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Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  14,840 ratings  ·  1,039 reviews
The four principles that can help us to overcome our brains' natural biases to make better, more informed decisions -- in our lives, careers, families and organizations.

In Decisive, Chip Heath and Dan Heath, the bestselling authors of Made to Stick and Switch, tackle the thorny problem of how to overcome our natural biases and irrational thinking to make better decisions,
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by Crown Business
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Lisa Trainor It's about learning how to more easily make the best decisions in life - both business and personal. I'm enjoying the book, and find the tips useful. …moreIt's about learning how to more easily make the best decisions in life - both business and personal. I'm enjoying the book, and find the tips useful. At the end of each chapter is a summary of that chapter. Very well done.(less)

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  14,840 ratings  ·  1,039 reviews

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Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
The writing was so-so, and their so-called "WRAP" mnemonic seemed both contrived and uninformative:

Widen your options
Reality-test your assumptions
Attain distance before deciding
Prepare to be wrong

AND YET this was a pretty great book when it comes to offering practical advice for all sorts of decisions.

Some concepts/reminders I liked:

- Look at a wider range of possibilities. For instance, ask what you'd do if all the options you're considering disappeared. Or consider multiple options at the sam
Daniel Taylor
Your decision-making approach is probably a variation of the Benjamin Franklin method: you weigh up the pros and cons and go with the winner.

But, argue Chip and Dan Heath, this approach rarely leads to the best decisions. Using the Benjamin Franklin method can still see you fall victim to the “Four Villains of Decision Making”: framing your choice in too narrow terms, seeking out information that supports your biases, being influenced by short-term emotions, and being overconfident about the fut
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Literally everyone.
How I Came To Read This Book: I subscribe to the Heath bros' email list and they sent me an email alerting me to their latest title. After previewing the first chapter I came up with a nifty idea for a (pending) blog post and requested a review copy of this book to help round things out.

The Plot: As with the first two Heath bros' books, this is an advice compendium on a single topic - decision making. Culling real-world examples and other experts' advice, you're walked through a four-step proce
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
"I know one thing: that I know nothing."
- Socrates

For the past few years I've had a fascinating and fun journey working my way through a good collection of titles about how thinking works; more specifically, about how thinking doesn't work the way we think it works. That we are constantly lying to, misleading, and deluding ourselves. That our knowledge, perceptions, beliefs, memories, and actions aren't nearly as rational and reasonable as we like to think. That many of our decisions, both the
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book has become my go-to reference for rational thinking and decision making. Highly rational and successful people will know most of the tricks in the book, but I haven't seen it codified in a single place before. The well-read in this area will already be familiar with much of the research: Kahneman, Ariely, Thaler, Roberto, Carroll, and so on. The topics:

1) Widen your options. There are never only just two choices, think about opportunity costs, or creative ways to get everything. Find s
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work
The book won't necessarily make you more decisive, but it will make you more confident in making your decisions. I know I sometimes agonize over major life decisions, and this book has given me the tools to not get so stressed out about whether I am making the right choice or not. Everyone who thinks pro/con lists are the only way to make decisions, or the best way to make decisions, is seriously misinformed and needs to read this book.
I'm not sure "ooching" is always practical, but I like the w
Simon Eskildsen
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread
After reading this book, I feel embarrassed about the way I've made decisions in the past. Decisive is a phenomenal resource for a fantastic decision-making process whether you're moving, considering a new job, making a technical decision, or just about anything else. I'm already endorsing this book left and right—if you make decisions, and you do, you need to read it. The techniques and mental models introduced are useful for anyone.

Decisive claims at no point to help you make perfect decisions
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
I feel life seems difficult because of this 'decision' making thing.
Decision isn't just what one chooses to do rather it 'flows' from one's life to another. Our decisions not only affect our lives but other people's lives around us. In the same way, other people or institution's decisions affect us - sometimes make us happy, sometimes make us suffer !

