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Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions
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Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,888 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
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Decisions shape our experiences, from choosing which job offer to accept, to buying the right car, to selecting a good accountant. How do we know which choice is the smart one? How can we be consistent and confident in our decisions? In this book from the three leading authorities on
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 5th 2002 by Crown Business (first published September 1st 1998)
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Feb 03, 2014 Parcoast rated it it was ok
The concepts were still not groundbreaking, but the various methods they proposed for making tradeoff decisions demonstrated a concrete way to deal with discrete factors in a decision. A lot of it still comes down to gut feeling, but by laying all of the data points out and making tradeoffs, it still feels good to have seemingly accounted for all of the known variables.

Phase 3: Stoic Completion. After the trade-off chapter I was back to the "just think really hard" style of answers and I had to
Aug 29, 2012 Nicholas rated it it was ok

a.) cut out all the crap canned examples, stop saying the same thing over and over again, and republish this as a pamphlet, or

b.) amp up the math and the science, and get some real case studies in there.
Jun 28, 2016 Tnoblelaw rated it liked it
If you are an analytical thinker who has trouble making decisions, read it, but be forewarned - very dry.
Erik Dewey
Good and logical process for making decisions. It focuses on generating the right question and then eliminating options. There are some examples in the book to help you understand the concepts and overall it works well in presenting its information.

The book did not contain any startling breakthroughs or quick fixes but it did present its methodology in an easy to understand process.
Scott Soefje
Sep 15, 2010 Scott Soefje rated it it was ok
The book seemed to be a lot of common sense. I found a few things that would be useful, but mostly nothing that I had not already heard/read/seen somewhere else.
Lori Grant
Mar 29, 2013 Lori Grant rated it it was amazing
A must-read book on decision making and problem solving, which are two critical competencies in business life.
Helen Lu
Apr 03, 2015 Helen Lu rated it liked it
I found this book at the right time. It is helpful for me in my decision making process.
Mar 02, 2014 Marit rated it really liked it
Shelves: how-to-guides
This book is as straightforward as its title. There are very few references to studies and the originating science behind the steps and methods the authors advocate but in theory, the authors' weighty backgrounds in decision-making justifies their statements. They use a proliferation of examples drawing from house-buying to job-seeking to litigation that help illustrate their concepts well. My only critique is that there is actually quite a bit of complexity and some redundancy in their steps. H ...more
Roger Burk
Aug 22, 2011 Roger Burk rated it really liked it
I read this because it is a popular work by two very big names (Keeney and Raiffa) in my own technical field, decision analysis. Since I often have to explain technical ideas for a general audience and recommend courses of action to non-specialists, I wanted to see how K&R do that. So I thought it a great little book, and recommend it highly, except for one curious lapse. It recommends eliciting utility functions without using reference lotteries. Since utility functions capture attitude tow ...more
Jun 26, 2009 Jesy rated it liked it
"The art of good decision making lies in systematic thinking," (p. 215). In Smart Choices (1999), John Hammond Ralph Keeny and Howard Raiffa provide a practical and easy to understand framework for decision making to drive smarter decisions. Their PrOACT model encourages readers to make sure they work on the right problem (pr), clearly define their objectives (O), consider a variety of creative alternatives (A), describe and understand the consequences of each alternative (C), and consider the t ...more
Jun 19, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2016 Jayne rated it really liked it
The concept itself is quite straight forward with some good tips and a great step by step method to get to a smart choice. This process allows you to focus on one aspect of the problem at a time. While it may seem like a very easy process when applied to simple decisions, it's the more complex ones that will need to be broken down to it's constituents and this is where the method is useful. Overall, a great book with plenty tips for one who wishes to learn how to make a smart choice.
Mar 30, 2013 stinaz rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
Some plain and simple decision making processes and steps. This book outlines the authors' PrOACT approach which deals with the Problem, Objectives, Alternatives, Consequences and Tradeoffs in making any decision. Some solid advice on how to make the smart choices based on this information (as well as considering uncertainties, risk tolerance and linked decisions). A good dose of common sense, but also some probability theory for the layperson. I'm interested to try some of these steps and techn ...more
Jenny Zhou
Oct 30, 2012 Jenny Zhou rated it really liked it
Great Decision Analysis primer. The examples in this book are simple but relevant to everyday problems. This is a great introduction because the PrOACT framework is exactly what I use at my job to help pharmaceutical companies make R&D investment decisions.

