How can we get more Wisdom in our decision making, please?

We are building an increasingly ‘unwise’ society” is the starting premise of a fascinating talk given the other day by my good friend and teacher Peter Owen.   Peter, himself a source of much knowledge and wisdom on many topics has been studying for some time about ‘wisdom’ and ‘unwisdom’:  what are they, and can we improve wisdom in our decision making?

Clearly we need wisdom in our business, politics, government and personal lives and decisions, but Peter makes the point that wisdom is rarely taught and is hardly ever in our procedures.  Peter’s research and analysis is extensive and wide-ranging, from Heraclitus, Greek Gods, Aristotle, Kant, Hume, and up to more modern Max Plank Institute and Khaneman.  Wisdom, or being more wise in our decisions and what we do, starts with Phronesis (accumulated experience) but can be contaminated and overwhelmed by our emotions, so Peter proposes a simple but practical 6 step process to bring wisdom to your thinking and decisions, which begins with really knowing oneself, and uses reflection, and listening to your ‘inner voice’.  The purpose of the 6 steps is to make what might otherwise be abstract notions practical for business use and accessible. 

In a fast, fast world, particularly one where no one is formally trained in being wise, we can all see only too well the effects of unwise decisions in work, government and our personal lives: dubious financial, ethical and moral decisions in actions and decision in business (think Barclays or NewsCorp?); short-termist business decisions (think of most business decisions you know); inexplicable purchases and joint ventures (hubristic venturing); self-evidently wrong political decisions resulting in later ‘U turns’ (think recent Coalition and budgetary policy reversals, and Gordon Brown’s many examples before that); personal, rash acts of indiscretion (think of, well....), and so on.

Given what we see and know, we would probably all agree that we do need to get more wisdom into our personal and business lives, but getting there is not easy and needs some guidance and help.  If you want to know more, contact Peter at         

Posted on: Tuesday, July 17, 2012