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Streetlights and Shadows: Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  133 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
An expert explains how the conventional wisdom about decision making can get us into trouble-and why experience can't be replaced by rules, procedures, or analytical methods.
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Published October 30th 2009 by MIT Press (first published September 4th 2009)
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Scott Ford
Wouldn't it be great if we could make decisions within the same vacuum that many advice gurus use to establish their theories! Unfortunately, mere mortals have to contend with ambiguity, contradiction and redundancy on a regular basis. Gary Klein places the whole process of decision making into context. A great book.
Christopher Widjaya
good book regarding human thinking on decisions. but too draggy at parts with countless rereferences to anecdotes, sort of beating around the bush for a good bit, but never fails to put the points down in the ground firmly. a good read, but a hundred pages less is possible and maybe more is less is really the best.
Elaine
Jan 17, 2017 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comprehensive book with many examples to illustrate how we make decisions. I like the exercises (as they made me think) and the summary at the end.
Jeff
Jul 03, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
Klein's discussion of ten common claims relative to decision-making in organizations is an interesting take on a frequently-covered topic. The author goes to great lengths to indicate a state of 'partial disagreement' with the claims, noting that most work in well-ordered situations yet break down in complex and/or ambiguous environments. Rather than writing a handbook on decision-making, what Klein is really doing is lending support to the notion that humans and the sciences that study them can ...more
Yadira  Denisse
I actually could not finish reading this book. I read 3/4 because my brain got tired of trying to interpret what it was saying. I think is a great read!!!! It basically explains everything you think you know and then tells you not to believe it and why...it makes perfect sense but it's academically written. I was trying to read it for pleasure and my brain couldn't handle it!

Nevertheless, I should also mention that as a Law Enforcement Officer most of his theories about why I should deny the in
...more
Muhammad al-Khwarizmi
Very decent book though the author gets overly verbose at points. In the chapter on risk management for example it was very obvious that he was talking about so-called "Knightian" uncertainty and I wished he would just come out and say it. I would say Klein certainly mounted an illuminating challenge to conventional decision and management theory anyway. I'm loath to quote John Lennon but "life is what happens when you're making other plans". That being said, I still am not fully convinced of th ...more
Ben Pratt
Dec 25, 2014 Ben Pratt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding insight into problem solving under complex conditions

Walks through the most common assumptions about what should be done to solve problems and drive continuous improvement, showing how these generally hold up well under simpler, more straightforward conditions (solving puzzles) - and it so well in more complex situations (solving mysteries). Very pragmatic and useful knowledge managers and leaders in all walks of life...
Joan
Feb 23, 2013 Joan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I refer to this book all of the time in training colleagues in incident response. Especially his study of pilots, when hijacked, are not able to consult their manual. Instead, they must rely on training, instincts, and adaptive decision-making to aid in mitigating serious consequences is something everyone can appreciate and practice.
John
Jul 18, 2011 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trading, reread
Every teacher should read this book. Great examples of feedback and understand how people learn and challenges simplistic concepts of learning and teaching. But great book for people that love understanding decisions and pitfalls.
Louise
Apr 29, 2011 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an important book for those who are administrators in education. Teaching is a complex task in a complex system.
Johnny Bennett
This was way better than Thinking Fast and Slow. Much more directly applicable to life. Better writing too.
Kendra
Aug 13, 2010 Kendra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: class-y-reading
This is a GREAT book on decision making and sensemaking. It is written for a general audience, using a wide variety of examples to make his point. I highly recommend it!
Laura Quinn
Laura Quinn rated it liked it
Aug 27, 2014
Dawne
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Feb 05, 2015
Chrcgr
Oct 21, 2014 Chrcgr rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some thought provoking content, but could easily have been condensed to about a dozen pages.
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Armina
Jan 06, 2015 Armina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
awesome book. mindblowing :)
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“Complex and unpredictable
The claims work best in well-ordered situations. Well-ordered domains are structured and stable. We know what causes the effects we want to achieve. We can think systematically about well-ordered domains because we know how they work. We can calculate what decisions to make and how to predict the future.
However, we don't usually live in that world of clarity. Much of the time we find ourselves in a different world-a world of shadows where we don't know all the causes or how they work, we can't pin down all the knowledge we need in order to be successful, and we aren't sure we understand the goals.”
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