“Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work”

So I just read “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work” by Chip and Dan Heath.

The thread

I previously read “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman. In a few words, it is about the cognitive biases that we can’t control. You just can’t, you are human. Just like you will turn to a loud sound in the room, your mind will turn to mental shortcuts most of the time and you can’t control it. Fascinating subject.

Should you read it too ?


The book has one purpose : provide you with a better set of tools in your decision making process. This is useful. The idea being that in a world of uncertainty where our own mind is filled with cognitive biases, the usage of a rigorous step by step approach – their method – can help us guide our thought process in the right way. We may be wrong but at least we are wrong for less bad reasons. The method is called WRAP.

Why the “meh” though ?

The process however interesting is mostly backed by anecdotal evidence throughout the book. The book very often looks like that :

“See ? That person did X, then Y happened. Therefore X is really a good thing to do and you should try it.”

Except that the action X does not lead per se to Y. The causality link can not be established, hence the anecdote is just what it is, an anecdote. Too often the general is inferred from the particular. Those examples can only serve the purpose of illustration but they do fill the book. They are its fuel, and it is a weak fuel.
However, the process they present to help guide the decision making is interesting and worth having in your intellectual toolbox (just maybe not worth all the reading).

So is the WRAP juicy ?

Yes. In a few words, the method forces you to break the cognitive shortcuts the mind takes when faced with a decision. See the thread ? Kahneman exposes those biases, then the Heaths built on it. The Kahneman’s foundations are much more interesting. Back to the WRAP, they propose to:

  1. Widen your options
  2. Reality-test your assumptions
  3. Attain distance before deciding
  4. Prepare to be wrong

I invite you to read the one pager here. The book fits in this page.

Next reading on my plate : back to “Thinking, Fast and Slow” while it is still fresh in my mind. I will build the thread backwards but whatever, at least it’s building.

Cheers and have a good whatever you are doing. Take a break : stop for 2 minutes, then come back to your task, it will feel better. Peace.

Thank you for reading.

Published by Emmanuel

Avid reader and writer

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