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The Art of Critical Decision Making

Narrated by: Michael A. Roberto
Length: 12 hrs and 22 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Learn to approach the critical decisions in your life with a more seasoned, educated eye with this fascinating 24-lecture series that explores how individuals, groups, and organizations make effective decisions. The heart of this accessible series is a thorough examination of decision making at three key levels. First, you'll look at decisions made at the individual level, where, among the many things you'll learn is that intuition is more than just a gut instinct and, in fact, represents a powerful pattern recognition capability. Then, you'll explore decisions made at the group level, where you'll try to answer the question of whether groups are "smarter" and more capable of making critical decisions than individuals. And finally, you'll pull back to analyze organizational decision making, in which Professor Roberto demonstrates how some organizations have encouraged and reliably performed vigilant decision making in the face of risky scenarios.

Whether you're the head of a Fortune 500 company, a government agency, or an everyday household, you constantly make decisions important to you and those immediately around you. These lectures offer you a toolbox of practical knowledge and skills that you can apply to various decisions - whether large or small - in your everyday life and work. Professor Roberto's lively lectures are packed with useful anecdotes, tools, and advice designed to improve your own ability to make informed decisions. As you explore the intriguing process of making a good decision, you'll strengthen your grip on individual theories of decision making and the situations that illustrate them.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses

What members say

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Quite boring

After listening to the book ‘’effective communication skills’’ I thought every grand courses would be as good.

I didn’t enjoy this one as much, maybe you will

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Philo
  • 2013-09-15

Very rewarding, fulfilling its promise

This work is clear, well-structured, well-paced, and understandable. It moves fluidly between practical pointers (sometimes checklist-like, with nice summaries) and examples that keep it moving nicely. I admire the work of a professor who has obviously invested plenty of time, thought and experience into making such a crafted and polished product. I have read other books in this area (most recently "Guide to Decision Making" by H. Drummond here at audible), and I do like to sample around, but this one for me is head and shoulders above anything I've seen. Plugging these suggestions in to current decisions (alone or with others) makes me feel more like I am flying with "instruments" versus guessing with gaping (unknown) blind spots. Yet, the approach is not "paint by numbers:" good human reckoning is still required, but augmented with the assistance of various guides, reminders and prompts along the way. I'm sure I will listen through this one again.

57 of 59 people found this review helpful

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  • Ananthan
  • 2013-08-04

Great book for aspiring leaders

Where does The Art of Critical Decision Making rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top 10 books.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The fireman leader.

What about Professor Michael A. Roberto’s performance did you like?

The clear and effective manner of articulation of complex concepts

What did you learn from The Art of Critical Decision Making that you would use in your daily life?

To be aware of my biases and manage them in my decision making at my profesional career.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Queenmum
  • 2015-05-04

5 star with a caveat

The course got off to a slow start but got more and more compelling. I will probably go back and listen to parts over and over.

My complaint may sound trivial but it suggests a lack of care and respect for the listener. It is mispronounced words. Sometimes a reader just doesn't know the pronunciation, which is understandable though less so in a
Professor. Mostly it wasn't much of a problem. However, when a lecture concerns Three Mile Island and the lecturer pronounces nuclear as "nucular" over and over it isn't a mistake it's a choice. I don't know his reasoning but every time he says the word it interrupts concentration on what he's saying. I found myself waiting for it, which is surely not what Prof. Roberto intended.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2015-01-29

I feel like have learned so much.

I feel so much smarter. I listen to this book on my commute. Worth the money spent.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 2013-12-12

Worthwhile and true to the title

The content is based on years of research and presented through means of case studies. It is very well organized and easy to digest as an audio book. It was worth the listen and helpful for developing decision making skills.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • mc2
  • 2013-12-29

Good course but broad brushes a lot

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The political and PR POV were glossed over, especially in the Shuttle disasters.

Richard Feynman's analysis stated that management inexplicably believed the probability of failure to be 1000 times less than their working engineers. Feynman concludes "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled"

The Shuttle disaster was more than poor decision making. It bordered on a cavalier incompetence by management but the course painted the management in a much better light.

Case studies have strengths and weaknesses because what is presented is only what supports the conclusion. The shuttle disaster are but one. Having read some of the analysis on these events, I think that the course really misses the mark here and Incredibly, partially blamed the engineer for not making a better case!

What did you like best about this story?

The last part of the course had good material. In the end it emphasized techniques to ferret out problems that can be solved earlier vs later.It provided techniques that will help foster discussion, debate and result in better decisions

What about Professor Michael A. Roberto’s performance did you like?

Very good performance although there was a tendency at times to use straw man arguments.

Was The Art of Critical Decision Making worth the listening time?

Very good course. Offered a lot of very good ideas and techniques to combat group think and other decision making pitfalls.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • CHET YARBROUGH
  • 2015-04-09

CRITICAL DECISION-DECISION MAKING

In the Great Courses’ lecture series, Dr. Michael Roberto, characterizes leadership in “The Art of Critical Decision Making”. Roberto’s primary methodology is examination of case studies that range from the Cuban missile crises, to the Daimler/Chrysler merger, to the 9/11/01 Trade Center bombing. He offers perspective on how good decisions can be made when complexity exceeds average to superior individual human capability.

Roberto’s argument is that a structured participatory process is the most consistently productive form of critical decision-making. Roberto infers, as the world becomes more complex, individual comprehension and patterning of facts becomes less reliable as a form of critical decision-making. His argument relies on leadership structure that insists on communication transparency and qualified freedom. Roberto suggests leaders elicit ideas from engaged people, rather than only experts, in making critical decisions meant to identify problems, proffer solutions, and accomplish goals.

Leaders need to engage employees whose ideas will be listened to, used, and appreciated rather than abjectly dismissed. Executives, who are more concerned about position than organizational effectiveness, are not leaders. They are cowards.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicholas Grimaldi
  • 2014-06-30

Very good

What did you love best about The Art of Critical Decision Making?

The content was very good. In fact, I am now going through the book again to take notes.

What about Professor Michael A. Roberto’s performance did you like?

This book sticks to the content, rather than repetition, lame stories, or anecdotes.

Any additional comments?

I think dry books such as these need to be read at 3x speed. If you've never tried it before, give it 15 to 20 minutes... and see how you like it. I think you will adjust and come to the conclusion I have, that 3x is the only way to go when you are listening to subject matter that can be dry.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • 💋
  • 2015-05-04

This book will change your view of decision-making

Where does The Art of Critical Decision Making rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best audiobooks I have listened to thus far.

What other book might you compare The Art of Critical Decision Making to and why?

This book reminds me of Robert Greene's "48 Laws of Power," but this book goes into much more detail with real-life case study examples.

Which character – as performed by Professor Michael A. Roberto – was your favorite?

This was non-fiction, and the author did not present multiple characters.

What did you learn from The Art of Critical Decision Making that you would use in your daily life?

The best thing about this book is that its lessons can be applied to any decision one must make. The ideas in this book can literally be used every day.

Any additional comments?

I don't give many books the maximum rating, but this one deserves it. Bravo Great Books and Michael A. Roberto!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dolly
  • 2014-06-20

Great ideas, not the best audio

Any additional comments?

This book contains some great ideas. I am glad I listened to the text and definitely gained useful insights. However, the audio reading is not the best. This might be a book better read, if you have the time.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful