You are about to make a terrible mistake…

Here’s a 2-Minute Summary: To help the book lovers from Wingify recall, recap, and explain the big picture of Olivier Sibony’s You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake!

All decision-makers, be politicians, judges, policemen, parents, teachers, or corporate leaders, are subject to their emotions and biases. They could be personally connected to stakeholders, have personal interests, overconfidence, could be influenced by a deceptive presentation of the facts, etc. There is a long list of biases, their explanation, and insightful examples presented in this book.

Where do these biases, like those caused by excessive confidence and optimism, come from? How they survived the process of evolution? If the systematic mistakes made by cognitive biases were terrible for survival, natural selection would have eliminated the biased individuals, making biases rarer. Yet biases are universal. This suggests that these biases, or rather the heuristics, weren’t actually handicaps but assets for our distant ancestors.

The moral of the story – regardless of personal qualities, people are human, all too human, and many factors can lead them to make unjust decisions. This risk can never be eliminated entirely, but systems and processes can be evolved to reduce these risks. This observation does not question the skill and integrity of people. Of course, some individuals are better than others at keeping their biases and emotions at bay. They are clear-sighted and virtuous enough to resist the different types of biases and emotions. But let’s be honest and objective – we cannot expect all our leaders to embody all these virtues and overcome their biases in all their decisions.

In a corporate environment, just like in courts, police stations, schools, and even in a country’s parliament, it’s not enough for a final decision maker (usually a leader at the top) to be virtuous. That individual must also be able to collaborate with others; decisions can’t be made alone. And wisdom must arise from process, not from individual virtues.

Collaboration and process are the principles on which sound decisions are based. Period.



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