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Decisions, Decisions

This book lets you be the judge.

This story appears in the February 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Serving as a member of California's top court, Charles W. McCoy Jr. is a celebrated judge of, among others, a recent case in which he reduced by $2.9 billion the $3 billion award a jury had ordered tobacco company Philip Morris to pay a sick smoker. Tough decision, right? No harder than those many businesses face every day, argues McCoy in Why Didn't I Think of That? (Prentice Hall Press, $22), an exploration of how to come up with unexpected answers to tough questions. To illuminate his techniques, McCoy produces examples ranging from the strategy Intel used to overtake Motorola to an experiment he employs to persuade law students to trust their intuitions.

The book is full of innovative-thinking exercises, checklists, anecdotes, challenges, puzzles and more. For instance, to sharpen your perceptive powers, McCoy recommends taking a series of objects ranging from pencils to people and describing each in every way you can think of, including shape, texture, color, function and so on. This is an engagingly ground-level approach to a topic with more than its share of highfalutin gurus. And it's something anyone can use to help think of that one idea that could make all the difference.

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