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The Little Book of Big Decisions: How to Create Your Fate Every Day





Book: 'The Little Book of Big Decisions: How to Create Your Fate Every Day'

Author: Peter Barge

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2006


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Napoleon Bonaparte observed that, “nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide”. Most of us will agree with that, but the real mystery is how to make good decisions. University courses tend to ignore the art of decision making, so we typically include a large element of intuition and personal bias in our decisions. As a result, Peter Barge finds that “poor quality decisions are the norm in business”.

Peter is CEO of the commercial real estate services company Jones Lang LaSalle and has worked in both Asia and the US in several different fields.  He stresses the critical importance of decision making, asserting that “the decisions you made led to where you are today”. In the business world, “a manager is a manufacturer of decisions”, so the quality of a manager’s decisions will ultimately determine the success or failure of his/her business – and career.


Maybe the two biggest problems in decision making style are making snap decisions and making slow decisions. Snap decisions typically ignore most of the possible options, so the likelihood of a good outcome is low. And slow decisions – or no decisions – are usually worse than bad decisions. Peter recommends a more balanced approach to decision making, in which we take our intuition into account, but also look at a wide range of options. We also need to be wary of personal bias and emotion, since they reduce the quality of decisions.


As the title suggests, The Little Book of Big Decisions is a very compact book. It has barely 130 pages, and many of them have plenty of unprinted space. If you measure the value of a book by the number of words it contains, you will probably view this book as very poor value for money. But if you are looking for wisdom and learning rather than just words, you will take a different view.


Peter Barge does not present his case in the conventional manner used by most business writers. Instead, he attempts to open up our minds with brief reflections on key facets of decision making. These mini sound bites are supported with thought-provoking quotes from great thinkers on the subject of decisions.


If you tend to agree with the quip that “I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure”, The Little Book of Big Decisions may help you to recover your decisiveness.