Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions

Blunders and Buses…

The Guys blunder through another great conversation about leadership challenges and opportunities. All ashore that are going ashore! Ray and Zen explore the work of Zachary Shore and his book, Blunder – Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions. Have you made any blunders in your business decisions? Many have and still do. How do you avoid the pitfalls of bad decisions?

Perhaps it starts with taking a look at ‘why’ they are made; some examples and studies exist. Inadvertently we sometimes get thrown under the bus, sometimes on purpose, too. The Guys’ producer gets thrown under the bus momentarily, and recovers nicely. False starts are easy to fix.

Blunder is a book about judgment calls.  It is the story of how smart people get caught in cognition traps and wind Blunder - Why Smart People Make Bad Decisionsup defeating themselves.  This book offers one possible explanation for why people blunder.  The author suggests that we all sometimes fall into “cognition traps”—rigid ways of approaching and solving problems.

Cognition traps are inflexible mind sets formed from faulty reasoning.  They are the stolid ways in which people approach and solve problems based on preconceived notions and preset patterns of thought.  Although cognition traps are forms of faulty thinking, each rigid mind set contain a powerful emotional component.  They affirm that our reason and emotions are often intertwined.  We can all make wiser decisions by cultivating empathy and imagination.

The book is one historian’s take on cognition.  When scientists study decision making, they create experiments in the present and watch as the future unfolds.  Historians in contrast, begin at the end.  They start in the present and work their way to the past.  After figuring out what people did, they then explore the options.  Historians grapple with the challenge of getting inside their subjects’ mind.

Cognition conundrums abound with this conversation and The Guys take you on a circuitous journey with a bit of wit and wisdom from their years of experience. It’s one thing to research and write; quite another to blunder through things and live to tell about it. As usual, you’ll love The Guys style as they explore some very real concerns for small business leadership.

Tune in to the Guys for the usual bantering about business and make sure to look into the other shows we’ve produced, white papers we offer and Ray’s great crib notes on popular business books. You can get this week’s Crib Notes just by asking for it below, or you can buy the book.

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About Ray Silverstein

RAY SILVERSTEIN is an entrepreneur, author and speaker revered for his high business intellect and ability to communicate meaningful and practical concepts to those wishing to achieve success in business. As the President of Peer Advisory Training and President’s Resource Organization (PRO), he is instrumental in creating breakthrough moments for executives wrestling with an assortment of personal and organizational issues. Ray describes himself in metaphorical terms as both a corporate chiropractor, one who helps straighten out businesses and a corporate farmer, one who provides the corporate fertilizer that helps business grow. He currently presides over seven peer advisory groups in Chicago and Phoenix.