Dawson goes over many concepts that are common sense such as realizing the qualities of a good decision-maker, finding categories for decisions. I found it helpful for students taking courses on general OR/MS. The author provides a guideline to categorize the decision problems. Is it a problem or an opportunity you must decide upon this distinction is important. Do you really have to make a decision at all?
Dawson emphasizes something that students must learn what is OR/MS is all about. One must have access to information to be able to understand the problem and make a decision. The author also emphasizes at length the importance of intuitive decision making as well as logical decision making. Both are equally important for any decision. I feel that, while students know how to do it logically, this book helps them to understand it even better. Successfully decision-making is not a talent but a 'learned skill' composed of 'concentrated though'' and 'rapid reasoning powers'. His predictable formula for reaching the best decisions and solutions combines analysis, synthesis and judgment and requires developing a sense of timing and ability to handle uncertainty and elements of risk.
The book contains interesting topics categorized into twelve chapters: The Qualities of a Good Decision Maker; Categorizing the Decision; Blueprinting the Decision; Intuitive Decision Making; Developing Rapid Reasoning; Expanding Your Options; Logical Decision Making; Reaction Tables and Decision Trees; Huddling; Barriers to Confident Decisions; Styles of Decision Making; The Nine Traits of Great Decision Makers; and The 21-Day Plan for Confident Decision Makers. Dawson lists seven steps to confident decision making, these are: Accurately categorize the situation so you start looking for the solution in the right decision. Blueprint the problem accurately, so your mind totally focuses on the problem it has to solve. Saturate your mind with facts about the problem. Position your mind for Rapid Reasoning by shutting down the left brain and stimulating the right. Move away from the problem, either physically or mentally, so your mind can view it objectively. Increase your options through a checklist of ten creative possibilities. The last step is illustrated in the book by several examples which show that often our intuition lets us down and we make sub-optimal decisions. Some decisions require for the most part, logic. Dawson uses the same example most instructors use in classrooms that of the coin toss. He describes using the coin toss to help make a decision, if only to see how you really feel about the outcome of the coin toss. He suggests making a list of the many possibilities, rating those possibilities on a scale of 1 to 10.
The author discusses reaction tables and decision trees in chapter 8. He uses a very good example of whether or not to build a house on a piece of land he owns. This decision becomes extremely complicated with costs rising or falling, different house styles, falling in love with someone who hates the house, etc? 'Decision Tree enables you to break down decision so that you can manager uncertainty more effectively. As you develop your tree of options, you need to accurately predict the likelihood of something happening or nor happening. That's where the science of probabilities comes into play. Dawson stresses the importance of showing the likelihood of an out come happening on a decision tree. Finally I would like to leave you with Dawson's 'Good' Decision Makers: Having a high tolerance for ambiguity, having a well-ordered sense of priorities, being a good listener, always building the consensus around a decision, avoiding stereotypes, always remaining resilient, being comfortable with both soft and hard input, being realistic about cost and difficulty, and avoiding a decision minefield. Overall, I have come to value the idea and usefulness of making decision using logical tools such as decision trees. I recommend 'The Confident decision Maker' for everyone interested to know what OR/MS is all about.