Umm, this type of books sound captivating, trying to make decision making easier & meaningful.
How we can make better decisions not shading off our
Listened to this as an audiobook through my public library's Overdrive subscription/e-book lending experience.

Books like this are hard for me to sit down and read, no matter how engagingly written. I actually had the hardcover out from the library as well, and couldn't get even deeply into the first chapter. Just doesn't engage, my brain wanders off immediately. Sad. I used to read tons of prose. (I think the Internet broke me - Reddit especially).

Anyway, overall this felt a little fluffy - lik
I've only read the first chapter so far, but I have to mark it as read to leave some notes :)

"An American Bar Association survey found that 44% of lawyers would recommend that a young person not pursue a career in law." - p5

"[The researchers] asked the teams about their decision process--the softer, less analytical side of the decisions. Had the team explicitly discussed what was still uncertain about the decision? Did they include perspectives that contradicted the senior executive's point of v
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Economists like to talk about people as rational beings who weigh the costs and benefits of decisions. Psychologists know we're not the rational beings economists believe we are. We know people overvalue short-term benefits and respond to short-term emotions, fail to see other options, confirm rather than challenge biases, and jump in headfirst.

Want to make better decisions? Then read Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.

Chip and Dan Heath are not psychologists – they teach in,
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
No more checking Heath & Heath books out of the library to check out their merit. This is 3 for 3 for, "I need this on my shelf as a reference, to lend to friends, to reference in presentations, to..."

If you make perfect decisions, don't read it. If you want to improve, this is full of practical, effective methods.
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Key takeaway: When you make a decision, follow the WRAP-process: Widen your Options, Reality-test your assumptions, Attain distance before deciding, and Prepare to be wrong.
Mai Kijkul
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
An easy read (full of fun anecdotes!) that provides a solid framework for decision making. Most people have probably used bits and pieces of the methods mentioned here and there, but never so consciously or methodically. The point is to stick to a thorough process so we can ward off cognitive biases and keep our own egos and short term emotions in check. I found the advice practical and applicable to work and everyday life.
Jay Connor
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
A pretty good sign for the value received in a book is how many blog postings can you get out of it. If you count this book review, "Decisive," has generated three postings for me -- a good return.

In their book "Decisive," Chip and Dan Heath suggest that to make the most effective choices we need to go beyond the way we have traditionally made decisions individually or in group environments. They identified four “villains” of decision making that interfere with making good choices: narrow framin
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by the same authors was so good that I added this and another to my to-read list simply because I was interested in what these guys had to say, since they said it so well. This book is another great swing at taking a problem, analyzing it in an organized way, and presenting solutions that can help you make important decisions in your life.

They describe decision-making as a process and provide an acronym, WRAP, to represent four areas in which
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another book from the Heath brothers that focuses on decision making.
The book offers a very practical framework for decision making which helps you overcome the pitfalls you may face when making a decision. Examples of pitfalls include narrow framing, confirmation bias, over confidence, etc.
The book goes on to offer a process called WRAP which helps you make better life decisions. WRAP stands for:
Widen your options
Reality-test your ideas
Attain distance before deciding
Prepare to be wrong

The book
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received a pre-publication galley of this book as a Goodreads giveaway. I enjoyed reading Chip & Dan Heath's research into the biases that often unconsciously guide individuals and corporations in making decisions, how these biases can lead to poor choices, and the four-stop process the Heath brothers developed to help people make better decisions. This book will merit re-reading to help absorb all the steps and options they discuss. However, the examples and anecdotes they provide make readin ...more
Ali Sattari
Although I have read most of reference books mentioned in Decisive, Yet I hadn't put together practical techniques and advices for every day decision making. That is what this book had for me, a model (WRAP) for day to day application and constant practice. ...more
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad to have read it. Enforced what I've learned over time to be good practices (e.g. bookending future outcomes) and introduced me to new techniques (e.g. 10/10/10, ooching). The read itself was slightly laborious in the middle, hence 4 stars for me. Felt like I was attending lectures mid-semester, getting hit with one topic after another without a break. Once I had the end in sight and wrapped my head around the whole book (no pun intended), felt like it was a journey well worth taking. ...more
Max Tolstokorov
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I would give it 4 stars for the narrative but 6 stars for the box of decision-making tools and a dozen of "a-ha" moments. So the average is 5 :) ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
As far as the content and concept is concerned, I'd give this a 5/5. The WRAP process is well-thought out, and explained well. I'd give a 3/5 for length, simply because I don't think this book needed to be as long as it is. (So we'll split the difference and go with a 4/5). ...more
Nov 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
What did i learn?
Avoid the narrow frame
Try the 10/10/10 method
Ooch to get real data
Avoid confirmation bias
Set tripwires

