1.2. Why Delve Into Details?

As you read this book, you'll see that one of the goals of my writing has been to point out ways that people or systems behave that are not obvious or generally acknowledged. I believe that this is very important for improving decision making. It is important to tool makers like myself who need to understand which facilities or "levers" to provide to people and what those levers move. For example, if you were designing a type of screwdriver, you would want to know what shape the tip needed to be to best connect to the type of screw it would be used with, which grip would be best for the type of turning the person would be doing, etc. With computer tools used in expression or communication, you need to know what type of communication people need to do, in which circumstances, and with which constraints on time, training, etc.

When you try to figure out why something is happening or what will happen in the future—for example, to predict the success or failure of a particular company's endeavor—you usually base your prediction on some sort of model that you construct of how the components behave. For example, we assume customers behave a certain way given the choice between different prices: if two companies are selling the same product, the less expensive will be preferred. This model may be explicitly written in a document or kept in our head, often without even thinking that we are creating a model. We often think of it as "reality" even though it ...

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