The Seashell Press
Deadly Decisions

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Virtual Truth is Detailed, Consistent, and Wrong

A month before its catastrophic failure, Wall Street analysts rated Enron a 'buy'. In 2001, at the CIA, FBI, and Department of Defense, a squabbling bureaucracy buried warnings of a looming terrorist attack. And Congress and the country were talked into war against a collapsing dictatorship on the basis of detailed and compelling intelligence, which turned out to be false. How could all of the experts be so wrong?

In Deadly Decisions, Christopher Burns, one of America's leading experts on modern information management, searches the biology of the brain, the behaviour of groups, and the structure of organisations for practical answers to the problem of 'virtual truth' - elaborate constructs of internally consistent evidence and assumptions that purport to describe reality, but can often be dead wrong!How can we avoid wishful thinking, information overload, uncertainty absorption, and an unintentional twisting of the facts? Why are start-up groups agile and innovative while large organisations lumber along, bogged down in false knowledge? How can societies rediscover the power of truthful communication?Burns suggests that, as individuals, we must learn to be sceptical of our own sly and beguiling minds. As members of a group, we need to be more wary of the omissions, inventions, and distortions that come all too naturally to all of us. And as consumers of information we have to hold professionals, politicians, and the media more accountable.

As the book makes clear, only through a deeper understanding of how individuals, groups, and society process information can we succeed in those extraordinary endeavours that are the promise of the Information Age.

Outlining six tests for truth including detail, verifiable evidence and consistency, Burns shows how easily even knowledgeable professionals can be led astray. Learn how to avoid the pitfalls of a crowd mentality and information overload while discovering some basic hard-wired biology in this eye opening examination of the "information age" . From Wall Street investments to invading foreign countries, the ability to make intelligent informed decisions is vital. Understanding the dynamics of information processing has never been more critical and Burns goes a long way toward providing the necessary tools to separate clever fiction from solid facts.",