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Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions
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Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  1,414 ratings  ·  40 reviews
"Most studies of decision-making treat humans like rats in a laboratory. But Dr. Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders, fighter pilots, paramedics and others making split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings."
-- "The Wall Street Journal" Anyone who watches the television news has seen
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 18th 1999 by Mit Press (first published January 16th 1998)
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Nazrul Buang
BOOK REVIEW: Finally finished reading "Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions" (1999) by Gary A. Klein. Firstly, what made me read this book was that it is referred by Daniel Kahneman in his book "Thinking, Fast and Slow".

This book is very different from other psychology books because, while most of them are based on cognitive psychology and scientifically tested in controlled labs, Klein is against all that and the contents are based on applied psychology and empirically observed in real-l
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I'm not really sure how to review this book - imagine you were put in a room and asked 'how do people make decisions' for both crisis situations or planned situations. I would hazard to guess that you would be able to come to the same conclusions much the same way as this book.

Feeling eerily like common sense, this long study (funded by the Dept. of Defense) makes such propositions that experience plays an important role in crisis decisions....etc. etc.

I really learned nothing from this book and
This is a fascinating book that explores the cognitive processes and methodologies involved in "naturalistic decision making" made by experts. Essentially, this means time- and stress-pressured decisions made by people in high-intensity occupation like tank platoon commanders, pilots, firefighters, neonatal nurses, nuclear facility engineers, and more.

The book, which can occasionally be a little difficult to get through, has beautiful nuggets of information spread throughout that deal with the w
David Bowles
Excellent book. Don't get hung up on the title. Understand the value of experience and trusting your gut.
First half has good information and ideas on how to help improve training for decision making, but after chapter 7 it starts to loose steam.(view spoiler) ...more
This is a book very much along the lines of Blink by Malcolm Gladwell but in my opinion it dives deeper into the understanding of how people actually make decisions. Gladwell's book is certainly very interesting and highly recommended but this book is probably for those that wish to take the next step in their understanding of the decision process.

The book is easy to read and very engaging. It provides real world examples of how good and bad decision were made and the processes behind these. It
I'm about half-way through this, and I find it not only interesting but also encouraging, in a weird sort of way.

He talks about how the meticulous analytical decision-making process, where you line up all the options and compare them so you can choose the best one, is not really what people do. In fact, people use their experience-based expertise, intuition, and other methods to make decisions much more quickly, and they are usually better decisions than they would make with the analytical proce
Apr 29, 2008 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rachel by: Carl
Shelves: psychology
This was an interesting, though oddly named, investigation into the process of decision making. Klein spent years researching the process of making decisions, and discovered that the standard model (listing options, comparing them, choosing the most favorable) is wildly inaccurate, and rarely used. Rather, people tend to make decisions based on analogies and scenarios developed through experience.

This book has huge quantities of interesting information, presented in a slightly scattershot way (i
Many studies of how we make decisions treat experience as interference, and seek to eliminate it from the tests. Gary Klein examines how people use experience in high-pressure decision making, such as Fire Fighters, Military Commanders, and ICU doctors. Many of these people say they don't make decisions at all, they look at a situation and simply know what to do. Of course there's something more complex going on here, but people are unable to describe it.

Klein has found good explanations, using
David Rothermel
I read this due to the recommendation in Thinking Fast and Slow. Klien's work provides a nice counterbalance to Kahneman. This book attempts to unravel how experts make decisions - particularly under time constraints / pressure. The RL stories he uses as examples are informative and his hypothesis that experts don't use "standard problem solving" as modelled by the textbooks in which many alternate solutions are generated and weighed against each other. Klien posits another model in which approp ...more
This is a solid, well put together book that really goes into what makes good teams, how decisions get made, and does it by the hard work of following people around, interviewing them and drilling down on various questions. It's obvious that this is the man's life work.

The sidebars on firefighters is very good, and the contrast with the crisis managers is incredible.
Steven Peterson
This is an insightful book, exploring how we make decisions. Remember the old Ben Franklin approach? Two columns on a piece of paper: One column is headed reasons to decide yes and the other why we would not make the decision. Whichever side has the most entries determines our decision. Others argue that humans use a rational calculus to make decisions. What are the costs and benefits of any decision?

The reality, though, is much different. Klein's book talks about how we make decisions based on
Roger Prado
Elucida e expõe com profundidade mecanismos na tomada de decisões. Poderia ser mais conciso, pois há muitas redundâncias, e padece de certo academicismo, o que, em conjunto com as redundâncias, torna a leitura um tanto cansativa.
Rikki Prince
Interesting insight into naturalistic decision making, spread over 25 years of research. Provides a lot of perspectives on what is going on in our mind when making decisions. Also challenges a number of existing theories of how decisions are made. The results are a model that is a bit fuzzier, but seem to be more representative of what is actually happening.

