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Decisive

How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
Narrated by: Kaleo Griffith
Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
Categories: Business, Leadership
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,429 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Chip and Dan Heath, the best-selling authors of Switch and Made to Stick, tackle one of the most critical topics in our work and personal lives: how to make better decisions.

Research in psychology has revealed that our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities: We’re overconfident. We seek out information that supports us and downplay information that doesn’t. We get distracted by short-term emotions. When it comes to making choices, it seems, our brains are flawed instruments. Unfortunately, merely being aware of these shortcomings doesn’t fix the problem, any more than knowing that we are nearsighted helps us to see. The real question is: How can we do better?

In Decisive, the Heaths, based on an exhaustive study of the decision-making literature, introduce a four-step process designed to counteract these biases. Written in an engaging and compulsively listenable style, Decisive 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 thorny personal decisions.

Along the way, we learn the answers to critical questions such as these: How can we stop the cycle of agonizing over our decisions? How can we make group decisions without destructive politics? And how can we ensure that we don’t overlook precious opportunities to change our course?

Decisive is the Heath brothers’ most powerful - and important - book yet, offering fresh strategies and practical tools enabling us to make better choices. Because the right decision, at the right moment, can make all the difference.

©2013 Chip Heath and Dan Heath (P)2013 Random House Audio

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • GH
  • 03-27-13

Solid Wothwhile Advice - get you WRAP on

The Heath Bothers, authors “Made to Stick” and “Switch” deliver their latest work on how to make better decisions. They offer four major reasons why decisions can run afoul. These include inappropriate problem framing, confirmation bias, and emotional interference and preparation for being wrong. They assert that a process will significantly improve your decision making skills. That is, process plus data improves the odds of a correct decision over data alone. As is their trademark, they come up with a pity pneumonic for their solution WRAP.

I thought the book was pretty good, it had the appropriate level of details and background stories. Earthshaking it was not. The concepts provide a framework for decision making similar to knife skills give you a framework for successful food preparation – without these things, outcomes will be unpredictable and vary. If you are looking for a Tour de Force in decision making, read “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman. The Heath brothers even said as much in the initial chapter -- I totally agree.

Certainly, this book is easy to digest and if their advice is implemented, WRAP will lead to better decision making. It is a worthwhile listen but don’t expect shattering new insights. It is solid and worthwhile.

50 of 50 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Audio book can be cut in half

Would you try another book from Chip Heath and Dan Heath and/or Kaleo Griffith?

I have read a few books by them and I enjoyed them, this one was a little too in depth

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I get it, ask more questions and make sure you have conflicting points of view to make your decision. And quick decisions are never good.... got it.

What does Kaleo Griffith bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Unfortunately it was too boring

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Learned a little that I'll use along the way

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Packed with useful knowledge from the beginning!

What did you love best about Decisive?

The material in this book is extremely well-developed. I got more useful information out of the introduction than I usually get from an entire book. I listened to the introduction the first day and went away with knowledge that I could use the next day at work.

The topic structure is simple enough so that you can memorize the key points – important for material you plan to use on a daily basis. Yet the authors have compiled so much information and have so many real-life stories to back up each point, which helps the listener internalize them deeply. It is obvious that a lot of work and many years of effort have gone into this.

What about Kaleo Griffith’s performance did you like?

Kaleo Griffith’s performance has a way of making you feel like each new point is vitally important. It’s very subtle. I didn’t realize until half-way through the book that each time he was about to introduce a new topic, I found myself scrambling for something to write on. I didn’t want to miss anything! He definitely keeps the listener’s attention.

Any additional comments?

This is one of those books that will change the way you see the world.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Lacks good structure

I think the book could have been better written. The solutions were made to fit the acronym WRAP (widen the options, reality test your assumptions, attain some distance, and prepare to be wrong). However, the book provides stories of good decisions and bad decisions that didn't fit neatly into one of those four steps. It is a good read for learning how to make better decisions. Unfortunately, it just wasn't structured well. It didn't have a good outline of the various approaches to good decision-making, which would have helped the listener in retaining the information.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The Heaths deliver a game changing experience.

What did you love best about Decisive?

More than half of us live our lives like we are in bumper cars. We just bouce from decision to decision like we are driving bumper cars in total darkness. Our choices will define us in the long-run and this book helps us understand ways to make better decisions. How we view our choices is a critical perspective. Decisive delivers a process to use when we are considering how to decide. The book and the recording will provide a positive impact for persons who are focused on making the best decisions and also provide a great service for those of us who have the awesome responsibilty of helping others make decisions in work and in life.

What other book might you compare Decisive to and why?

Read or listen to "18 Minutes" by Peter Bregman & "Made to Stick" & "Switch" by Dan and Chip Heath.
"18 Minutes" is important. Bregman takes the point of view that we make definate decisions about how we spend our time.
"Made to Stick" and "Switch" make good companion reading because the principals they display and describe are valuable concerning how to view decisions. The principal of the elephant and the rider appy in "18 Minutes" and in "Decision".

Any additional comments?

I like to read the book on my Kindle (or hard copy) and listen at the same time. This gives me the 'see and the hear' at the same time. It keeps me on track and I enjoy the book best this way. This helps people like me stay focused.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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A good start but too many stories

What would have made Decisive better?

The book has a good concept, well narrated but only a good start. It has many stories that I didn't feel provided any insight on better decisions or any tricks. I forgot most of it by now.

What could Chip Heath and Dan Heath have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Key points to do, checklist

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Should Have Been a Pamphlet

Entirely too long! Redundant. Lacking oommph given length. There were good points but followed the formula of far too many mediocre business book: state a hypothesis, state a bunch of supportive anecdotes (many apparently borrowed from other formulaic mediocre business books). Grab the "WRAP" PDF off of their website and give yourself back 8 hrs. of your life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • W
  • 08-21-18

Fantastic model, and here are two suggestions

If the authors read this review, first of all thank you for a wonderful and well written decision making process.

Secondly, if you ever revisit this book and write an update, there are two additional points I think would strengthen the book:

1) When reality testing assumptions, please talk about Survivorship Bias. For example, if the decision maker is an entrepreneur trying to find more information about an upcoming business move and they ONLY speak with successful entrepreneurs, not talking to anyone from the 60% of the new business that fail, how might that skew their perspective? How can we reality test our assumptions by gathering data both from people who have failed at what we are studying as well as those who have succeeded?

2) Depression is one of the world's most common mental illnesses, and it may cause it's sufferers to have a pessimistic bias to their decision making process. What are some tools that can help people make better decisions if they struggle to imagine positive, happy futures? Can a better decision making model, possibly inspired by CBT, help depressed people take more actions that may improve their situation and correct for unrealistic negative thinking?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Didn't Stick

Decisive is a light breezy listen (it seemed to go fast), but didn't find it memorable or overly insightful - except for the tripwire part.

If you haven't heard/read a Heath brothers book yet, get "Made to Stick" first. It's better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent decision to listen to this book

What made the experience of listening to Decisive the most enjoyable?

The Heath brothers do an excellent job at walking you through the decision process and give you helpful and practical suggestions on ways to make decisions differently. The Brown M&Ms story was interesting and I have used it at work already.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful