A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR MAKING DECISIONS by Daniel D. & Irving L. Janis Wheeler

A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR MAKING DECISIONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Practical"" does not really apply here; these are abstractions, pure and simple, and the nonstop jargon is likely to dissuade all but the most dedicated of potential decision-makers. To begin with, psychologists Wheeler and Janis carefully slice the decision-making process into five neat stages: we start with ""recognizing a challenge when it occurs,"" progress through searches for and evaluations of alternatives, ""commit"" ourselves to one alternative in particular, and then put the choice into action (included in this is anticipation of and countermeasures for setbacks). Alternatives are weighed and measured carefully by means of a balance sheet; not only are pros and cons listed, but each is ""ranked"" for its importance. The authors also deal with some of the issues implied in each stage. In evaluating alternatives, for instance, we often have to consult an expert whose technical knowledge surpasses ours; we are here offered tips on how to choose, for example, a surgeon: ""Phone the department of surgery at the local medical school and ask whether Dr. So-and-so is on their regular clinical faculty."" By and large, then, a dry, textbook-texture offering that will appeal only to the most cerebral.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1980
Publisher: Free Press/Macmillan