Book Notes: Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath 1

This book is about making better decisions. Unlike most books with that theme, it emphasizes thinking rationally.

Narrow Framing

Essentially false dichotomy. I think of it as a tendency to depth-first search (DFS) the space of ideas.


BFS is better if you want to explore different ideas rather than incrementally improving one. In a space of lots of ideas, it seems like it’s easier to just start over at a better idea than to stay fixed on one and improve it a bit since you’re limited by how good an idea it was in the first place.

Iterative deepening with pruning seems the optimal strategy here. Pruning means you toss bad ideas as soon as you realize they’re bad.

Brainstorming Together

Bad idea. It leads to DFS as people get fixated on a few topics.

Break up teams and have them independently come up with ideas, then prune together. In the group meeting, ideas can also be combined. Can run several rounds of this idea generation process.

Requiring Multiple Options

Having a few choices (3-5) gives flexibility, and isn’t that expensive. Stick to 3-5 to prevent analysis paralysis.

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