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Book Review: Decision Checklist: Your Guide To Making Better Decisions and Becoming The Leader You Are Meant To Be by Sam Kyle
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Book Review: Decision Checklist: Your Guide To Making Better Decisions and Becoming The Leader You Are Meant To Be by Sam Kyle - Executive Leadership Articles

Book Review: Decision Checklist: Your Guide To Making Better Decisions and Becoming The Leader You Are Meant To Be by Sam Kyle

Executive Leadership Articles

Book Review: Decision Checklist: Your Guide To Making Better Decisions and Becoming The Leader You Are Meant To Be by Sam Kyle

At first glance, Sam Kyle’s Decision Checklist: Your Guide to Making Better Decisions and Becoming the Leader You Are Meant to Be (self-published, 2018) is easy to dismiss. It’s self-published, a category of books we usually filter out of our career-related reading selections, only because we can only read so many books per year, and certain reputable publishing houses have proven records in releasing valuable material. It’s written in an especially simple voice, one which sounds conversational but doesn’t pay enough attention to the details of good writing, a decision underscored by the author’s calling himself “today’s Everyman.” He has a penchant for over-explaining simple-to-grasp ideas and examples, a method that works in a sales pitch but can be frustrating in a book.

However, despite Kyle’s tendency to state the obvious, it’s clear he has put some decent thought into his thesis, and there are a few strengths here worth considering. The book is short at about 138 pages. It’s easy to read. The digital version costs about three bucks. And for the aspiring leader who has never seriously considered his or her decision-making style, it’s a pretty good roadmap for arriving at one. “I wanted to provide another resource, all in one place, where people could learn how to make better decisions to improve their careers and their lives,” Kyle writes. “When it come to making decisions … the person with the fewest blind spots wins. The more we can eliminate any blind spots we have when making decisions, the more we will improve our ability to make correct decisions, and thus improve our organizations.”

This last quote is an example of several of the problems with this book: too many words and too much explanation to share a simple thought. Yet the underlying concept, of understanding that decision-making involves perception of what we know and what we don’t, is more than valid. For someone trying to articulate his or her decision-making philosophy, it’s not a bad place to begin, and here is where some readers will find great value.

Kyle puts a fair amount of emphasis on keeping what he calls a decision journal, with some rather specific advice for keeping it (including “handwrite in our journal”). As introspective reflection goes, this formalized method isn’t bad, and he reminds his audience to keep in mind that evaluating our decisions is “not just about outcomes.” Process, not product, is the unspoken emphasis, something many aspiring leaders can stand reinforcement on.

The journal facilitates Kyle’s mental perspective on decision-making, outlined in his chapter titles: Know Thyself, Own Your Power, Overcome Obstacles, Mind Your Thoughts, Know What You Know, Just Do It, Look Back, and Make Time. If none of these chapter titles sounds especially original, this is not a book for you. However, because of its short chapters, formalized reflection, and conversational tone, it can be a useful starting point for leaders in training, especially those working in groups. The author seems careful to say that there is no one approach to good decision-making; his purpose is to help the reader figure out his or her own approach. As a group project for young leaders (even high-schoolers!), you could do a lot worse than this brief, inexpensive guide for establishing decision-making philosophies.

 

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Book Review: Decision Checklist: Your Guide To Making Better Decisions and Becoming The Leader You Are Meant To Be by Sam Kyle - Executive Leadership Articles

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