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By Dennis V. Lindley

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Extra info for Making Decisions, 2nd Edition

Sample text

D. V.  . ' Flowering Wilderness, Ch. 14. 1 The Ubiquity of Decision-Making The subject matter of this book is decision-making: a study of how decisions about which course of action to pursue ought to be made. All of us have to make decisions every day of our lives. Most of the choices involved are often trivial, as when a lady decides what dress to wear, or a diner selects from the menu: though one can easily imagine occasions when these are of moment. Every now and again we have to make decisions which we recognize as important and to which we devote a great deal of thought.

Decision-making is therefore something which concerns all of us, both as makers of the choice and as sufferers from the consequences, and there can be no doubt about the importance of the subject. It is therefore somewhat surprising that so little has been written about it from a scientific viewpoint. Historians and politicians have discussed in detail how particular decisions were made; lawyers have studied certain types of decision-making in great detail; but until recently the scientific eye had not looked at the field.

Much needs to be done in the way of developing these, and, as a result, the reader will not find in this book all that he needs for the more involved decision problems. Nevertheless the basic ideas are here: the scientific principles are clear, the technological application of them is deficient. The business executive who looks for complete solutions to his marketing problems will be disappointed. To expect to have them is like hoping to find out how to build a bridge for a modern highway without having first learnt the laws of mechanics.

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