Gary A. Klein

Gary Klein is Senior Scientist at MacroCognition LLC. He is the author of The Power of Intuition, Seeing What Others Don't, Working Minds: A Practitioner's Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis (with Beth Crandall and Robert R. Hoffman), and Streetlights and Shadows: Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making, the last two published by the MIT Press.

  • Sources of Power, 20th Anniversary Edition

    Sources of Power, 20th Anniversary Edition

    How People Make Decisions

    Gary A. Klein

    A modern classic about how people really make decisions: drawing on prior experience, using a combination of intuition and analysis.

    Since its publication twenty years ago, Sources of Power has been enormously influential. The book has sold more than 50,000 copies, has been translated into six languages, has been cited in professional journals that range from Journal of Marketing Research to Journal of Nursing, and is mentioned by Malcolm Gladwell in Blink. Author Gary Klein has collaborated with Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and served on a team that redesigned the White House Situation Room to support more effective decision making. The model of decision making Klein proposes in the book has been adopted in fields including law enforcement training and petrochemical plant operation. What is the groundbreaking new way to approach decision making described in this modern classic?

    We have all seen images of firefighters rescuing people from burning buildings and paramedics treating bombing victims. How do these individuals make the split-second decisions that save lives? Most studies of decision making, based on artificial tasks assigned in laboratory settings, view people as biased and unskilled. Klein proposes a naturalistic approach to decision making, which views people as gaining experience that enables them to use a combination of intuition and analysis to make decisions. To illustrate this approach, Klein tells stories of people—from pilots to chess masters—acting under such real-life constraints as time pressure, high stakes, personal responsibility, and shifting conditions.

  • Streetlights and Shadows

    Streetlights and Shadows

    Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making

    Gary A. Klein

    An expert explains how the conventional wisdom about decision making can get us into trouble—and why experience can't be replaced by rules, procedures, or analytical methods.

    In making decisions, when should we go with our gut and when should we try to analyze every option? When should we use our intuition and when should we rely on logic and statistics? Most of us would probably agree that for important decisions, we should follow certain guidelines—gather as much information as possible, compare the options, pin down the goals before getting started. But in practice we make some of our best decisions by adapting to circumstances rather than blindly following procedures. In Streetlights and Shadows, Gary Klein debunks the conventional wisdom about how to make decisions. He takes ten commonly accepted claims about decision making and shows that they are better suited for the laboratory than for life. The standard advice works well when everything is clear, but the tough decisions involve shadowy conditions of complexity and ambiguity. Gathering masses of information, for example, works if the information is accurate and complete—but that doesn't often happen in the real world. (Think about the careful risk calculations that led to the downfall of the Wall Street investment houses.) Klein offers more realistic ideas about how to make decisions in real-life settings. He provides many examples—ranging from airline pilots and weather forecasters to sports announcers and Captain Jack Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander novels—to make his point. All these decision makers saw things that others didn't. They used their expertise to pick up cues and to discern patterns and trends. We can make better decisions, Klein tells us, if we are prepared for complexity and ambiguity and if we will stop expecting the data to tell us everything.

    • Hardcover $29.95
    • Paperback $19.95
  • Working Minds

    Working Minds

    A Practitioner's Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis

    Beth Crandall, Gary A. Klein, and Robert R. Hoffman

    How to collect data about cognitive processes and events, how to analyze CTA findings, and how to communicate them effectively: a handbook for managers, trainers, systems analysts, market researchers, health professionals, and others.

    Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) helps researchers understand how cognitive skills and strategies make it possible for people to act effectively and get things done. CTA can yield information people need—employers faced with personnel issues, market researchers who want to understand the thought processes of consumers, trainers and others who design instructional systems, health care professionals who want to apply lessons learned from errors and accidents, systems analysts developing user specifications, and many other professionals. CTA can show what makes the workplace work—and what keeps it from working as well as it might.

    Working Minds is a true handbook, offering a set of tools for doing CTA: methods for collecting data about cognitive processes and events, analyzing them, and communicating them effectively. It covers both the "why" and the "how" of CTA methods, providing examples, guidance, and stories from the authors' own experiences as CTA practitioners. Because effective use of CTA depends on some conceptual grounding in cognitive theory and research—on knowing what a cognitive perspective can offer—the book also offers an overview of current research on cognition.

    The book provides detailed guidance for planning and carrying out CTA, with chapters on capturing knowledge and capturing the way people reason. It discusses studying cognition in real-world settings and the challenges of rapidly changing technology. And it describes key issues in applying CTA findings in a variety of fields. Working Minds makes the methodology of CTA accessible and the skills involved attainable.

    • Hardcover $70.00
    • Paperback $33.95
  • Sources of Power

    Sources of Power

    How People Make Decisions

    Gary A. Klein

    Anyone who watches the television news has seen images of firefighters rescuing people from burning buildings and paramedics treating bombing victims. How do these individuals make the split-second decisions that save lives? Most studies of decision making, based on artificial tasks assigned in laboratory settings, view people as biased and unskilled. Gary Klein is one of the developers of the naturalistic decision making approach, which views people as inherently skilled and experienced. It documents human strengths and capabilities that so far have been downplayed or ignored.

    Since 1985, Klein has conducted fieldwork to find out how people tackle challenges in difficult, nonroutine situations. Sources of Power is based on observations of humans acting under such real-life constraints as time pressure, high stakes, personal responsibility, and shifting conditions. The professionals studied include firefighters, critical care nurses, pilots, nuclear power plant operators, battle planners, and chess masters. Each chapter builds on key incidents and examples to make the description of the methodology and phenomena more vivid. In addition to providing information that can be used by professionals in management, psychology, engineering, and other fields, the book presents an overview of the research approach of naturalistic decision making and expands our knowledge of the strengths people bring to difficult tasks.

    • Hardcover $60.00
    • Paperback $35.95