Learn the key ideas of the book by Olivier Sibony , Bernard Garrette , Corey Phelps

Cracked It!

How to improve your problem solving skills

In Cracked It, the authors offer advice based on new research in cognitive psychology and on design thinking in order to suggest the best methods in solving problems, with particular attention to business and business issues. They also list some of the best ways to “sell” the solutions that you find. Through detailed examples, graphics and case studies, readers are guided through the process of formulating, structuring and solving problems.

Cracked It!
Read in 12 min.
Listen in 14 min.

Many useful tips to:

  • Get to know the mechanics of problem solving and improve your skills in creating a big business plan or even to get through an interview.
  • Learn the best ways to solve problems following the 4S method.
  • Learn the most common pitfalls of logical thinking in problem solving.

The author of the book:

Olivier Sibony is a writer, professor and a consultant, who specialises in strategic decisions. He has worked as a consultant, partner and director in the McKinsey & Company offices in Paris and New York. He also teaches business and entrepreneurial strategy in the MBA program and leads the Problem Solving and Communication workshop for MBA participants.

Bernard Garrett received his Doctorate from the HEC (The School of Business Studies) in Paris in 1991 and served as Vice Principal of the MBA program from 2011 to 2016. He worked as a professor at IESE (The Spanish Institute of Higher Business Studies), from 2016 to 2017, London Business School (1997-1999) and the University of Cambridge. He was awarded the prestigious Pierre Vernimmen prize for teaching. He has written several articles for academic journals and books such as Cooperative Strategy which he co-wrote with Pierre Dussauge.

Corey Phelps is an associate professor of strategy at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management. Before joining McGill, Phelps was on the faculty of HEC in Paris and later completed his doctorate at New York University’s Stern School of Business. His great skills as a professor have won him several awards: the Pierre Vernimmen BNP Paribas Award in 2012 for best teacher at HEC and an award for best MBA professor of the year at UW (The University of Washington).


What are the two most commonly used thinking methods?

There are two main systems of thinking commonly used by people: system 1 or fast thinking, which involves focusing on the immediate information available and skipping to the conclusion without doing any further research and system 2 or slow thinking, which requires greater attention and research but can lead to analytical paralysis. System 2 is only activated when fast thinking doesn’t work. Research shows that experience is necessary but not critical when it comes to problem solving. In fact experts are often guided by the illusion of understanding the problem, making inaccurate analogies in their area of competence and consequently, formulating erroneous solutions. To improve your ability to solve problems, you need a systematic problem-solving method, which does not lead to the hasty solutions that come from system 1, or the paralysis that often accompanies system 2.


The key ideas of "Cracked It!"

What are the two most commonly used thinking methods?
Problem solving’s most common pitfalls
Solutions to problems: the 4S method (State, Structure, Solve, Sell)
Design thinking, the method for solving the most complex and people-centred problems
Take-home message

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