4-Step Process for Making Smart Decisions When the Stakes Are High

    New Book Introduces 4-Step Process for Making Smart Decisions When the Stakes Are High.

    If you’re caught agonizing over a life-changing decision, don’t just go with your gut. According to Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, author of Problem Solved! A Powerful System for Making Complex Decisions with Confidence & Conviction (Career Press, April 2017; $16.99), most people are swayed by public opinion or their own biases when making decisions. Instead, her book presents a way to evaluate information objectively.

    Einhorn is an award-winning journalist and Columbia University adjunct professor who believes good decision-making is a skill that needs to be taught universally. She developed a system that helped with her investigative reporting, and that also found a receptive audience among her students.

    Her process “The AREA Method,” stands for Absolute, Relative, Exploration & Exploitation and Analysis. The first steps refer to the type of information you’ll gather, including from the primary (Absolute) source and other perspectives surrounding your research subject (Relative).  Then you road test your research through interviews and attempts to disprove your information (Exploration & Exploitation), before focusing inward to interpret the information (Analysis).

    Along with steering you through the process, Einhorn presents four real-life decision processes to show the AREA Method in action — involving a career change, selecting a college, expanding an NGO’s service area and making the right choice for elderly parents.

    AREA advises keeping a journal and completing checklists along the way. It also builds in calculated time for pausing, or decelerating, to consolidate and consider information before accelerating again. Taking time to reflect on the information is a necessary step in the decision process that Einhorn believes too many skip.


    Problem Solved explains how to arrive at a good decision without spending lots of time or money, spinning your wheels or defaulting to making unreliable assumptions.  Instead, it gives you all you need to move confidently ahead with your decision. Learn more at areamethod.com.


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