analytical Q

Suggest a Link Contact Flexibility
Table of Contents

Prologue: inspiration for writing this book, what I expect this book to do for the reader

1 Different Kinds of Decision Makers
2 The Basics
3 To Be or Not To Be
4 Multiple Attributes
5 Sequential Decisions
6 Decision Criteria
7 Flexibility and Robustness
8 Number of  Decision Makers
9 Human Judgement
10 Summary

References: Books,
      journals etc

Internet links


1 Test to see what kind of decision maker you are
2 Guideline/template to building a decision tree
3 Guideline/template to building an influence diagram
4 Guideline/template to doing a multi-attribute utility analysis


Form to fill out and send to author (Your case study - to be included in 2nd edition.)

Making Personal Decisions

by Anne Ku

This is a practical how-to book to guide readers on using well-grounded techniques to improve personal decision making.  It takes established techniques from the prescriptive domain of operations research and economics against the descriptive domain of psychology.

Likely Audience

  • Working adults who need help with personal decision making
  • Non-academic


  • Easy to read
  • How-to-guide, reference
  • Workbook
  • Illustrations (cartoons by my sister)
  • Lots of grids and diagrams
  • Useful references, internet links

Page Extent

  • 200

About the author

Anne Ku obtained her PhD in decision sciences in the area of uncertainty and flexibility, from the London Business School. She has applied decision analysis techniques to all aspects of her own personal life as well as advised other professionals in the course of her career in the UK, US, Singapore, and elsewhere. She maintains a website at which contains a wealth of resources for decision making.


Decision analysis sources

Scope of the book

Most books on this subject are divided into two camps:

  1. normative, prescriptive: how decisions should be analysed and made (operations research, decision sciences, economics) (DECISION ANALYSIS)
  2. descriptive: how decisions are made (psychology) (DECISION MAKING)

The two camps do not overlap since the first camp assumes that decision makers are rational while the second camp assumes that decision makers are full of bias. Furthermore, the latest thinking is written in academic-speak, difficult for the layman to digest. Hence such books are not widely accessible to people who actually need to make important decisions. Most importantly, the decisions considered are typically not personal, but managerial.

Any practical book on decision making therefore needs to:

  1. be simple yet complete
  2. covers different types of decisions
  3. be grounded in theory
  4. contain sufficient examples that readers can relate to

I propose to write a guide book that helps people analyse and make decisions based on the techniques developed in camp one and applied to situations that require the insight of camp two. There would be sufficient examples for the reader to want to read. There would be sufficient step by step guides and different types of analyses for the reader to refer and apply to their own situations. It also communicates my philosophy of decision making.

The unique selling points for this book:

  1. about personal decisions
  2. simplifies and consolidates the hard-to-understand academic research to the masses
  3. this material even in universities is confined to the economics, psychology, operations research, industrial engineering, and management departments.
  4. uses real life examples that people can relate to.

The inspiration for this book comes from a new book by Hammond, Keeney, and Raiffa (1999 called "Smart Choices." PrOACT is the process they advocate for multi-objective, multi-criteria decisions with no uncertainty. There are, however, very few diagrams. They did not address uncertainty or flexibility which are very important factors in this day and age. Their approach is decompositional - mine is holistic.