My only criticism is that I don't think the book did a strong job tying together PrOACT and the final pieces of incorporating Risk and Uncertainty. There was a confusing transition from the first 3/4 of the book to the last 1/4 and how th
Mar 03, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing
An excellent book which guides through an algorithm that would allow one to make 'smarter' decisions. A wealth of devices and techniques to borrow from to improve you decision making routines and strategies.

The only drawback of this book is that you'll need to practise for a while before you get the knack of its 8-steps process.
Oct 19, 2011 Rob rated it really liked it
Read for Certificate in Management for Technical Professionals course. Outlines the PrOACT framework for good decision making: Problem, Objectives, Alternatives, Consequences, and Trade-offs as well as Uncertainty, Risk and Linked Decisions. I found it interesting and look forward to applying the techniques in future decisions. One thing it opened my eyes to was that we often jump straight to determining alternatives without fully considering our objectives.
Jul 18, 2015 Jim rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Useful book on decision making.
Presents the PrOACT framework (Problem, Objectives, Alternatives, Consequences, Tradeoffs).
Also considers, Uncertainty, Risk, and Linked Decisions.
The authors make use of decision trees with likehood (probabilities) to assist with disecting a problem. They later describe common fallacies with using probabilities.
A useful book on decision making, but should not be the only one read on this topic.
Nov 21, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
This is really really a good book! It steps you through the important parts of making a good decision using the PrOACT model (you must consider the Problem, Objectives, Alternatives, Consequences, and Tradeoffs) and then accounts for uncertainties and risks, too. I would highly recommend this book with the book Dr. Donald Adolphson is currently writing that uses Microsoft Excel to apply these principles.
Feb 07, 2012 Tom rated it really liked it
A really thorough and well-written guide to better decision-making that is light on math and heavy on practicality. The gist of the book is that good decision-making comes about through meticulous planning and consideration, written out because it's all too much to keep in one's head. All-around a great read, and a big help for flip-floppers like me!
Feb 05, 2013 Bill rated it really liked it
This book provides a framework for breaking down a decision into its constituent parts (problems, objectives, constraints, and uncertainties) and systematically working through each part. Nothing earth-shattering here, though it's a useful reminder to think analytically about big decisions and challenge your (potentially) hidden assumptions.
Nov 26, 2010 Bruce rated it it was amazing
Probably the best business book I can recommend right now. How to break down a problem into it essence, figure out what you really care about, balance multiple criteria and options, and generally feel strong and confident with just about any complex decision you're faced with. I've applied this a few times now with great results.
Moshe Zadka
Feb 23, 2013 Moshe Zadka rated it really liked it
Short and to the point. If you read only one book on decision making, and you should read at least one, then read this. It is short, aims to teach you something useful each page and to make the time you spend reflecting on your decision actually useful.
Apr 08, 2010 Kevin rated it liked it
I read this for one of my MPA courses. It gives a good approach to tackling big and little decisions. The general principles are easy to remember, although each one is packed with a lot of details.
Miikka Kukkosuo
Sep 02, 2007 Miikka Kukkosuo rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This book really gives a great foundation for building your decision making on. Introduces a solid framework for any type of a decision, and includes also practical examples.
Peter Wolfley
Sep 28, 2013 Peter Wolfley rated it liked it
Decent book to help you make better decisions. Chapter 10 is probably the best because it gives you psychological pitfalls to avoid when making important decisions.
Jun 22, 2013 Dveith rated it liked it
Good book. Well written. Nicely organized and entertaining. Not anything we don't already know, just a fresh framing of what we already do.
Sep 23, 2007 Ani rated it liked it
I'm readin this book's farsi translated'z so cool advicer..I liked it so much!
Mar 21, 2007 Arjun rated it it was ok
Shelves: academic-popular
Reid likes teaching with this book. I think it's a waste of money (Respect, Reid)
May 31, 2013 K. rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Offers a good framework for effective decision making. Thorough and useful.
Sep 12, 2009 Tamara rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
A great step-by-step process to working through tough decisions.
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