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A weekly reality check on sensible investing and financial decision-making for Canadians. Hosted by Benjamin Felix and Cameron Passmore.

Feb 2, 2023

A large portion of what we talk about on this show boils down to decision-making, and today we have our focus squarely on the fundamentals of this process. Professor Ralph Keeney joins us to discuss some of the simplest and most profound elements of decisions, and why we so often miss these aspects. Ralph is a true expert on decision analysis, and his systematic process for decision-making, as laid out in his new book, Give Yourself a Nudge, has truly life-altering potential for anyone looking to improve their future. The book and this conversation are jam-packed with insightful and understandable ideas and examples, including clarifying objectives, the vital role of our values, generating alternatives, and a comparison between decision problems and decision opportunities. Ralph lays out a great way to get started on the path to better decisions, so make sure to join us to hear it all.  


Key Points From This Episode:


  • The focus of Ralph's research and how he articulates the importance of our conscious decisions. (0:03:48)
  • The shortcomings of the trial and error approach that many of us naturally employ. (0:10:46)
  • First steps towards being a better decision-maker; using personal decisions for practice. (0:13:08)
  • Ralph explains his conception and use of the idea of 'nudges'. (0:14:30)
  • A better awareness of the often-neglected front end of decision-making. (0:17:38)
  • An explanation of Ralph's value-focused decision-making process. (0:22:25)
  • Mistakes made around retirement decisions. (0:30:30)
  • Why clarifying your personal decision values can be so difficult. (0:32:15)
  • The process of translating values into objectives. (0:36:11)
  • Ralph's important question around the different possible situations in the future. (0:41:49)
  • Simple processes and common pitfalls for generating alternatives. (0:43:19)
  • Exploring decisions that require third-party permission or commitment. (0:47:59)
  • Differentiating between decision problems and decision opportunities. (0:52:27)
  • The most important concepts for embodying value-focussed decision-making. (0:57:44)
  • The role of financial advisors in aiding their clients to make good decisions. (1:03:28)
  • Application of these ideas toward living a good life. (1:07:46)
  • Ralph's simple definition of success in his own life. (1:10:53)



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Books From Today’s Episode:

Give Yourself a Nudge

Smart Choices

Value-Focused Thinking

Decisions with Multiple Objectives


Links From Today’s Episode:

Rational Reminder on iTunes —

Rational Reminder Website —

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Benjamin on Twitter —

Cameron on Twitter —

Prof. Ralph Keeney —