Notes from Decisive by Chip Heath

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath.

Voting is not a choice. It’s yes or no. It ignores options.

Biases influences our research efforts more than we realize. We look for ways to make the decision we want or evidence that supports a belief.

The goal should be to widen your choices, not narrow them. If you are choosing where to go to school, don’t think between two choices, think about what you want out of life. Better to get to know yourself and what you want, then you’ll realize the options will widen.

Opportunity cost decisions: picking between an expensive stereo or a mid range stereo and $300 of new albums. Choices widen.

It’s not much of a decision if you think options between buying something vs not buying something. You could realize the money could be used elsewhere. Now you’re options have widened and better decisions will be made.

“Whether or not” should be an alarm signal that options have not be well thought out.

Get in the habit of generating options. Otherwise you’ll stay fixated on narrow options. Even metaphorically (rather than literally) widening options works.

Why Silicon Valley has high failure rate. A narrow view of options.

Likeness and metaphors. Not physical attributes when naming products. Light vs small. Eg Colgate whisp.

Multiple options allow people to see the landscape and make better and faster decisions.

Know when to ask open ended questions and when to probe. Probe with specific questions when being interviewed “when did you last have dinner with friends and family” “did you work afterwards?”

Trust base rates of reviews and success rate. Eg. Opening a restaurant. Base rate of failure is 60%. Doesn’t matter if it’s a hot dog stand or a 5-star restaurant. It does not mean you give up, it’s just a factor in your decision process. Maybe you’re not betting all your savings. And the upside is huge. Then maybe it’s ok.

Ooching. Great way to make small bets to test hypothesis. Eg try to sell a new product rather than tons of market research. But is bad if total commitment is required such as mastering an instrument or major career change.