The Yes/No Dictionary Part 5: Yes/No Decision Theory

by Mike Clayton  - September 3, 2013


The Yes/No Book is filled with new and specific concepts in personal effectiveness and time management.� To make a valuable resource for readers, and to introduce non-readers to some of the core concepts of the book, I am preparing a dictionary.

It will be in 13 parts (Superstitious? I�m not) and will have around 50 entries.

Part 5: Decision Theory

At the heart of The Yes/No book is the decision: �YES or NO?�


The Pareto Principle (abs noun); many types of things follow the same sort of distribution, where there are a small number that reach superlative levels, while many are quite ordinary. There are a few very long rivers and many short ones, a few best-selling books or DVDs and many that sell in small numbers, and there are a few extremely wealthy individuals and many poor ones.� Named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto.

Long Tail (noun); the 80% of products that account for only 20% of sales. Coined by journalist and author, Chris Anderson, in a book of the same name. This gives rise to much overchoice, but also allows people with narrow but deep interests to access a level of choice online that is impossible in physical world shop, because online sellers can have vast warehouses full of products and a list of several million SKUs.

SKU (acronym); Stock Keeping Unit � a single product in a single variation (of size, colour, language, or any other consumer preference).

BATNA (acronym); Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. Bottom line position when negotiating. Coined by Roger Fisher and William Ury and described in their book �Getting to Yes�.

Overchoice (noun); the excessive number of choices we have in modern life. Coined by Alvin Toffler in 1970.

Paradox of Choice (abs noun); too many choices leave us fearful that we will make the wrong decision, leading you to reduced happiness. Coined by Barry Schwarz in his book, as �The Paradox of Choice�. The paradox of choice is that the more choices we have, the less happy we are. More choices make decision-making harder and satisfaction with your decision lower.


Note: Two alternative strategies to dealing with overchoice, satisficing and maximising, are defined in Part 6: Goal Setting.


More about The Yes/No Book

Read more about The Yes/No Book,

download resources and buy a copy at The Yes/No Book website.

The Yes/No Dictionary Part 6: Goal Setting

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