in life. You'll discover how to systematically prepare to make better to get the right information, without getting buried in useless to minimize your risks, and then act to handle your emotions...make better group decisions...profit from mistakes...and a whole lot more. This isn't "someone's opinion": it's a definitive, evidence-based guide to effective decision-making...a set of bedrock principles you can rely on no matter what kind of decisions you make!

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Praise for The Truth About Making Smart Decisions
  3. Preface
  4. Introduction
  5. I. The Truth About Preparing for Decisions
    1. 1. Before a major decision, get some Z’s
    2. 2. Act from a state of clarity
    3. 3. If you can’t get distance, get perspective
    4. 4. Keep it real
    5. 5. Use a systematic process
    6. 6. Know your decision-making style
  6. II. The Truth About Why Bad Decisions Are Good
    1. 7. To make better decisions, make more mistakes
    2. 8. Be prepared to profit from your mistakes
    3. 9. Learn from your close calls
    4. 10. Learn from the decisions of others
    5. 11. Don’t judge your decisions based on their outcome
    6. 12. Leave yourself room to get back from the pole
  7. III. The Truth About the Limits of Your Mind
    1. 13. Understand common “decision traps”
    2. 14. Giving up something? Get over it!
    3. 15. It’s possible to miss an entire gorilla
    4. 16. You may see only what you’re looking for
    5. 17. You’re not as clever as you think you are
    6. 18. Your view of the world depends on what planet you’re from
    7. 19. Beware of seeing patterns that aren’t there
    8. 20. Different is not always better
  8. IV. The Truth About Complex Decisions
    1. 21. Boil knowledge down to its essence—and then act on it
    2. 22. Decisions are not snapshots but movies
    3. 23. No decision is an island
    4. 24. Build the city around your decision
  9. V. The Truth About Data
    1. 25. Listen for the dog that doesn’t bark
    2. 26. Sorry, Joe Friday. The facts are never “just the facts.”
    3. 27. Recognize the power of intuition
  10. VI. The Truth About Acting Decisively
    1. 28. The wrong decision is better than none at all
    2. 29. Get 80 percent (or less) of what you need, and then act on it
    3. 30. Every decision carries risk. Get used to it
    4. 31. Not making a decision is a decision
  11. VII. The Truth About Decisions in Groups
    1. 32. Two heads can be worse than one
    2. 33. Use constructive conflict
    3. 34. Surround yourself with people smarter than yourself
    4. 35. Make decision roles clear
    5. 36. Break free from the prisoner’s dilemma
  12. VIII. The Truth About Emotions
    1. 37. A little adrenaline can be a good thing
    2. 38. Understand the impact of emotions
    3. 39. Beware of the attractive new shortcut
  13. IX. The Truth About Ethical Decision Making
    1. 40. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want seen on YouTube
    2. 41. There are no quiet corners safe from scrutiny
    3. 42. To know where you’re going, know where you stand
    4. 43. Don’t let power or ego sway you from your course
  14. X. The Truth About Big Decisions
    1. 44. Lower the costs of failure
    2. 45. Break down big decisions into smaller ones
    3. 46. Don’t forget the screwdrivers
  15. XI. The Truth About Moving On
    1. 47. Keep your eye on the long term
    2. 48. Belief in your decision can make it come true
    3. 49. Keep a sense of humor
    4. 50. Don’t look back
  16. Additional Resources
  17. References
      1. Introduction
      2. Truth 2
      3. Truth 9
      4. Truth 14
      5. Truth 15
      6. Truth 16
      7. Truth 18
      8. Truth 20
      9. Truth 21
      10. Truth 23
      11. Truth 25
      12. Truth 26
      13. Truth 31
      14. Truth 32
      15. Truth 33
      16. Truth 35
      17. Truth 37
      18. Truth 38
      19. Truth 43
      20. Truth 45
      21. Truth 46
      22. Truth 49
      23. Truth 50
  18. About the Author