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The Decision Maker’s Playbook

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The Decision Maker’s Playbook

How to Make Data Meaningful, Meanings Actionable and Actions Reality

FT Press,

15 min read
12 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

You can make smart decisions despite confusing data and fake news. 

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


Making decisions is never easy, particularly amid today’s virtually limitless options. In this easy-to-use, decision-making guidebook, the Boston Consulting Group’s Simon Mueller and Julia Dhar offer a dozen effective mental tactics and cognition tools that respected thinkers and planners apply to making decisions. Their pragmatic, interesting manual is a fun read and surprisingly useful.


One: Use “mental models” to make smart decisions in an increasingly complex world that is drowning in data.

As the world grows more complicated, making smart decisions is increasingly challenging. You need the best mental tactics to puzzle out decisions rationally. Every day, you face hundreds of options – some small, some significant. Mental models work alongside – not instead of – your personal approach to problem solving. These strategies have power, practicality and value. Use them to supplement your cognitive processes.

To make “smarter choices,” utilize these 12 tactics, starting with bringing mental models to bear in your decision-making process. Cognitive shortcuts or mental models can help you see patterns, avoid cognitive mistakes, apply fresh perspectives, anatomize complex problems and – once you decide what to do – engage in productive actions.

Two: Frame the problem before you try to solve it.

Making decisions means answering the questions that solve problems. Begin by describing or framing...

About the Authors

Simon Mueller is a project leader at Boston Consulting Group, where Julia Dhar is a partner. She co-founded and leads BeSmart, the firm’s behavioral economics initiative.

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