Sources of Power, How People Make Decisions - Gary Klein
By Josh Kaufman
When decision-making is taught in business schools, it’s typically presented as a rational, linear process: gather information, analyze the possible solutions, and select the one that best fits the objective. There’s one tiny little problem with the “rational choice model”: in the real world, that’s not actually how people make decisions.
In Sources of Power, Gary Klein studies time-constrained, high-stakes decision-making in the field and explains how people actually use their skills and experience to make decisions with real consequences.
Much of Klein’s research is focused on the military and civil service, so you’ll follow a team of firefighters trying to rescue a woman from a car hanging off the side of a bridge, observe an aircraft carrier officer order his gunners to shoot down an unidentified bogey, and observe the crew of Apollo 13 as they discover the reality of their situation, formulate plans, and adjust their goals and actions accordingly. Along the way, you’ll be exposed to the key elements of Klein’s “Recognition-Primed” decision-making model, which takes into account elements like experience, intuition, and mental simulation: factors that allow human beings to make extraordinarily complex decisions quickly and relatively accurately.
In Sources of Power, you’ll learn about the importance of communicating intent and context, asking clarifying questions, using analogy and metaphor, and how to deal with uncertainty and lack of information. By understanding how people actually make decisions, you’ll be equipped to provide your colleagues with the facts and context they need to make smart, informed decisions, and you’ll have a better understanding of how to ensure your decisions are as good as they can possibly be.
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