Steven Johnson on Farsighted Decisions
Most people think they’re fairly skilled at making big life decisions. But in his groundbreaking book, Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most, science historian Steven Johnson argues that we’re not as good as we think.
Drawing insights from behavioral psychology, neuroscience, military strategy, and management theory, Johnson builds a compelling case for why typical decision-making processes are too narrow—and the benefits of a more full-spectrum approach.
In this course, you’ll learn to tackle complex, long-term decisions with conclusions from Johnson’s book—including how to map your options, predict outcomes, and consider your values before making final choices.
In this course Steven outlines why we should:
- Think Full-Spectrum
- Generate Other Options
- Seek Out Diversity
- Ditch the Single-Focus Approach
- Explore Scenario Plans & Premortems
- Consider the Possibility
- Weigh the Values
Brought to you in partnership with the Next Big Idea Club...
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Johnson is the author of thirteen books, largely on the intersection of science, technology, and personal experience.
A contributing editor to Wired, he writes regularly for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, and many other periodicals. Johnson also serves on the advisory boards of a number of Internet-related companies, including Medium, Atavist, Meetup.com, Betaworks, and Patch.com.
He is the author of the best-selling book Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter (2005), which argues that over the last three decades popular culture artifacts such as television dramas and video games have become increasingly complex and have helped to foster higher-order thinking skills.
This course is based on his book Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most where he uses a case-study approach to explore the deliberate, “full-spectrum” analysis process used by successful decision-makers.
Examples range widely, from the 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden to the destruction of Manhattan’s Collect Pond, and even include the literary depiction of decision-making under uncertainty in George Eliot’s Middlemarch.
Johnson mines these examples for decision-making tools: “We don’t have an infallible algorithm for making wise choices, but we do have a meaningful body of techniques that can keep us from making stupid ones.”