Smart Choices A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions

Winner of the 1998 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR (Outstanding Book Category)


Making smart choices is a fundamental life skill, relevant to everyone: business people, doctors, lawyers, teachers, students, parents, young, and old. Your decisions shape the course of your professional career and the quality of your personal life. Yet few people learn real decision-making skills. Consequently we approach our choices tentatively, or even fearfully, and avoid giving decisions the time and thought required to turn them to our best advantage. Smart Choices offers the first straightforward, easy-to-follow process designed to improve the way you make business decisions, family decisions, personal decisions—any decision that can help you reach your goals.

Authors Hammond, Keeney, and Raiffa, among the world’s experts on resolving complex decision problems, have created a user-friendly set of techniques for assessing your options more clearly and effectively, ultimately empowering you to make smarter choices. Their step-by-step procedures combine solid research which practical experience and common sense to help you specify your objectives, identify creative alternatives, make reasoned tradeoffs, clarify uncertainties, and evaluate the risks.

The authors present a clear process and a set of easy-to-use techniques for making smart choices. They show you what you need to consider in evaluating your options and the steps you need to take to arrive at the smart choice. The essence of the approach is divide and conquer: break your decision into its key elements; identify those most relevant to your decisions; apply some hard systematic thinking; and make your decisions. The approach is proactive, encouraging you to seek out decision-making opportunities rather than wait for problems to present themselves.

You can apply this method to any decision worthy of serious though. It will help you make smart personal decisions—from which new house to purchase, to which mutual fund to buy, to whether to have elective surgery. It will also help you make smart work decisions—from which job candidate to hire, to which business strategy to pursuer, to which travel itinerary to book.

As you use the processes outlined in Smart Choices, you’ll become more confident in your ability to make good decisions and to explain them to others. You’ll become less intimidated by making decisions, and you’ll start making them faster and more easily, with less frustration and with better results.

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.