Rolf Dobelli 2013 The Art Of Thinking Clearly

I picked up this book because I’d loved his earlier eleven page essay. It implores those of us that wish to achieve to completely “avoid news”. As someone guilty of watching far too much rolling tv current affairs, he pushed at a stubbornly hinged, but nonetheless naggingly ajar, door.

The format is also appealing. Simple lessons in how not to get caught in 99 types of thought-trap. Each a readily digestible two pages.

Many begin with a pleasant, obscure – yet thankfully global as opposed to the American-obsessed rubbish I find so disheartening – tale from across the ages. Before isolating some academic rigour to further illuminate. Then a snappy action sum-up as your tweet-sized takeaway.

Business nuggets revealing the author’s personality are sprinkled liberally throughout;

Don’t bother with anything ‘MBA’. Successful CEOs are simply plain old lucky. Serial entrepreneurs don’t really exist. Never work with anyone charging by the hour or refusing a fixed price. Avoid the knottiest looking of business problems.

I also chuckled knowingly at three gem quotes found within (that I made instagram slides of);

never ask a barber for a haircut (old adage)

if your only tool is a hammer, all your problems will be nails (Mark Twain)

negative knowledge (what not to do) is much more potent than positive knowledge (what to do)

Although written for general purpose, there are quality selling steers for the Sales-savvy. Here’s eight (with Dobelli’s chapter number shown upfront):

30 Anchors. Delightful example of power of establishing price at an early stage where consulting rep would drop a line like ‘so you’re not surprised with any future quote, we recently did something similar for one of your competitors and it cost $(huge-amount)’.

32 Loss Aversion. One of my all-time favourites. I love presenting its sibling, prospect theory, to salesteams and watching the bombs fly. As “we fear loss more than we value gain”, “if you want to convince someone about something, don’t focus on the advantages; instead highlight how it helps them dodge the disadvantages”.

53 Decision Fatigue. Making decisions is exhausting. His delicious point is that if you want someone to put their tick in your box, the earlier in the day you ask them the better…and forget arranging that crucial close meeting any time after lunch.

59 Information Bias. The Jorge Luis Borges demonstration of the country only allowing a 1:1 accurate map is wonderful. The search for that extra piece of elusive info is always in vain. Stick to the bare facts. Any enemy you have, swamp them “with reams of data and analysis”.

60 Effort Justification (linked with 5 Sunk Cost Fallacy). Just because you’ve invested blood, sweat and tears on a bid doesn’t mean you should be blind to continuing on it. People need to embrace #fastfail.

73 Primacy & Recency Effects. The first opinion aired in a room tends to become the most influential. First and last impression dominate. Anything in the “middle” gets lost in the noise.

92 Déformation Professionelle. This is about my previously highlighted “man with the hammer tendency”. For example; Discuss; Marketeers insist any business problem will only be solved when you give them more cash and clout…

97 Fallacy Of The Single Cause. His title of “the stone-age hunt for scapegoats” is lovely. There is hardly ever a standalone single reason for something happening – or more often not happening. This can be an outstanding insight to bring to bids. The more causes you list – and therefore more than any competition can muster – behind reasons to buy, the more likely you will prevail.

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