The Challenge of Choice … how to make a “good” decision when it REALLY matters!

EDITORIAL REVIEWS

THE CHALLENGE OF CHOICE…how to make a “good” decision when it REALLY matters!

Loved it! 😍

A must-read book for those seeking to enhance their decision-making skills.

In The Challenge of Choice… how to make a good decision when it REALLY matters, Richard Fast presents a thought-provoking exploration of decision-making, dissecting the complexities that underlie our choices. The book unfolds in a methodical manner, with each chapter building on the previous, gradually revealing the details of cognitive biases and their impact on our decision-making process. Fast emphasizes the importance of self-awareness, challenging assumptions, and the need to engage both System 1 and System 2 thinking. The author offers a comprehensive guide, culminating in “The Anatomy of a Good Decision,” a seven-step process designed to foster clear, unbiased, and objective decision-making in critical situations.

The book is a well-crafted journey into the psychology of decision-making, blending insightful anecdotes, historical perspectives, and practical advice. Fast succeeds in making complex psychological concepts accessible to a broad audience, and the real-world examples effectively illustrate the concepts discussed. The organization of the book allows readers to gradually delve deeper into the subject matter, providing a structured learning experience. However, at times, the content might feel dense, requiring careful attention to fully grasp the nuances presented. Despite this, the author’s engaging writing style keeps the reader invested throughout, making it an enlightening read for those seeking to enhance their decision-making skills.

I would highly recommend The Challenge of Choice to anyone interested in understanding the intricacies of decision-making and improving their ability to make critical choices. It caters to a diverse audience, from individuals navigating personal decisions to professionals seeking to enhance their decision-making in the workplace.

The book’s practical approach, coupled with the comprehensive guide in “The Anatomy of a Good Decision,” provides valuable tools for self-improvement. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars for its informative content, practical insights, and the author’s skillful communication of complex concepts in an accessible manner.

 The Challenge of Choice … how to make a “good” decision when it REALLY matters! 

Richard Fast  – 29 Days Inc., 215 pages, (paperback) $24, 978-0-9879193-6-6 

(Reviewed September 2023) 

Humans are bad at making good decisions, notes Richard Fast, creator of the board game “MindTrap” and author of Obesity. In this cohesive guide, he explains why and offers strategies for self-improvement. 

Fast, who is also a certified trainer, wellness and weight-loss coach, cites numerous cognitive studies showing how humans often make decisions based on visual misperceptions, personal biases, and other “hidden traps.” In a 2001 experiment, a researcher in France tricked 54 budding sommeliers into thinking they were drinking red wine, when it was white wine dyed red. 

“All living organisms …selectively adapt to a range of sensory perception” suited for their species’ survival, he writes, “and none “can perceive more than a tiny fraction of the known range of our physical universe.” 

Too, the human brain is hard-wired for making quick and intuitive decisions, but in the modern world, Fast posits, this can result in sloppy critical thinking and bad judgment. He proposes numerous corrective measures: such as becoming more aware of “heuristics” or the mental shortcuts the brain often takes. He gives examples of people wrongly guided by “gut” feelings and emotions, and of others misled by “confirmation bias” who routinely ignore evidence that contradicts their beliefs. Fast stresses that decisions should be based on sound reasoning and clear logic. He urges readers to “be wary of what you ‘know’ to be true.” 

This is a well-written, sharply focused book that will spur readers to question their own decision-making processes. Many case studies are taken from the financial and business sectors, suggesting this book is aimed at CEOs and entrepreneurs, though in a charming aside, Fast promises couples who make it a goal to become better decision makers, will improve their marriage. 

Snazzy quizzes for rating one’s decision-making acumen are included, and there’s a colorful seven-step flowchart for aiding in making the right choice. For people in the business world and beyond, this compelling book could be a real game-changer. 

Also available as an ebook. 

The Challenge of Choice … how to make a “good” decision when it REALLY matters!

In this informative guide on making good decisions, Fast (author of Obesity … It’s NOT what YOU THINK it Is!) advises, “the degree of happiness and satisfaction you’ll get out of life will ultimately come down to the quality of the decisions you make.” He cautions readers to avoid relying solely on intuition, offering instead a seven-step decision-making process that outlines how to approach decisions scientifically, obtain objective feedback, and differentiate facts from bias and assumption. Good decisions are in everyone’s reach, Fast writes, asserting that “Becoming a skilled decision-maker is not about constantly striving to be right––it’s about being right when it really counts, and that is something every one of us can learn to do.”