It was interesting listening to different stories but it wasn't very cohesive.
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Most of us, when faced with a major decision, tend to make lists - whether on paper or mentally - of pros and cons. Occasionally we go so far as to use the Benjamin Franklin method and weight these lists, but that's often as far as rational decision making goes. We fall back on decisions where "it feels right" or "I have a gut instinct about this one".

That's not a great method, but it's usually the best we've got. In Decisive, Chip & Dan Heath explain, demonstrate and teach new practices which a
Jalynn Patterson
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
About the Book:

Chip and Dan Heath, the bestselling authors of Switch and Made to Stick, tackle one of the most critical topics in our work and personal lives: how to make better decisions.
Research in psychology has revealed that our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities: We’re overconfident. We seek out information that supports us and downplay information that doesn’t. We get distracted by short-term emotions. When it comes to making choices, it seems, our brains a
Mark Fallon
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Are you going to make any important decisions this year? Or at any time in the future? Then I recommend that you first read Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

At some point, you’ve probably made at least one bad choice in your life. I’m not talking about ordering “Death by Chocolate” with extra whipped cream after a large meal. But a poor decision that had a significant negative impact on your personal or business life. You want to avoid similar pa
I don't want to call this book "common sense" because I just finished ripping up another business book based on the "common sense" paradigm. Common sense is not good enough, you need a preponderance of evidence out of the hierarchy of scientific evidence to make business advice- there is no shortage of data about businesses, to do otherwise is lazy and potentially misleading.

Fortunately, this book combines practical advice (and I think when people claim "common sense" what they really mean is "p
Rob Thompson
About the authors: Brothers Dan Heath (Senior Fellow at Duke University, supporting social entrepreneurs) and Chip Heath (Professor in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University) are the authors of international bestsellers Switch and Made to Stick.

The book identifies the main issues that typically stand in the way of decision making: a narrow view on our problems, short-term emotions, and overconfidence when it comes to predicting the future. It gives knowledgeable insight into how
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Chip and Dan have done it again. Like their previous two bestsellers, Decisive takes an idea from a deep thinker (in this case Thinking Fast and Slow’s Daniel Kahneman), simplifies it, turns it into a readily digestible action plan, and wraps it in stories. In this case, it’s all about the lousy track record we have for making decisions. Here’s how to do it better. First, recognize you have four biases that push you to making bad decisions: narrow framing, confirmation bias, short-term emotion, ...more
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Honestly, this is not a book I would usually pick up and read. But it was sent to me for review and there were a few parts that I found interesting. There are multiple stories that include some type of choice, and then examples of what could happen and what did happen. Some of the titles include: The Four Villains of Decision Making, Overcome Short-Term Emotion, Consider the Opposite, and Trusting the Process.

I don't really like the way that the book is set up and organized, it made it rather di
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Chip Heath is the professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
He received his B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University and his Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford.

He co-wrote a book titled Switch How to Change Things When Change Is Hard with his brother Dan Heath.

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“Any time in life you’re tempted to think, ‘Should I do this OR that?’ instead, ask yourself, ‘Is there a way I can do this AND that?” 15 likes
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