#5 "Foresight isn't a mysterious gift bestowed at birth. It is the product of a particular way of thinking, of gathering information, of updating beliefs. These habits of thought can be learned and cultivated by any intelligent, thoughtful, determined person." (p. 18)
Phil and Dan write about expert and dedicated forecasters who predict world outcomes, politics, war, or economic upheaval. But, also notes that forecasting is applicable in everyday life.
“When we think about changing jobs, getting married, buying a home, making an investment, launching a product, or retiring, we decide based on how we expect the future will unfold. These expectations are forecasts.” (p. 1)
Improving our ability to forecast improves our decisions, which improves our outcomes.
#6 “By breaking down the question, we can better separate the knowable and the unknowable.” (P. 111)
When a question is complex and the answer seemingly impossible based on what we know, our authors tell us to break it down. What smaller questions can we answer that might get us closer to solving the bigger question? He calls this process problem decomposition—or Fermi-izing, after the Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi, who perfected the concept.
As a team working to ensure students learn decision-making skills, we know that this concept is a game changer. Fermi-izing gives students the agency to make even the tough decisions—by breaking them down, and considering along the way what they know, can find out, and matters most to them.
#7 Are you looking inside, outside, both, or neither?
Even the smartest problem solvers tend to look at the inside view first for answers, but the really helpful data most often lies outside. Starting with the outside view first gives us a solid basement of understanding to build on—it gives us a “base rate.”
Phil and Dan ask how likely a certain family is to have a pet. Inside viewers would focus first on the family itself—their living situation, number of children, age, etc. Outside viewers would first look for data about the percentage of US households that owns a pet. This provides a stronger starting point, or base, from which to build your prediction.“It’s natural to be drawn to the inside view.
"It’s usually concrete and filled with engaging detail we can use to craft a story about what’s going on. The outside view is typically abstract, bare, and doesn’t lend itself as readily to storytelling. Even smart, accomplished people routinely fail to consider the outside view.” (p. 118)