The compact size, and stylish black and copper cover makes The Decision Book a beautifully presented mini-workbook to have with you at work or at home with blank pages at the end to practice your decision making skills. But why would you need 50 models for decision making and strategic thinking?
The authors argue that, in our ever changing world and busy lives, we can use these models to help us make sense of it all. The ‘busy-ness’ of our lives is acknowledged by the crisp, concise description of the models which are usefully divided into four sections: how to improve yourself; how to understand yourself better; how to understand others; and how to improve others.
To get the most out of this book the reader will need to put in some effort, hence the workbook. In the How to improve yourself section many will recognise The SWOT Analysis which requires one to take a good hard look at oneself and be honest about strengths and weaknesses. Less familiar to me was The Choice Overload model which states that more choice is not necessarily better as one can be so overwhelmed by the many options that no choice at all is made. Think of choosing from a menu, for instance. If you dither too long you’ll probably end up wishing you’d ordered what someone else has.
I was particularly drawn to the Cognitive Bias model in the section on understanding myself better as I could see myself having made all four of the mistakes set out. I am especially guilty of The Fast/Slow Error, where I jump intuitively to a quick, but incorrect solution (see The Business Insider article for an example).
The final section on how to improve other people has some great ideas on motivating others and working as a team. My favourite model is The Project Management Triangle which demonstrates one can only usually have 2 of the 3 success factors – good, cheap or fast because:
- Good and fast is expensive
- Fast and cheap is bad
- Good and cheap is slow
I think this is really useful as it helps one clarify what the real objective is and the best way to achieve it within given resources and timeframes.
If you are involved in managing projects, making presentations and dealing with people and/or you like to analyse and organise your life at home or at work, I can recommend this book with the proviso that you’ll have to put in some effort to get the best out of it.
Reviewed by Jan Kershaw
Rating out of 10: 8
Released by: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: September 2017