Why is it so hard to make a decision in the modern age?

Decision-making in real life can be hard and that’s why many heads of state, chief executive officers and even U2’s Bono all turn to economist Noreena Hertz. She is the author of "Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World."

Hertz told the “CBS This Morning” co-hosts that it’s even harder in 2014 than in the past to make good decisions.

“We are deluged with information. We have to process now three times as much as much data as we would have done 50 years ago,” she said. “We’re bombarded with tweets, with emails – a state of continuous disruption and that’s bad for our decision making and bad for our thinking.”

She said that every time we check an email it takes us 22 minutes to get back to the same level of focus that we were at before, and that when your bombarded with information like frequent emails, your I.Q. actually drops.

“There was research done that the more your bombarded with this sort of disruption, your I.Q. falls and you come into a state of hormone induced stress,” she said.

Hertz also spoke about high-stakes decisions, which she defined as decisions that impact our health, wealth, relationships, work and happiness. She said the way to make good decisions is to confront experts.

“You want to challenge experts, because experts get a lot wrong. Doctors misdiagnose one time in five,” she said. “In the U.S. and Canada, 50,000 people die every year who would not have had to.”

Hertz said, as opposed to authors like Malcolm Gladwell, she believes that “our guts can really mislead us.”

“Sometimes what we think of as our gut is something else, like an outside influence,” she said. “If you’re going to buy an apartment and it smells of freshly baked bread, you’re more likely to want to buy it.”

To watch the full interview with Noreena Hertz, watch the video in the player above


  • Shoshana Davis

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