Humans are bad at making good decisions, notes Richard Fast, creator of the board game “MindTrap” and author of Obesity. In this cohesive guide, he explains why and offers strategies for self-improvement.
Fast, who is also a certified trainer, wellness and weight-loss coach, cites numerous cognitive studies showing how humans often make decisions based on visual misperceptions, personal biases, and other “hidden traps.” In a 2001 experiment, a researcher in France tricked 54 budding sommeliers into thinking they were drinking red wine, when it was white wine dyed red.
“All living organisms …selectively adapt to a range of sensory perception” suited for their species’ survival, he writes, “and none “can perceive more than a tiny fraction of the known range of our physical universe.”
Too, the human brain is hard-wired for making quick and intuitive decisions, but in the modern world, Fast posits, this can result in sloppy critical thinking and bad judgment. He proposes numerous corrective measures: such as becoming more aware of “heuristics” or the mental shortcuts the brain often takes. He gives examples of people wrongly guided by “gut” feelings and emotions, and of others misled by “confirmation bias” who routinely ignore evidence that contradicts their beliefs. Fast stresses that decisions should be based on sound reasoning and clear logic. He urges readers to “be wary of what you ‘know’ to be true.”
This is a well-written, sharply focused book that will spur readers to question their own decision-making processes. Many case studies are taken from the financial and business sectors, suggesting this book is aimed at CEOs and entrepreneurs, though in a charming aside, Fast promises couples who make it a goal to become better decision makers, will improve their marriage.
Snazzy quizzes for rating one’s decision-making acumen are included, and there’s a colorful seven-step flowchart for aiding in making the right choice. For people in the business world and beyond, this compelling book could be a real game-changer.
Also available as an ebook.