Discussion Book choice is ‘Decisive’

decisive sizedIncoming freshmen will tackle concepts of prospect theory, choice and values in reading the 2014 Freshman Discussion Book, “Decisive: How to Make better Choices in Life and Work” by brothers Chip and Dan Heath.

Each year UAB selects an annual Freshman Discussion Book that raises questions about ethics, social issues or diversity and introduces freshmen to the concept of difficult dialogues and institutional expectations.

“We feel that ‘Decisive’ can be extremely useful to students beginning their undergraduate careers,” said Tracee Synco, Ph.D., executive director for Retention Initiatives and Academic Engagement, who chairs the Freshman Discussion Book committee. “Gaining a general understanding of the process, knowing how easily our goals can get derailed and reflecting on past choices are skills that can benefit any student.”

The authors maintain that decisions are disrupted by biases and irrationalities and introduce a four-step process to making decisions to counteract those influences: identifying the whole choice, gathering unbiased information about the options, making the decision and, finally, sticking with it.

Chip Heath is the Thrive Foundation of Youth Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Dan Heath is a senior fellow at Duke University’s CASE center, which supports entrepreneurs who are fighting for social good, and a columnist for “Fast Company” magazine.

Dan Heath will speak to students about the book, its themes and its application during the UAB Freshman Discussion Book convocation Aug. 28.

An annual event at the Birmingham Museum of Art is scheduled for Sept. 16, when the museum will host a program for all freshman that features the “Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor” exhibit.

Additional materials that will be used in courses and nonacademic activities are being developed and will be made available through the Learning Management System and the Freshman Discussion website, Synco said.

The book is available at Barnes & Noble at UAB