Art of Critical Decision Making, a DVD Lecture Course

Space Shuttle Challenger ' s smoke plume after...
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I recently finished Art of Critical Decision Making by Professor Michael A. Roberto.  This is a learning course consisting of 24 lectures of 30 minutes each contained on 4 DVD discs.  You view it on a computer or on a TV via a computer or DVD player.  The series is from The Great Courses company.  (Forbes magazine had an article on its CEO: Lessons From A Master Marketer.

Don’t be shocked by the price (often several hundred dollars per course).  There is a continuous year-round sale in progress so you can wait for desired courses to be on sale and purchase then.  (An over-abundance of mailed catalogs will remind you what is on sale.  The forestry and paper industry is alive and well.)  This course for example is priced at $254.95 but I paid $59.95 + $10 S&H.  Many courses are available in audio-only CD and are even less expensive.

Depending on the course subject matter you might get by with just audio, though I’ve done both and I like the video better.  I did audio CD for Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition hoping to be able to listen and multitask while going to the gym.  I found myself having to focus and rewind often as I would get distracted and miss something that sounded important.  You may also want to refer to printed handouts while do a lecture.  Argumentation came with an 20-30 page printable outline summary and Critical Decision Making with a small bound book of thorough lecture outlines and references.  Both were very valuable.  I would generally try to read the outlines before a lecture and also reference them during the lecture.

At this writing both these courses are on sale as a package set for $129.90 on DVD.

I bought Critical Decision Making because, though I’m no longer in the corporate environment, isn’t life about this anyway?  The video is filmed as though you are in a small lecture room and might be with 10-20 other people.  Photos, slides, and bullet points are used as applicable.  (I wish the summary booklet had contained some of these.  I think they would be useful.)  As the course info notes (linked above) the structure and processes of decision making is discussed.  They are thoroughly related to various case studies, such as the 1996 climbing tragedy on Mt. Everest (related in the book Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer), the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle tragedies, a friendly fire incident in Iraq, and numerous corporate examples.  These all lend thought-provoking, real-world proof to the academic discussion.

I enjoyed the course and feel educated by it.  I intend to view it again.  I recommend it.

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