Do note that this is most definitely a write up of academic research. It is a bit impenetrable at times, so unless you are a studying in thi
Jeet Das
A book that gives an insight how to rely on your decision and how they are better given the time and space you had. This book is not for seeking problem solving techniques but understanding how a decision is made - maybe also the power of such a decision.
Semi-scientific fieldwork to discover how people make important decisions under pressure. The answer? Good decision-makers have experience; they recognize the parallels between the current situation and previous one ("Recognition-Primed Decision Making" or the RPD model). When faced with a novel situation, they are good at imagining the consequences of a decision in great detail, simulating it to discover flaws. In a few cases, where the decision-maker is a novice, they lay out several options a ...more
Great book about decision making processes on professionals of different areas ranging from military setting to nurses working on maternity wards. Most enjoyable were the numerous different real life examples of good and bad decision making Klein dissected and explained why the decisions were made the way they were made.

I am always a bit suspicious when books highlight the use of intuition however Klein underlined that what he meant with intuition is the ability to detect subtle clues and other
Shicheng Huang
Wonderful book to read with some very insightful information that could significantly changes my life.
This book explores a paradigm for naturalistic decision-making called "Recognition Primed Decisions" in which experts in high-pressure situations use the intuition and metaphors of their experience to generate mental simulations for a current experience. They monitor for anomalies and revise as indicated. Experimentally, Klein and his colleagues found this model more frequently resembles decision-making than any of the models that involve direct comparison between competing options. It is a fasc ...more
Apr 03, 2008 Cory rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Cory by: Jonathan
This book had really interesting information about expert decision making. In particular how intuitive experience trumps careful analysis time after time. The biggest takeaway for me applied to work and life was that "find a good solution that works and do it" is much better than "debate, study, analyze, and compare two good solutions to figure out which is best".

The cons are that this book is totally repetitive. I would have liked it to be about 1/4 the size it was with more concise and less r
Fantastic book that describes how decisions are made under pressure. It also offers insight into how to develop better decision makers. One of the best books I've ever read and applicable to any career or profession.
This book analyses how people make decisions. It is good to have the background to know how people make decisions and what influences them doing so.
I guess it's good knowledge to have and it is pretty cool to see it explained. But the book was a bit dry and I struggled to get to the end of it.
The key take-away for me was that as a manager, when you tell someone to do something, that you should make sure that people understand what you want done. Don't assume they get it. Make sure.
Zbyszek Sokolowski
This is almost scientific book, it is based on the output from research how in natural environment decisions are made. RBD model has been described. Examples are firefighters, soldiers, nurses in neonatal wards in the hospital. That places where quick and precise decisions have to be made. Also how good leader should communicate with his/her team to achieve best results. And what it means that team is mature. Book is worth reading although it is not so easy.
Eve McCloud
This was used for research methods course and addressing how one does critical thinking and why one does it in that manner. I will continuously review this book because it has a lot of depth to comprehend and practically apply. Also it helps to understand how to interact with others specifically in the decision-making process. Understand your environment, the players, the audience and why the "why". Keeping this one within arms reach.
Tim Hughes
a fascinating complement to thinking fast and slow, doing similar justice to another life's work in the field of cognition and decision making. takes a much more hopeful view of humanity than kahneman, with extensive and compelling case studies of where intuitive decision making can lead to good performance, with particular focus on firefighters, nurses and the military. thoughtful, engaging and humane.
Mar 22, 2012 Peter rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Black Belt 6 sigma
Recommended to Peter by: My good friend Malcolm Gladwell
What do you want to do with your life? Where do you want to be in five years, ten. or even twenty? What kind of lifestyle do you want to have? All these questions need to be answered -- to be continued, That what this book is all about. Do read the book. No regret for me. This book is exactly what I have attained in life. A powerfull decision book that has all the ingredient analyze.
Significantly impacted my thinking and decision making. Explained pattern recognition, subconscious analysis, and ways to speed up how you gain experience. Very much enjoyed. Ordered off of Amazon after it was referenced in Gladwell's "Blink."
Great stories of decision making in extreme situations with an interesting theory around how people make decisions (test 1, if it passes, go with it. NOT evaluate 3, pick the best) However, the book falls way short on how to apply the theory.
I read this as for a class, Managerial Decision Making, in my MBA program. I found this book quite interesting and how experiences shape our intuition which can allow for better decisions to be made. Quite intriguing really!
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