Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Think Again

In this follow-up to the #1 bestseller, Why Smart Executives Fail, Sydney Finkelstein and co-authors Jo Whitehead and Andrew Campbell turn their attention to such major strategic decisions as the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and numerous business cases to explain why decision-makers sometimes think they're right when they are really wrong. The book takes up recent research in neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and management to not only document why things go wrong, but also to offer a series of solutions that reduce our vulnerability to falling into the traps that lead to bad decisions. In light of the ongoing financial crisis, the lessons from this book are especially timely.

Why do smart and experienced leaders make flawed, even catastrophic, decisions? Why do people keep believing they have made the right choice, even when disastrous result stare them in the face? And how can you be sure you’re making the right decision—without the benefit of hindsight? Think Again shows how our brains can mislead us. The shortcuts our brains have learned to take over millennia of evolution help us most of the time. But, under certain conditions, they can derail our decision making. Think Again offers a powerful model for identifying when we are at risk – the red flags to watch for – and how we can design safeguards to help us make good decisions. Using examples from business, politics, and history, Think Again deconstructs bad decisions, as they unfolded in real time, to show how you can avoid the same fate.


Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions, published January 2010 TAG44

Why Smart Leaders Screw Up, March 1, 2009 Global Chinese Press (PDF)

Managers do the Daftest Things, March 24, 2009 The Economist

A Terrible Situation, February 6, 2009 Yahoo! Tech Ticker [video]

How to stay employed in tough times, February 8, 2009 San Francisco Chronicle

What are the main reasons that leaders make bad decisions?, February 12, 2009 Wall Street Journal

Crisis Leaves Rare Flaws in Goldman’s Reputation, February 16, 200 9Associated Press

Blinded by the limelight, February 23, 2009 Globe and Mail (Canada)

Murdoch’s Soft Spot for Print Slows News Corp., February 23, 2009 New York Times

The Next Stage, March 1, 2009 CFO magazine

Why Ken Lewis Destroyed Bank of America, March 3, 2009 Forbes

Yahoo’s search-business dilemma: To sell or not to sell?, March 4, 2009 Reuters

Dartmouth professor, author argues Ken Lewis destroyed Bank of America, March 11, 2009 WFAE: 90.7fm

Interview on Fox Business News, February 12, 2009 [video]

FT review of Think Again, February 12, 2009 (PDF)

Wall Street Journal interview: Why Good Managers Make Bad Decisions, February 12, 2009

(Newscorp) Rupert Murdoch paying $6 billion for WSJ [video]

(Yahoo) Jerry Yang's refusal to sell Yahoo to Microsoft [video]

(Bank of America) Ken Lewis' acquisition of Merrill Lynch [video]

Business News Network (Canada) interview [video]

Think Again feature on Tuck website

Modelling for Insight book cover

Sydney Finkelstein
My Blog - The Syd Blog

Jo Whitehead and Andrew Campbell
+0044 (0)20 7323 4422