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Feb 1999
ISBN 0262611465
352 pp.
22 illus.
Sources of Power
Gary Klein

"Most studies of decision-making treat humans like rats in a laboratory. But Dr. Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders, fighter pilots, paramedics, and others making split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings."
-- Thomas Petzinger, Jr., Wall Street Journal

Anyone who watches the television news has seen images of firefighters rescuing people from burning buildings and paramedics treating bombing victims. How do these individuals make the split-second decisions that save lives? Most studies of decision making, based on artificial tasks assigned in laboratory settings, view people as biased and unskilled. Gary Klein is one of the developers of the naturalistic decision-making approach, which views people as inherently skilled and experienced.

Since 1985 Klein has conducted fieldwork to find out how people tackle challenges in difficult, nonroutine situations. Sources of Power is based on observations of humans acting under such real-life constraints as time pressure, high stakes, personal responsibility, and shifting conditions. In addition to providing information that can be used by professionals in management, psychology, engineering, and other fields, the book presents an overview of the research approach of naturalistic decision making and expands our knowledge of the strengths people bring to difficult tasks.

Table of Contents
1 Chronicling the Strengths Used in Making Difficult Decisions
2 Learning from the Firefighters
3 The Recognition-Primed Decision Model
4 The Power of Intuition
5 The Power of Mental Simulation
6 The Vincennes Shootdown
7 Mental Simulation and Decision Making
8 The Power to Spot Leverage Points
9 Nonlinear Aspects of Problem Solving
10 The Power to See the Invisible
11 The Power of Stories
12 The Power of Metaphors and Analogues
13 The Power to Read Minds
14 The Power of the Team Mind
15 The Power of Rational Analysis and the Problem of Hyperrationality
16 Why Good People Make Poor Decisions
17 Conclusions
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