Book Review: The Decision Book, fifty models for strategic thinking
Have you ever measured your problems with a rubber band? Do you know how to use a morphological box? Have you climbed to the peak of inflated expectations?
If not then this book is for you.
This book describes fifty different models of how to make a decision. Each model, includes a diagram of how the model works and prompts you to think about the model with some starter questions.
There are many different ideas to digest, and even though the book is quick and easy to read it pays to take your time and allow the different concepts to be absorbed before pushing on too fast through the book.
One interesting comment the authors make comes at the end when they say “We had no prototypes, so we had to break new ground.”
In the software engineering field we have exactly what this book has set out to do. Software developers have a seminal book that nearly developers of them have encountered at some point in their careers.
A book that takes problem-spaces and documents a well-known and well-tested solutions. These solution catalogs define a common language that software developers share. Ask any experienced software developer about Decorators or Visitors and they won’t be talking about expecting guests to partake in kitchen painting or hanging wallpaper.
I am of course talking about the “Design Patterns” book by Gamma, Helm, Johnson and Vlissides. The Design Patterns book documents common software design solutions. Describes the problem/solution that each pattern is designed to solve and the outlines the probable consequences of adopting this pattern.
The Decision Book follows a quite similar pattern (did you see what I did there?) and describes Decision Models by how you might use them and the problems for which they were designed.
What’s interesting about these decision models is that they often describe a problem space in a two dimensional space. Often with only two axis of measurement. I suspect it’s because these models are simple to communicate in a two dimensional medium like printed pages.
It’s noticeable that the few models that attempt to introduce a third dimension like “The Personal Performance Model” or “The Swiss Cheese Model” don’t seem as easy to understand or implement. Simple models that can be drawn easily on a piece of paper (or E-Book page) seem to gain traction in our minds because the two-dimensional nature of the communication medium limits their complexity.
I really enjoyed this book and can see myself coming back to reference the ideas that it contains time and time again.
The Decision Book, fifty models for strategic thinking. By Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler