Now this book, I found to be the most complex and thought provoking of the recent books I’ve read. I plan to read more Spencer Johnson books and his One Minute series. Yes or No The Guide to Better Decisions is a story about a young man who embarks on a hiking trip with a group of others.  They use this hike to reflect on their decisions and analyze how they could have made better decisions, sooner. There is a certain criteria that must be evaluated if you, we, are to arrive not only to good decisions, but better ones. Here I will review the Map to a better decision.

The Yes or No system lets you

  • focus on real needs, versus mere wants
  • create better options
  • see the likely consequences of choices
  • identify and then use your own integrity, intuition, insight to gain peace of mind, self-confidence and freedom from fear

Johnson began to study the way we make decisions, realizing that “our poor decisions were based on illusions we believed at the time, and our better decisions, on realities we recognized in time.”

To make a better decision, I first stop proceeding with a poor decision.

If you stop a poor decision and create a void you will fill it with something better. We’re all afraid we won’t find anything better. It takes courage to let go of what is familiar and comfortable. But it is actually a safer and more reliable way to get better results.  This is why we keep doing what we know doesn’t work, because we feel safer if we do not change what is familiar.

The Yes or No system is a two part journey to arrive at a better decision. To get there, we look at both sides of a decision by asking ourselves two questions-a practical question and a private one-and then we soon make our decision.

I avoid indecisions and half-decisions based on half-truths.

I use both parts of a reliable system to consistently make better decisions” a cool head and a warm heart.

I use my head by asking myself a practical question.


I consult my heart by asking myself a private question.

Then after I listen to myself and others, I make a better decision and act on it.

A mistake or failure is never a flaw in the person but in the system of thinking he or she is using. Both the head and the heart questions each have three ideas embedded in them. But you must use both parts of the system. One won’t work without the other.

The first question is the practical question,using your head: Am I meeting the real need, Informing myself of options, and Thinking it through?  Can you answer yes or no to the first part, am I meeting the real need? Most of us go after what we want. Usually it is because we do not know what we need. So we start off in the wrong direction. Decisive people clearly know what the real need is, so they can quickly judge whether or not a specific decision will support or undermine what they need.

When I pursue only the real need, I am more decisive and I make better decisions sooner.

To understand the difference between a need and a want, ask yourself, “What do I wish I could do?” This is your want. But the real need is “Looking back on this, what would I like to have done?”

Meeting the Real Need: A Summary

Pursuing only the real need in the very beginning gets me better results in the end. This means both seeing a vision of needed results in such real detail that I sense myself already achieving them and then doing only what meets the real need.  Wants are wishes. Needs are necessities. Needs are essential for success and fulfillment. To see what I merely want, I ask, What do I want to do now? To see what is really needed, I ask, What would I like to have done? What do I really need from this decision? For me and for others to feel successful and fulfilled? Is my vision clearly focused on the needed results? Am I saying Yes to only what meets the real need and No to everything else? I use my head by asking myself practical questions: Am I meeting the real need, informing myself of options, and thinking it through? Yes or No.

The next section discusses Informed Options.  Am I  meeting the real need, informing myself of options, and thinking it through? Just being aware that you have options, even though you may not know what they are yet, will help you seek out needed information by gathering and asking the right questions. Seldom do you learn of options by sitting and waiting for them to come to you.  You must seek them out and if others offer the information be sure to verify it for yourself. Just by gathering information, you become less naive and more realistically informed.  Most people feel more discouraged when they don’t have any options.  You may find even when searching out information you never have all the information you want, but do you have what you need?

As I gather more information, I become more aware of my options.

Informing Myself of Options: A Summary

First, I realize I probably have several options I am not aware of. As I gather the needed information, I become more aware of my options. I choose the option which meets the real need.  Information is a collection of facts and feelings: that is, what really is, and how people feel about it.  I gather the needed information. I observe it, or if someones gives me the information, I verify it.  Do I have the information I need? Who has it? Where is it? What is the best way to get it? Have I verified it myself? As I gather the needed information, what do I see my options are? Am I informing myself of options?  I use my head by asking myself a practical question: Am I meeting the real need, informing myself of options, and thinking it through? Yes or No?

To get more information on the third portion Am I Thinking it Through? pick up a copy at your local library or purchase it on Amazon.  Understanding and using these principles will assist you in meeting success in both your personal and professional life.   It has helped me answer questions like Should I change jobs?  Should I sell my home?  Should I move out of the city?  Is my personal relationship meeting my needs and wants?  Should I start a family? And even something as simple as At which grocery store should I shop?