Critical Essay on Book: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Paper Type:  Book review
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1742 Words
Date:  2022-05-02


"How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work" is a geo-reference read for all right-thinking and rational-thinking members of the society, leaders, and ordinary citizens (Heath & Heath, 13). Successful people probably have applied the lessons learned from the book, even though they may not modify the text in a single-sourced place. Some famous characters have read the book including Thaler, Carroll, and Roberto. The book is broken down into four chapters; the first one is widening the options, second reality test, third attaining distance before decision making, and finally, the need to prepare to be wrong. The book is the classic model for all those people grappling with different decisions in different phases of their lives.

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Chapter I: Widen your Options

There can be no limit to choices in life. Readers are instead encouraged to think about the opportunity costs and be incredibly creative in exploiting all available avenues. Find people who have solved the problem you may be facing currently. Widening our options means we take into account the opportunity costs. (Heath & Heath, 15). You can make significant progress with the slightest exposure to an alternative in life, and in such a way, we can improve the options we have in life. Ask yourself what you are giving up by making a particular decision, and consider whether there are other better things we would do with the money we have as savings.

Aladdin has an eccentric brother, who is older than himself. The brother takes the options away instead of granting them. That is the vanishing options test. If the current options cannot help, then what would you possibly do? When people lack choices in life, they take their spotlight somewhere else, for a while. Multi-tracking is another trick in considering options. (Heath & Heath, 14). The decision maker has more than one option at a time. An example in such a case is the options available for executives who have to consider some variables. Multi-tracking helps to retain control and maintain ego. Widening our possibilities, therefore, is an avenue to enjoy the luxury of our choices.

Chapter II: The Reality

The reality of the times demands that you test your assumptions. Could your assumptions be wrong? It asks that you consider the opposite and see whether it produces a spark in your array of options. When you feel that particular preference is worth it and stands as a better option than another, then you can train your spotlight on such data. (Heath & Heath, 18). The first step to accomplish reality test is to develop self-discipline and take the prospects for a while. Ensure that you are ready for a disagreement. If there is no opposition to that decision, then you have not decided enough of the options.

The next important step is disconfirming our questions. Ask yourself tough questions to bring out the best responses. (Heath & Heath, 20). Try to pry information from other people. Ask both the salesmen, the retailers, and employees, as you make an effort to have a collection of all the information you may need to use. When our instincts make us judge that somebody's actions are positive, the question remains, how do we test the reality of our assumptions? The best advice is that you consult an expert as you try to gather information. (Heath & Heath,21). The reader can also engage a lawyer. The step is called the zooming in and zooming out. It gives the reality to our choices.

Chapter III: Attain Distance Before Deciding

Distance yourself from short-term emotions and set your core priorities right. Think about your decisions from different frames. (Heath & Heath, 23). Use the 10:10:10 rule. The first ten minutes is to ask yourself how you feel about the conclusion that you made. The next is how about ten months from now, and the last is how about ten years from now? The three frames guide us in reaching the best choices and decisions. 10:10:10 helps in levelling our emotions. It makes us think in more profound terms than merely living for the moment. We can shift our spotlights since we can assume ten years from now. (Heath & Heath, 24). We should however not ignore our short-term insights, mainly where they could be right at the time. The next step is that you learn to shift your perspective. Ask yourself what you would tell your friend about what you did with your options. We can see the outlines of our journey in such a case, in a more honest perspective. In such times, we can make bolder and better decisions. To attain distance, look at your choice from an onlooker's point of view. In such a case, we see the forest and not the actual trees.

Attaining a distance from your choices will enable you to honour your priorities. Ensure that the process neutralises terrible emotions through the WRAP process. What is it that drives you in life? What kind of a person do you aspire to be in life? What do you make of your family and are you giving them your very best? (Heath & Heath, 22). The emotional questions stir our passions, values and even our belief system. The intelligent machine is what we are made of underneath. The last part of the chapter stresses the need to enshrine our core life priorities. It should not be a radical decision though, but the most important thing at this stage is that you act on your choices. Even basic advice can do you great good. Avoid a situation where circumstances will dictate your decision as to the priorities that you take. Stick to those priorities that you have chosen. This chapter means that you will spend more of your time on that which matters.

Chapter IV: Prepare to be Wrong

Prepare to face a situation where you set the acceptable boundaries. Set a tripwire and determine whether that path will give you success. We have the right to prepare for the likelihood of being wrong from our anticipations. (Heath & Heath, 29). Stretch all your senses to what the future may have for you. Consider all the likely outcomes, whether they are good or bad. Remember that the result could be extreme but do not forget to have the reality check. The chapter asks that we stop being too optimistic about something by focusing too much on an expected result. We should, however, try to imagine the negative aspects of it as well as the efforts that you may require to out in all your chosen areas. Prepare also for the worst scenario with confidence. (Heath & Heath, 30). The stage requires that we apply premortems, which asks that we also prepare for unexpected outcomes. Consider the downside as well as the upside down of the issue. Run a preparade in addition to your premortems. A preparade ensures that you are ready for the honour when your decisions turn out to be a wild success, a year or some months from now. Are you prepared for that?

Assume you are wrong. The most effective ways to ensure that you meet your obstacles or challenges head-on is to conduct premortems and preparade. In such a manner, you can foresee the consequences of your decisions. Another critical step to achieving the much success that we need is to assume you are wrong and that you are even overconfident. In such a case where you give yourself a margin for error, you will be able to regain control of the options. Overconfidence can affect us as we try to make the right decisions. It tempts you to ignore the early signs of failure. If we are to succeed, we have to treat the future as a spectrum, not an actual reality. By preparing for both the worst and the good, we make right decisions in the process.

The Lessons Learned

The key lesson learned is that we should trust the processes to succeed. The WRAP process is one such powerful tool to ascend to success. We also learn that by continuous application of the WRAP process, we can attain a sense of fairness and that we can treat others better for the decisions that they make in life. It gives comfort and confidence and ensures that we remain consistent in life. The other lesson that we learn in this is that the process cannot be exciting, and hence we should be prepared to sacrifice the little for the great. We should also reflect and make bolder decisions.

Discussion on the Most Challenging Topic

The last topic of preparing to be wrong is the most challenging in the book. (Heath & Heath, 33). To make an accurate prediction of the future can be difficult. We cannot possibly stretch our imaginations to such times, neither can we tell what is going to turn out to be good or bad. It asks us to think beyond the possible points of comfort and go to the extreme of hard realities. It also asks that people should not be too optimistic and that they should prepare for either failures or success through premortems and preparade respectively. (Heath & Heath, 30). It compels the reader to imagine a reality that is beyond their reasonable guess. It also cautions against overconfidence and insists that overconfidence may affect the quality of our decisions. The topic also highlights how some of our judgments could turn out to be counterproductive, and asks that people should have personal premortems.


There are four critical chapters that the book on "How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work "offers to the reader. People should always find the options before they arrive at a decision, and the only way to achieve that is by asking themselves questions as to the alternatives that are available. Always pick the best. The second thing is to ensure that we subject ourselves to confirmation bias, where we distance ourselves from the decision and have a spotlight on its real ramifications. The third most important lesson from this book is that we should never base our decisions on our emotions. Emotions can be counter-productive. The last villain in our journey to better decision making is the effect of overconfidence. Nobody knows what the future may hold, and hence you are called upon to exercise restraint so that surprises do not slap you in the face.


Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2013). Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work. Random House.

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Critical Essay on Book: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. (2022, May 02). Retrieved from

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