Why Flip a Coin: The Art and Science of Good Decisions
Why Flip a Coin? Drawing on a host of research findings and scores of examples—from how to win a war to how to win the office football pool—H. W. Lewis presents a host of brain-teasing problems and amusing scenarios that reveal the clever ways to avoid the chaos and anxiety of decision dilemmas. Inviting readers to play "The Dating Game," he shows how to make a fateful decision when you don’t yet know what all your options are. Telling the classic stories of "The Prisoners’ Dilemma" and "The Lady or the Tiger?", he shows how to weigh the intentions of hostile competitors and effectively anticipate their next moves. "The prize for making better decisions than your opponent may be your own survival," he says. "It pays to practice before the stakes get that high." Like a brilliant detective uncovering the clues to a tricky mystery, Lewis unravels the systematic procedures you can use to separate the threads of options, consequences, probabilities, and preferences that will lead to the optimal choice. He points out the mistakes we so often make when facing a wide variety of decision-making pressures, and shows how to organize your thinking to achieve a clear state of mind when confronting any particular decision. You’ll be amazed as Lewis examines the hidden patterns that profoundly influence legal decisions, the conduct of war, and the course of history itself. He shows how electoral systems can be manipulated to skew the choices and produce unintended results; how the concept of the random walk applies to the stock market; how scientific strategies can be used in gambling; and how understanding standard deviation and regression can lead to better predictions in both personal and professional life. If you’d like to become a better decision-maker, your decision to read this thoroughly enjoyable book will be among the first in a long series of very good decisions.