Readers will appreciate the hands-on assessments, quizzes, and exercises Fast offers, making this resource not only technical but also well-rounded and accessible. He begins with an evaluation that identifies cognitive weaknesses, pointing out that everyone can fall prey to “lazy thinking” and bias that will negatively influence decision-making.

Readers will find other handy tools throughout, namely a quiz that assesses current decision-making skills, case studies to illustrate the guide’s concepts and a glossary of relevant terms. Fast breaks down the different facets that can impact decision-making, including groupthink, heuristics (“simple, efficient rules that help us form judgements and make decisions”), and cognitive biases—such as the tendency to ignore information that contradicts current beliefs and a preference for the status quo to remain unchanged.

Ultimately, Fast makes a decisive argument for why decision-making skills are crucial, and his straightforward guidance can be applied across a variety of settings. In his own words, decision-making is both a necessity and a privilege: “The defining feature of being a member of the human race––as opposed to any other creature on our planet––is our singular ability to make choices.”

Takeaway: Comprehensive guide on the art of choice.

Comparable Titles: Patrik Edblad’s The Decision-Making Blueprint, Joseph Bikart’s The Art of Decision Making.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: NA
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

THE CHALLENGE OF CHOICE…how to make a “good” decision when it REALLY matters!

Richard Fast

  • $24.38 paperback
  • ISBN: 9780987919366
  • August 15, 2023

BOOK REVIEW

Health and wellness coach Fast presents a systematic look at how and why people make decisions.

“We tend to think of successful people as being somewhat lucky—and luck is always a factor in a successful outcome,” writes the author in his latest book, “however, a significant component of luck is simply the ability to make good decisions.”

Humans, he points out, are bombarded by millions of bits of information every second but can only consciously process about 40 of them. According to Fast, this ratio extends to decision-making, noting that “the actual number of life-changing decisions you make may be as few as 20 out of the many millions you make throughout your lifetime.”

Drawing on research from psychologists, neurologists, sociologists, and others, Fast breaks down the workings of the various heuristics that inform the process of coming to decisions for most people, and he lays out how they may be effectively manipulated to play one set of human impulses against another.

In psychological terms, he writes, these warring impulses can be thought of as System 1 (the unconscious, “automatic” mind) and System 2 (the conscious, controlling mind); the tension between arises, he says, from the typical human craving for comfort via familiarity.

In these energetically written pages, which include numerous stock illustrations and photos to make individual points, Fast dissects a wide variety of cognitive tendencies from self-censorship to “groupthink” to biases such as the sunk-cost fallacy.

He’s excellent at clarifying these concepts, using examples from history and current events to illuminate how people hinder their own decision-making abilities. Readers are sure to see themselves in some of Fast’s examples and will likely learn a lot from them.

A fast-paced, thought-provoking behavioral blueprint.

My Take Away The Challenge of Choice

According to the author, we are merely observers of our subconscious and, subsequently, our lives. If that is the case, then why bother making choices if we will never know for sure what the outcome will be? The author covers all that!

The Challenge of Choice is quite enlightening and sheds a great deal of light on the way we think and decide. After reading this book, making a simple choice will never be the same again.

Second-guessing yourself is not always a good thing, especially when making critical, life-changing choices. But some of the ideas in the book make much more sense when you look back at many of the choices you’ve made.

The author did a lot of research on the subject of unconscious decision-making and is well-versed in the concepts. Everything the author talks about makes sense to the average reader, and the book is well-written and clear.

You will have a much better understanding of the issues regarding decision-making in general. Information about the subject of making important decisions will have quite an impact on those you will make in the future.

The Challenge of Choice will help you understand the way your mind operates and the steps it takes to make final decisions. The simple formulas used in the book to help you make a more informed decision may take some time to get used to.

After reading this book, you won’t make a perfect decision every time, but you will have much better chances of success when using the advice from the book for future decision-making.

The Challenge of Choice by Richard Fast is not an instant solution to bad decisions but rather a long-term remedy. It is a must-read for people with a knack for making bad decisions, which is most of us, honestly.

Audience

Young adults and adults interested in bettering their lives through enlightened, empowered decision-making.