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Falk Instructor’s Handbook for Change Explores Patterns of Decision Making
Long-time Falk College instructor Thomas J. Schur, a member of the University faculty for more than 25 years, recently released the book “Mag or Min: Which Are You?,” which explores two patterns of decision making that define who a person is over the course of their life.
“Magnifiers” make decisions based on the assumption that any task to be attempted will almost always work out, despite the odds against it. They “magnify” the possibility of a favorable outcome. “Minifiers” make decisions based on the assumption that any task to be attempted will seldom work out, despite the odds in favor of it. They “minify” the possibility of a favorable outcome. A podcast of his book, which serves as a substantial overview of the Mag/Min framework, is available here.
Schur provides an in-depth exploration of these two patterns of decision making and guides readers on how a person can change these patterns and thereby change the self. The book’s foundation provides a broad perspective spanning many fields. It enlists the insights of a psychiatrist who developed a major theory of family therapy, an anthropologist focused on identity and existential anxiety and a biologist responsible for a new theory of language. In addition to his use of it in his own life, his framework has been field tested over the years with clients in his private practice, his students and supervisees.
“At the extremes, both reflexes are equally dysfunctional and lead to lives of chronic problems. But people can change. They can control their automatic decision-making process, and make a life-altering change to base decisions on a better assessment of the actual probability of a favorable or an unfavorable outcome, and begin to lead a more productive life. My new book presents the framework, and serves as a handbook for practicing it,” says Schur.
Schur is a licensed social worker and marriage and family therapist. He has taught and supervised in the marriage and family therapy program until his recent retirement, but continues to teach on an adjunct basis in the Social of Social Work and maintain his private practice on a limited basis.