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Decisive – Dan Heath, Chip Heath

How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work

Think about how many decisions you have to make on a daily or weekly basis, some are easy and some are absolutely agonizing. It is amazing how much we struggle on being decisive, and sometimes over something as easy as whether you should go to graduate school – tip reframe the question. Another book by the Heath brothers that delivers a knowledge bomb.

Decisive builds a framework in order to make decisions easier:

  • Widen Your Options – we tend to get blinders when making decisions, and frame our questions as whether or not. Instead we should focus on and NOT or. We should look for other options, find someone who has faced the same decision before. Look for bright spots, stuff that already works.
  • Reality-Test Your Assumptions – confirmation bias is a killer, and if you look hard enough you’ll notice that you try to reaffirm your assumptions all the time. Try to ask questions that argue against your bias, what problems are there? Zoom out, and then back in. Just like the Lean Startup, we should also try small experiments to see if our hypothesis are true.
  • Attain Distance Before Deciding – when we are emotional it is hard to make decision, our old friend sunk costs tend to arise. Focus on 10/10/10, how would I feel in 10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years. Ask questions that show a different perspective: what would my best friend or successor do?
  • Prepare to Be Wrong – we are awful at assumptions and guessing, and tend to be overconfident. Prepare premortems to see what could go wrong to make sure you address those issues ahead of time.

I do not know what it is about the Heath brothers, but I enjoy reading their books even though they tend to use examples that are overused – i.e. the jam study. This may arise from their research style, but they provide a long list of recommended reading to continue your journey.

Overall, as any self-help book there is some fluff and debatable points. But, I have found myself using parts of the WRAP framework without realizing it (especially while in the midst of wedding planning).

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