The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut Feelings to Make Better Decisions at Work

Author: Gary Klein
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by itamarst   2018-01-27
Gary Klein wrote a great book about how to learn from experience, based on research in naturalistic decision making, kinda stuff firefighters and NICU nurses do, but also e.g. design engineers for many decisions (

His advice for learning from mistakes is basically to look for the cues or patterns you missed that caused your mistake. That way you find the hints that would've helped you catch it in time.

I've been doing this myself, and writing up results in a weekly email ( and it really improves how much I learn from mistakes. As in, I go from "well that was stupid of me" to "ohhhhh, I should've noticed that."

Example: early in career I submitted code with bad variable names (foo, bar) to customer who requested I write a library. She pointed that out as bad practice, I was super embarrassed over my bad code. My takeaway in one of initial emails was obvious one of "write readable code."

But later I revisited using the cues/patterns approach, and realized deeper mistake was not listening to what she wanted—in this case, source code. If deliverable wasn't source code then variable names wouldn't have mattered and it would've been fine.

by itamarst   2018-01-07
I'd suggest learning more about how to learn better, so that you can learn more on the job. Then you can spend your weekend doing something other than coding. Some useful books:

"How Learning Works" (I review it here:

Gar Klein's books, in particular "The Power of Intuition"