I just finished reading Problem Solving 101: A Simple Book for Smart People by Ken Watanabe.
From the inside flap:
Problem Solving 101 started out as a simple guide to teach Japanese schoolchildren critical thinking skills. But it quickly became an adult bestseller, thanks to the powerful effectiveness of Ken Watanabe's problem solving methods.
The tools in this book come from the author's experience as an elite McKinsey consultant. But you don't need an MBA to use them. You'll learn how to broaden and organize your thinking about a problem so that more possible solutions become clear.
This book is 111 pages and is a quick and easy read (part-time over a weekend).
I enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone that isn't already very experienced using traditional problem solving and critical thinking methodologies. Unfortunately, being an engineer and consultant with significant experience solving problems and developing and evaluating proposals I did not learn any new techniques in this book.
The various problem solving methodologies that he explains and demonstrates are:
- Logic tree
- Yes/No tree
- Root cause analysis
- Problem solving design plan (a modified version of the scientific method)
- 2 x 2 grid (I must admit I am impressed how he incorporated this and made it seem so simple)
- Gap analysis
- Action plan
- Pros and Cons: Criteria and Evaluation
My next test of this book is to give it to my 15 year old, who hates to read, and see how much he can learn from it.
Verdict: If you aren't already familiar with the problem solving methodologies that I listed about then you should read this book.