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In Decisive, Chip Heath and Dan Heath expose what’s wrong with how we make choices – and offer a clear process for how to do better

How to make better choices in life and work

In Decisive, Chip Heath and Dan Heath expose what’s wrong with how we make choices – and offer a clear process for how to do better


Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • Imprint: Crown Business
  • On sale: March 26, 2013
  • Price: $26.00
  • Pages: 336
  • ISBN: 9780307956392
Contact: Tara Gilbride

As big decisions near on government budget cuts, immigration, gun control, and gay marriage, Chip and Dan Heath’s new book DECISIVE exposes what’s wrong with how decisions are made by our political and business leaders, and by us individually in our personal lives—from how much we save for retirement to choosing a job, spouse, or college. New research reveals how we can overcome flawed decision making processes to arrive at wiser choices. “Prepare to encounter the four most pernicious villains of decision-making” they write in the book, “and a process that we can use to counteract their influence.”

Chip Heath, a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford—and his brother Dan Heath—a senior fellow at Duke —are best known for their books Switch and Made to Stick, which both topped many “best book of the year” lists and bestseller lists for months.

Most of us who try to make careful decisions put all our effort into analyzing the options, instead of improving how we arrive at decisions. The typical “pros vs. cons” approach (where we list the pros on one side, and the cons on the other), the “either or” approach, and the “whether or not” approach distort the full range of options available and lead to poor decisions. We tend to make choices based on what we want to be true instead of what is true; we select evidence based on our pre-existing beliefs; and we tend to miss many available options by only looking at the option right in front of us.

In DECISIVE, the Heath brothers uncover the latest psychological research to show why our brains are wired to make foolish decisions and how we can overcome our cognitive biases by using techniques mastered by decision makers of all stripes including judges, politicians, designers, military and business leaders and branding experts.

To improve rational decision making, we need to:

Widen our options

Reality test our assumptions

Attain some distance

Prepare to be wrong

How? You’ll learn foolproof decision making strategies like “premortems”, “multi-tracking”, “tripwires” and “ooching”.  You will learn how to stop the cycle of agonizing over our decisions; how to make group decisions without destructive politics, and how to ensure that we don’t overlook precious opportunities to change our course.

Based on an exhaustive study of decision-making literature and written in an engaging style, this book takes readers on an unforgettable journey, from a rock star’s ingenious decision-making trick to a CEO’s disastrous acquisition, to a single question that can often resolve agonizing personal decisions.  

DECISIVE offers fresh strategies and practical tools enabling us to make better choices.  Because the right decision, at the right moment, can make all the difference.

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