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If you treat an individual as he is, he will stay as he is; but if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.Goethe

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Réapprendre à décider

Réapprendre à décider

How can we make better decisions? By neutralizing the cognitive biases that give rise to many mistakes.

Author(s): Olivier Sibony

Publisher: Débats Publics

Date of publication: 2015

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[French edition]

“We are sick of making bad decisions.” It is with this observation that Olivier Sibony opens his book. And indeed, the business news regularly reminds us that even the most seasoned executives make significant errors. Didn’t Ron Johnson nearly drive J.C. Penney to bankruptcy by trying to emulate in this chain the success of Apple Stores? Didn't John Antioco, chairman of Blockbuster, then the film rental leader, turn down the hand offered by Netflix in 2000, depriving himself of a comfortable edge in the nascent online film rental market? It is tempting to blame lack of lucidity, but that would be a major error. The problem is that decision makers are human! And like all humans, they are prone to what cognitive and behavioral science experts call “cognitive biases.” These irrational and inevitable biases lead us to commit errors of judgment that can seriously deteriorate the quality of our decisions. How can we fight against this state of affairs? After reviewing the principal biases, Olivier Sibony offers an original perspective: we cannot fight directly against these unconscious biases since, by definition, we are unaware of them. On the other hand, we can neutralize them by using the force of collective debate. Chapter after chapter, he especially encourages us to dialogue more before making decisions in order to challenge our implicit frames of reference, and think outside the box to consider decisions in all their complexity. He supports his recommendations with many examples, feedback from executives and practical advice. An enriching and well-written book.

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