The Secret Life of Decisions

PM World Book Review 

pmwj26-sep2014-Mehrooz-IMAGE1 BOOKBook Title: The Secret Life of Decisions
Author: Meena Thuraisingham in collaboration with Wolfgang Lehmacher
Publisher: Gower
Format: Soft cover; 203 pages
Publication Date:  2013
ISBN: 978-1-4094-5327-7
Reviewer: Nazanin Mehrooz, PMP
Review Date:            July 2014

Introduction to the Book

Leader often have to make decisions which impact the success of their organization and projects. This book raises awareness on how imprecise the decision making process is and how often organizational leaders make these decisions in irrational ways based on emotions, thinking habits, personal filters and bias. It also provides guidance on how to alter the decision making process by identifying ways to evolve towards more successful strategies.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book is broken down into 3 sections:

  1. The cost of biased judgment and bad decisions: This section focuses on the physiology and psychology of decision making process and reveals the root of biased thinking.
  1. Defying the myths, revealing the secrets and choosing wisely: A review of five decisions every leader has to make and the eight myths which they need to be aware of. For each of these myths, two cases studies are shared along with recommended corrective actions to address the biases.
  1. Delivering best practice decision behavior: Ideas on how to incorporate best approaches in your daily decision making process and evolving towards next generation of futuristic thinking. 

Highlights: What’s New in this Book

I learned a great deal about how our perceptual systems work after reading this book. It is very interesting to understand how we all use intuitive (automatic) and deductive (analytical) thinking every day. An example of intuitive thinking is turning on a light when you enter a dark room without much thought. Our deductive thinking is based on pure association and covers most of our thought process. One of the highlights for me was a better understanding of how using intuitive thinking without sufficient analysis often ends up in costly decisions.


To read entire Book Review (click here)

About the Reviewer

Nazanin-MehroozNazanin Mehrooz, PMP, CSMflag-usa

Texas, USA 

Nazanin Mehrooz is a certified project manager and scrum master. Nazanin started her career as a software developer and transitioned to leading mid-size teams as both a functional manager and (most currently) a senior project manager in technology services at BNSF. Her background includes managing a portfolio of up to 30 projects with budgets exceeding 15 Million USD. Nazanin is an active volunteer for the PMI Dallas and Fort Worth Chapters. Email: [email protected] 

Editor’s note: This book review was the result of cooperation between the publisher, PM World and the Dallas Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI Dallas Chapter – www.pmidallas.org). Authors and publishers provide books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library. PMI members can keep the books as well as receive PDUs for PMP recertification when their book reviews are published. PMI Dallas Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books. If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected].