Reading List: Decisive

UPDATED: May 14, 2024
PUBLISHED: April 16, 2013

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Crown Business; $26

In this exhaustively researched and occasionally exhausting study of decision-making, the authors of Decisive explore, dissect and interpret the elements that play a role in how we decide, what we decide, what we consider or fail to consider, and what we overlook or overthink. Best-selling authors Chip Heath, a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and his brother, Dan, a senior fellow at Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, identify four “villains” that muddle our capacity to make rational and smart decisions. These villains are narrow framing (limiting the range of options to consider), confirmation bias (seeking out information that only bolsters our beliefs), short-term emotions (being swayed by heightened emotions that will fade) and overconfidence (putting too much faith in our own predictions). To slay the villains, the Heaths suggest readers “widen [their] options, reality-test [their] assumptions, attain some distance and prepare to be wrong.” The authors of best-sellers Switch and Made to Stick offer numerous anecdotes to illustrate how these villainous obstacles cloud decision-making, plus practical strategies to help readers expand their options and avoid regrets–and make better decisions.