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Hardcover $28.99
Left Brain, Right Stuff
How Leaders Make Winning Decisions

Summary

Left Brain, Right Stuff takes up where other books about decision making leave off. For many routine choices, from shopping to investing, we can make good decisions simply by avoiding common errors, such as searching only for confirming information or avoiding the hindsight bias. But as Phil Rosenzweig shows, for many of the most important, more complex situations we face—in business, sports, politics, and more—a different way of thinking is required. Leaders must possess the ability to shape opinions, inspire followers, manage risk, and outmaneuver and outperform rivals.

Making winning decisions calls for a combination of skills: clear analysis and calculation—left brain—as well as the willingness to push boundaries and take bold action—right stuff. Of course leaders need to understand the dynamics of competition, to anticipate rival moves, to draw on the power of statistical analysis, and to be aware of common decision errors—all features of left brain thinking. But to achieve the unprecedented in real-world situations, much more is needed. Leaders also need the right stuff. In business, they have to devise plans and inspire followers for successful execution; in politics, they must mobilize popular support for a chosen program; in the military, commanders need to commit to a battle strategy and lead their troops; and in start-ups, entrepreneurs must manage risk when success is uncertain. In every case, success calls for action as well as analysis, and for courage as well as calculation.

Always entertaining, often surprising, and immensely practical, Left Brain, Right Stuff draws on a wealth of examples in order to propose a new paradigm for decision making in synch with the way we have to operate in the real world. Rosenzweig's smart and perceptive analysis of research provides fresh, and often surprising, insights on topics such as confidence and overconfidence, the uses and limits of decision models, the illusion of control, expert performance and deliberate practice, competitive bidding and new venture management, and the true nature of leadership.

about Phil Rosenzweig

  • Phil Rosenzweig is professor at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he works with leading companies on questions of strategy and organization. He is a native of Northern California, where he worked for Hewlett-Packard. Prior to IMD, he was an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. Rosenzweig's PhD is from the Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous articles in journals including Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, Management Science, and Strategic Management Journal. His 2007 book, The Halo Effect...and the Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers, was described by the Wall Street Journal as ?a trenchant view of business and business adviceh and lauded by Nassim Nicholas Taleb as ?one of the most important management books of all time.h

reviews

“With compelling accounts and research results, Phil Rosenzweig takes us through the world of big, strategic decisions. They are thorny, complex, and risky, and he shows that they require analytic thinking, intuitive judgment, and personal confidence without certitude. Left Brain, Right Stuff delivers an invaluable framework for making good and timely decisions by all who sit in a leadership chair.” — Michael Useem, director of the Wharton Leadership Center, University of Pennsylvania, and co-author of Boards That Lead

“No one thinks as clearly—and writes as clearly—as Phil Rosenzweig does about the diagnostic challenges of assessing the quality of business judgment and about the prescriptive challenges of improving it.” — Philip E. Tetlock, Annenberg University Professor, University of Pennsylvania, author of Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?

“Left Brain, Right Stuff intrigued me on a number of levels. By parsing strategic situations, Rosenzweig convinces us that we control more than we think we do. When we believe in ourselves, we increase the probability of a great outcome. Then add in an understanding of ‘winner take all' competition and the need to assess relative performance (not absolute performance), and my eyes were opened wide.” — Joanna Barsh, director emeritus, McKinsey and Co.

“Rosenzweig challenges the reader to contemplate the context of real-world decisions… [his] storytelling is fascinating.” Huffington Post

“[This] reads like a call to action for social-science researchers, imploring them to expand their scope and refine their methodology so that their conclusions will be more pertinent to the thorny choices faced by corporate leaders. Surely Mr. Rosenzweig is onto something here: Researchers need to venture outside the lab and observe the real-world expression of the phenomena they are dissecting.” Wall Street Journal

“Rosenzweig offers a different slant on how successful businessmen and other leaders assess risk… A provocative reconsideration of the power of positive thinking.” Kirkus Reviews

“Rosenzweig's advice is sound and his prose is highly readable.” Publishers Weekly

other editions

  • Hardcover | ISBN 9781610393072
    Pub date: 01/07/2014 | Price: $28.99 / 32.00 Canada
    Publisher: PublicAffairs
    6.625 x 9.500 | 336 Pages
    BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Decision-Making & Problem Solving
    PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
    SELF-HELP / Personal Growth / Success
  • eBook | ISBN 9781610393089
    Pub date: 01/07/2014 | Price: $28.99 / 36.99 Canada
    Publisher: PublicAffairs
    336 Pages
    BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Decision-Making & Problem Solving
    PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
    SELF-HELP / Personal Growth / Success