📖Notes on: “Decisive” by Chip & Dan Heath

Chip Heath and Dan Heath


  • “A remarkable aspect of your mental life is that your are rarely stumped” —Daniel Kahneman

  • p.9 Spotlight effect. We only see information that is immediately visible. We forget there is other information

  • p.17 Narrow framing (either or not question)

  • p.18

    When people have the opportunity to collect information from the world, they are more likely to select information that supports their preexisting attitudes, beliefs and actions.

  • p.19 It might be hard to recognize confirmation bias as it looks scientific — you do go out to collect data → You are susceptible to confirmation bias even if you seek out more information

  • p.23 obstacle: short-term emotions get in the way

  • p.24 obstacle: overconfidence. People think they know more than they do about how the future will unfold.

  • p.54

    Focusing is great for analyzing alternatives but terrible for spotting them.

  • p.55 we commonly lack attention to opportunity cost

  • p.56 Vanishing Options Test: → Vanishing Options Test

    You cannot choose any of the current options you’re considering. What else could you do?

    ^ this is a good coaching question

  • p.61 “Whether-or-not” is counted as one alternative (it’s either accepted or rejected)

  • p.67 Single-tracking, you associate more with the single solution you have. So you take the feedback more personally.

  • p.67 Execs who weigh more options actually make decisions faster → Execs who weigh more options actually make decisions faster

  • p.72 “Sham options” may be used to create the illusion of choice. If there is easy consensus, that might be a red flag.

  • p.74 Two mindsets: prevention focus, promotion focus. We usually lock into one of them but it’s best to consider both

  • p.79 Multitrack. It’s worth cultivating multiple options at the same time

  • p.80

    Push for “this AND that” rather than “this OR that.”

  • p.94 Use playlists to help you generate ideas, decide, or get unstuck.

  • p.112 Devil’s advocate. A person assuming the opposite position is helpful to overcome confirmation bias

  • p.115 “What would have to be true for this option to be the best?” — this question helps to reorient the discussion from defending each one’s favorite idea to comparing the options constructively