CHAPTER 10

The Pros and Cons of Pros-and-Cons Lists

by Chris Charyk

Pondering an important decision? Chances are that you will consider jotting down the pros and cons of your options. The pros-and-cons list enjoys a long and storied history, going back at least as far as 1772, when Benjamin Franklin advised his friend and fellow scientist Joseph Priestley to “divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns, writing over the one Pro, and over the other Con.” But how useful is a pros-and-cons list, really? It’s only fitting to consider the pros and cons of this popular decision-making tool.

The Pros

Rigor

Making the effort to think through all possible pros and cons of a given course of action and then capturing them in writing minimizes ...

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