Do you want a simple and easy tool for making an important decision? The simplest “tool” is a heuristic. A short-cut like “take the default” or “do what everyone else is doing” may be fine for selecting a restaurant entrée or route to the grocery store. But what about more important decisions like taking a … Continue reading Taking the Red Pill: Into the Decision Matrix
Think back to the last time you had to make a hard, important decision. Were you picking an asset allocation for your 401k, selecting a health insurance plan or deciding whether it was time to refinance your mortgage? What kind of help did you seek and what kind of help was available? Were you confident … Continue reading How to Decide…How to Help People Decide
Open enrollment for health insurance began November 16 and the decision isn’t any easier than last year. On the contrary, not only are premiums higher and benefits lower, there’s greater uncertainty about the future of the Obama health care act. On a cold, cloudy Sunday afternoon, I analyzed my health insurance choices. Our choices and … Continue reading Health Insurance Enrollment: A Superhuman Decision
I recently attended the Behavioral Finance Symposium at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. The speakers were academics and practitioners speaking on the behavioral challenges to good investment and trading decisions. The crowd seemed to be mostly left-coast traders, investment managers and consultants. Many of the talks were thought provoking and left me with a … Continue reading The Behavioral Finance Symposium: Simple Fixes & Deep Challenges
Ethical Decisions are Everywhere The homeless guy I walked past. The hamburger I ate and the tip I left. The verbally abusive parent on the subway that I ignored. The $20 bill I found in the back of a cab. The elections. Life, at work and at home, is full of ethical decisions, choices about … Continue reading How to be Ethical in Under Four Minutes*
I recently visited with a 27 year old who asked me for help in figuring out what to do with his life. He is about to start at a prestigious graduate school and is feeling pressure to make some big career decisions quickly. Here’s the letter I wrote him, inspired by Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic. Before you … Continue reading Career Advice from a Stoic
Our decisions, and the actions they lead to, make us who we are. In that sense, decisions are fundamental to our identities, our humanity and even the future of our planet. But what is a good decision and how do we get great at making them? I want to share with you my answers to … Continue reading Can One Become Great at Decision-Making?
Group Decision-Making is Really Hard Whom should we hire, promote or fire? Who should we put on this proposal writing team and what should we propose? I’ve made or participated in such group decisions hundreds of times and I’ve never felt confident in the process or the outcome. Did we come up with the right … Continue reading The Promise and Peril of Group Decision-Making
Here’s a question that just about everyone approaching (and passing) middle age will feel ambivalent about: how does getting older affect our ability to make rational decisions? On the one hand, it’s common knowledge that our cognitive abilities begin to decline in our fifties. On the other, as I’ve written before, the accumulation of experience … Continue reading Decisions into Old Age: The Forecast is Partly Cloudy
How do men and women approach decision-making differently? An evidence-based answer to this question is important: If we want to make better personal, policy and business decisions, the tools and strategies we use will depend on our strengths and weaknesses, which may be correlated with gender. If we want to help others, we need to … Continue reading Your Gender: Your Destiny?