Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions

Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 1633691047

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Where should I live? Is it time to get a new job? Which job candidate should I hire? What business strategy should I pursue?

We spend the majority of our lives making decisions, both big and small. Yet, even though our success is largely determined by the choices that we make, very few of us are equipped with useful decision-making skills. Because of this, we often approach our choices tentatively, or even fearfully, and avoid giving them the time and thought required to put our best foot forward.

In Smart Choices, John Hammond, Ralph Keeney, and Howard Raiffa—experts with over 100 years of experience resolving complex decision problems—offer a proven, straightforward, and flexible roadmap for making better and more impactful decisions, and offer the tools to achieve your goals in every aspect of your life.

Their step-by-step, divide-and conquer approach will teach you how to:
• Evaluate your plans
• Break your potential decision into its key elements
• Identify the key drivers that are most relevant to your goals
• Apply systematic thinking
• Use the right information to make the smartest choice

Smart Choices doesn’t tell you what to decide; it tells you how. As you routinely use the process, you’ll become more confident in your ability to make decisions at work and at home. And, more importantly, by applying its time-tested methods, you’ll make better decisions going forward.

Be proactive. Don’t wait until a decision is forced on you—or made for you. Seek out decisions that advance your long-term goals, values, and beliefs. Take charge of your life by making Smart Choices a lifetime habit.

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New York–San Francisco flight, then cost doesn’t matter. Your decision will hinge only on the remaining objectives. The even swap method provides a way to adjust the consequences of different alternatives in order to render them equivalent in terms of a given objective. Thus this objective becomes irrelevant. As its name implies, an even swap increases the value of an alternative in terms of one objective while decreasing its value by an equivalent amount in terms of another objective. In

should influence your choice, ignoring peripheral factors. Consider this simple example. Joe Lazzarino has kept his small consulting firm in business over the last five years by bidding on many small public and private engineering projects. His company consistently makes a modest profit, but Joe’s starting to get bored—he’s eager for new and bigger challenges. One day, he receives word that a government agency has issued a request for proposals for a large, multiyear contract. Joe sees that

hook. Karen, however, can’t overcome residual feelings of guilt about the accident, despite her relative innocence and the greater harm she has suffered — facial scars, impaired mobility in her neck and left shoulder, and loss of income. She feels keenly the possibility that she might break down in court, jeopardizing her case. Every friend, relative, coworker, and acquaintance she’s ever had is giving her conflicting advice about what to do. She just can’t decide. Karen’s Decision Problem

dollar amounts, enabling her to describe her consequences using a single variable: money.) An Investment Example. To see how desirability curves work, consider the decision problem facing Jim Nance. Jim makes his family’s investments, guided by the dual objectives of growth and preservation of capital. Through an investment club, he now has the opportunity to make a one-year investment of $10,000 in a private venture, unrelated to the securities markets, on which he can make as much as 87.5

big picture (the higher-level, strategic decision); zooming in corresponds to examining the details (the lower-level, tactical and operational decisions). With zooming, however, you don’t make decisions at any level until you’ve considered decisions at each level several times. You start zoomed out and tentatively make the high-level decision, then you zoom in and consider how you would make several lower-level decisions that depend on the higher-level decision. Having done that, you zoom back

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