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Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions Paperback – 31 Mar 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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  • Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions
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Product details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press; New Ed edition (31 Mar. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262611465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262611466
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 200,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product description

Review

-- Thomas Petzinger, Jr., The Wall Street Journal

" Most studies of decision-making treat humans like rats in a laboratory. But Dr. Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders, fighter pilots, paramedics, and others making split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings." -- Thomas Petzinger, Jr., The Wall Street Journal

& quot; Most studies of decision-making treat humans like rats in a laboratory. But Dr. Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders, fighter pilots, paramedics, and others making split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings.& quot; -- Thomas Petzinger, Jr., The Wall Street Journal

"Most studies of decision-making treat humans like rats in a laboratory. But Dr. Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders, fighter pilots, paramedics, and others making split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings."-- Thomas Petzinger, Jr., "The Wall Street Journal"

"Most studies of decision-making treat humans like rats in a laboratory. But Dr. Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders, fighter pilots, paramedics, and others making split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings." Thomas Petzinger, Jr. The Wall Street Journal

Most studies of decision-making treat humans like rats in a laboratory. But Dr. Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders, fighter pilots, paramedics, and others making split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings.--Thomas Petzinger, Jr. "The Wall Street Journal "

Most studies of decision-making treat humans like rats in a laboratory. But Dr. Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders, fighter pilots, paramedics, and others making split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings.

--Thomas Petzinger, Jr. "The Wall Street Journal "

About the Author

Gary Klein is Senior Scientist at MacroCognition LLC. He is the author of The Power of Intuition, Seeing What Others Don't, Working Minds: A Practitioner's Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis (with Beth Crandall and Robert R. Hoffman), and Streetlights and Shadows: Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making, the last two published by the MIT Press.


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Format: Paperback
A rather grandiose title, but I think the subtitle is more apt for what this book explains. This book looks at a wide variety of case studies from how tank commanders operate in combat situations to how expert fire fighters are effective. The book explores how experts learn and adapt to situations quicker than novices, the effect of pressure on people’s ability to make decisions and how they go about making those decisions, the best methods for learning and conveying knowledge and minimum information people need to effectively carry out orders.
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Format: Hardcover
Gary Klein is something of a guru in the decision making research field but with this book, he makes his ideas available to a broader audience. My research is in the emergency decisions Fire Officers have to make and I have found operational command trainers find this book more useful than any other available at the moment. At the same time the interested observer will find the examples fascinating.
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Format: Paperback
Although I am not a professional in this area, I have had many experiences that required me to learn how people make decisions. This book goes a long way toward explaining these processes and provides plenty of examples to learn from. Not only does Gary Klein present his results, he covers how the data were obtained, its analysis, his assumptions, and how the conclusions were reached. It provides great insight into one's own thinking and decision making process. I was truly amazed at how readable this book was and how thoroughly real life examples were analyzed. I would recommend it to anyone in any field.
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Format: Paperback
Gary Klein is a cognitive psychologist who has "gone native," shifting his focus from the laboratory to the messy world of firefighters, tank commanders, and other naturalistic decision makers. Their work environments are defined by "...time pressure, high stakes, experienced decision makers, inadequate information, ill-defined goals, poorly defined procedures, cue learning, context, dynamic conditions, and team coordination." Instead of cataloging their errors, Klein has identified the mental capabilities that help them succeed. His book presents these "sources of power" for our consideration.

These sources of power include:

- Intuition depends on the use of experience to recognize key patterns.
- Mental simulation is the ability to imagine people and objects through transformations.
- Spotting leverage points means spotting small changes that can make a big difference.
- Experience can be used to focus attention on key features that novices don't notice.
- Stories bring natural order to unstructured situations and emphasize what is important.
- Metaphors apply familiar experiences to new situations to suggest solutions.
- Communicating intentions in a team helps members "read each other's minds."
- Effective teams evolve a "team mind" with shared knowledge, goals, and identity.
- Rational analysis plays an important role, but can be over applied.

The author spends some time with other theories of decision making, emphasizing both their strengths and the sometimes faulty assumptions they incorporate. He makes good points about the inadequacy of decision bias theories to explain successful, real-world decision processes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is based on close study of real decision making, such as by firefighters, medical staffs, and military commanders. Thanks to its naturalistic-anthropological approach, Klein's work is much more significant than most of the studies of experimental decision psychology in quasi-laboratory conditions, for instance on rather simple choices facing probabilistic uncertainty -- which reveal heuristics and biases that are interesting, but of narrow significance.
Instead of the conclusions on human "irrationality" arrived at by simplistic experiments, this book demonstrates that experience-based expertize achieves high quality decision skills, partly on tacit levels. These include, for instance, recognition-primed decision making, mental simulation, and making sense of complex situations by building fitting "stories, metaphors and analogues, though a number of error propensities must be guarded against.
The findings must in part be taken with caution, as they are based on oral reporting by actors on what they are thinking, which is not very reliable as recognized by the author (e.g. p. 291). But, all in all, this is a very important book providing findings and models of profound importance for all dealing with series of choices enabling development of expertize.
However, from my concerns with high-level policy making and criticl political judgment the book is of little help, as recognized by the author (e.g. p. 282, though not adequately discussed. Thus, to take the Cuban Missile Crisis, public health policies, choices on energy sources, or the Arab-Israeli conflict, with their singular features and radical uncertainties, little in the book is relevant.
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