Summary of Streetlights and Shadows

Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making

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Streetlights and Shadows book summary
Everything you believe about how to make decisions is wrong – at least some of the time.


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In 1998, Gary Klein gave readers Sources of Power, a thoughtful, innovative consideration of how to make decisions in complex situations. Here, he returns to the same subject in even greater depth. Klein has spent decades studying and interviewing people, such as firefighters, soldiers and pilots, who make decisions in complicated, shifting, high-stakes circumstances. He discusses what most people believe about making decisions, and shows how they err...some of the time. In ambiguous, unknown settings or under complex conditions, people tend to simplify until their beliefs become dangerous. This entertaining book grapples with many of life’s more challenging situations. As a result, getAbstract recommends Klein’s insights to leaders, trainers and anyone who must make more effective decisions in crises.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What many people believe about making decisions,
  • How experts make decisions in complex situations and
  • How to make better decisions.


Common Beliefs About Decisions
The human eye sees in light and shadow, but uses different systems for daylight and darkness. In daytime, “cone cells” take in a lot of light, and you see the world in detail. When night falls, “rod cells,” which are more sensitive to faint light but poor...
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About the Author

Research psychologist Gary Klein, author of Sources of Power, is a senior scientist at Applied Research Associates.

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