Decision Maker's Playbook, The

Simon Mueller / Julia Dhar  
Total pages
September 2019
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Decision Maker's Playbook, The


The Decision Maker's Playbook is an easy-to-use, “how-to” toolkit to improve managers' decision making, using visualisations, relevant examples and actionable checklists that cater to its main target group: analytically interested, busy managers and entrepreneurs.

The Decision Maker's Playbook will help readers navigate a complex world. Along the five chapters of the books, it will help you in:

  • 1. Overcoming Blindness (How to See What's Hidden)
  • 2. Connecting the Dots (How to Understand Causes and Effects)
  • 3. Sharpening Projections (How to Think About Tomorrow)
  • 4. Improving Decisions (How to Enhance Judgment)
  • 5. Shaping the Future (How to Act Smartly)

The Decision Maker's Playbook is your personal toolbox to help you make better decisions. It offers practical advice to help you understand, analyse and shape your world.

As simplified representations of reality, the 33 models portrayed in this book allow us to see patterns, identify relationships, and view the world from different vantage points. They help us understand and break up complex phenomena into tractable pieces.

From Unknown unknowns over Fat Tails to Counterfactuals, this book will make lesser known but highly relevant models available for immediate use – in a visual way, supported by applicable case studies and without jargon.

Table of Contents

  • Part 1 Collect evidence
  • 1 Illuminate your blind spots
  • 2 Bust your biases
  • 3 Explore your data
  • Part 2 Connect the dots
  • 4 Drill down
  • 5 Move the needle
  • 6 See the big picture
  • Part 3 Craft the approach
  • 7 Think on the margin
  • 8 Score points
  • 9 Walk the talk
  • Part 4 Complete the mission
  • 10 Multiply your possibilities
  • 11 Engineer incentives
  • 12 Make it happen
  • 13 Conclusion
  • Appendix: Confidence calibration
  • Further resources


Simon Mueller is the General Manager of The Bruce Henderson Institute in New York, The Boston Consulting Group's (BCG) corporate strategy think-tank. The book is built on a broad body of evidence. It is the result of half a decade of research, and numerous interviews with academics at Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, Harvard Kennedy School and MIT. Well connected series of advisers – including people like Steven Pinker Cass Sunstein, bestselling author of “Nudge”.


Julia Dhar is a Principal in the Boston office of the Boston Consulting Group, leading BeSmart, BCG's Behavioural Economics and Behavioural Insights initiative. Julia has advised and implemented major behaviour change efforts across a range of government services and topics, including economic development and planning, finance, labour, education and social welfare. She has worked with clients to embed the science of behaviour change in sectors as diverse as Airlines, Travel and Tourism, Energy, IT and Telecommunications.

Julia is also a core member of the Public Sector, People and Organization and Social Impact Practices. Deeply involved in the firm's IP development on Impact Investing and the Future of Work, she was previously Private Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in New Zealand. Julia holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.