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Book Review: Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

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Decisive: How To Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath is an important reference on strategic decision making. The authors describe critical processes to facilitate making decisions on highly complex issues with multiple decision paths and numerous complexities.

One of the most important pieces of advice by the authors is to use multiple creative processes or tracks in order to learn the shape of a problem and its potential boundaries, pitfalls and even opportunities.Often, we will have unarticulated options as more information becomes available.

Another important step is to run small experiments to test theories developed from an initial investigation and understanding of a problem. The authors show how these initial tests will help to refine a basic model and shed bias and irrationalities due to the introduction of practical application. Some decision-makers set tripwires for action when an opportunity arises for taking risks in return for advancing predefined goals.

To arrive at reality in a decision-making process, the book recommends testing assumptions and distancing yourself from preconceived notions of how things either work or should operate in practice. A final imperative is to reduce short term emotions, prepare for the possibility of being wrong, limit risk and take action if and when the options run out.

Decisive is an important resource for strategic decision articulation and action. The book will be helpful for a wide audience of institutional planners, decision-makers, senior managers and the government sector. The presentation is brief and easy to comprehend.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.