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Problem Solving 101 Summary – June 2022

Author: Ken Watanabe

Short Summary
Problem Solving 101 (2009) is a step-by-step guide to solving all of the worries and troubles you are facing. Whether they are personal, academic, or work-related this short guide will make you a better problem solver.
problem solving 101
Source: amazon.com

Detailed Summary

Problem Solving 101 gives an impactful road map that can help one solve different problems in life. By breaking down the process into steps, Ken Watanabe makes reaching solutions easier. The book is based on the advice that is originally written for Japanese school children but applies to everyone.

In this book, you will find steps that you can apply to your problems along with multiple examples. Including: understanding the current situation, identifying the root cause of the problem, developing an effective action plan, executing until the problem is solved, and making modifications and changes if necessary. By following this simple guideline, you will be eliminating a lot of stress from your life.

Problem Solving 101 Key Points

Accept the fact that You Cannot Ignore the Problems in Your Life

Life is Full of Problems. Whether you are in the phase of your life where you only have academic responsibilities or you are a CEO who owns a multifaceted company problems will be part of your life. There is no running away from them. The journey towards our goals is littered with many problems. The sooner we accept this unpleasant fact; the sooner we can move on to the remedy. When you have accepted the fact that problems are a regular visitor in our lives move on to the first step. The first step is identifying your problem. What is the trouble you are facing? How is this thing a problem for you? Because identification of the problem is extremely beneficial as in the words of John Dewey, “A problem well stated is a problem half solved.”

Breakdown Your Problem into its Components

How do you solve a mathematical equation? By breaking it down and solving it step by step. In this same way after you have identified your problem you need to break it down. For example, let’s form a hypothesis that you have scored very less on your creative writing assignment. In such a situation most of us will be passing statements like: ‘Maybe, I am not creative’ or ‘My creative writing skills need improvement’ but these will not be beneficial for you. You will ask why? Both of these statements describe the problem, don’t they? They do but the problem is these are vague and hence will not lead to any improvement.

You need to sit down and observe why you have scored less and why you have been scoring less for weeks. What is the pattern there? Is that your lack of unique vocabulary? Was the plot of your stories too cliché? Are there any grammatical errors? Once you have broken down your problem you will be able to identify the factors that need your attention.

Understand the ‘why’ Behind Your Problem

Now that you have narrowed it down to the exact issue you are facing; it is time to dive deeper and understand what is causing that problem. Let’s suppose there is a brand and its number of customers has been dropping. They narrowed down the problem following the first step and found out that their sales have gone down because their advertising strategies have been not successful. Now the next step is to find out why these advertising strategies have been failing. Were the advertisements not targeted at the potential customers? Was the time of posting these advertisements not appropriate? Did the advertisements fail to deliver the proper function of the products? Or was the language of advertisements way too complex? Once you figure out why you are facing the problem you will move one step forward towards solving the issue.

Aim to Generate not a Solution but The Best Solution

Now that you have found the root of your problem you need to find an easy yet effective solution. For that, you need to observe, brainstorm and analyze. You cannot just take the first solution that comes into your mind and apply it. Finding a perfect solution requires as much of your time as finding the root of your problem or sometimes maybe more. Ask yourself what kind of information you need to resolve your problem. After you have gone through and analyzed the information at hand you will be able to make an informed decision about what you have to do.

Problem Solving 101 Quotes

“Rather than accepting the status quo, true problem solvers are constantly trying to proactively shape their environment.” –Ken Watanabe

“When you do take action, every result is an opportunity to reflect and learn valuable lessons. Even if what you take away from your assessment seems to be of small consequence, all of these small improvements taken together make a huge difference in the long term.” –Ken Watanabe

Problem Solving 101 Book Review

Problem Solving 101 is a simple, short yet effective read. It is for all age groups and all professions. It will teach you to let go of the anxiety and stress you feel when you are burdened by something hard. There are ways to deal with problems and this book describes one of the most effective methods that can simplify yours. I mean who does not want to solve their problems? We surely do not want to live with them. So why not take out the time to learn a simple method that you can apply to all of your problems no matter how hard they are!

To Whom I Would Recommend Problem Solving 101

  • To the forty-four-year-old self-employed woman who feels troubled at work.
  • The freshman in college who feels burdened with multiple challenges in the new place.
  • To the nineteen-year-old who gets too anxious when faced with problems and thus cannot seem to solve them.
  • And to anyone who wants to improve their problem-solving skills.

Link: https://amzn.to/3vr7jq0