Anant Jain


Book Review

Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions

I really liked Heath Brothers' books Made to Stick (Review) and Power of Moments (Review) earlier, and decided to give Decisive a shot.

In Decisive, the authors condense some of the foundational ideas in psychology into the "WRAP Framework" that you can use to improve your decision-making:

  • W: Widen your options by avoiding a narrow frame, multitracking (considering multiple ideas simultaneously), and finding someone who has solved your problem before.
  • R: Reality-test your assumptions by considering the opposite, zooming out and zooming in, and "ooching", i.e., constructing small experiments to test your hypothesis.
  • A: Attain distance before deciding by overcoming short-term emotion and honoring your core priorities.
  • P: Prepare to be wrong by bookending the future (anticipating and preparing for both adversity and success via pre-mortems and pre-parades), setting a tripwire, and trusting the process.

Some more tools/ideas that I especially liked in this book:

  • Four villains of good decision-making: Narrow framing, confirmation bias, short-term emotion, and overconfidence.
  • To escape narrow frames, be aware of “whether or not” decisions.
  • When you need trustworthy information, go find an expert—someone more experienced than you. Just keep them talking about the past and the present, not the future. I really liked this heuristic around how to deal with "experts", who are usually as wrong as it gets about the future.
  • 10/10/10 analysis: Think about a decision on three different time frames: How will you feel about it 10 minutes from now? How about 10 months from now? How about 10 years from now?

Overall, this book is another one of those I can safely recommend you to skip if you've already read Thinking Fast and Slow (Review). Otherwise, it's a good fun read if it's one of the first psychology books that you're picking up.

This is #53 in a series of book reviews published weekly on this site.