Tactics for reducing options toward a decision.

  • Sublists: Break too large lists into similar lists that enable choosing.
  • Aggressive shortening: Remove items arbitrarily until the list is a reasonable size to assess. If an option clearly shouldn’t be removed, this approach helps identify those key options.


  • Ideal criteria: Options must pass three minimum criteria, and two of three ideal/extreme criteria.
  • 90% rule: For the top criterion, rank choices 0–100. Keep only 90th percentile.


  1. Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, First Edition (New York: Crown Business, 2014). (See notes.)

  2. William Burnett and David J. Evans, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, First edition (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016). (See notes.)