The AREA Method

Turning Good Ideas Into Great Thinking

The AREA Method will help you make better…

Apply the AREA Method to your own high stakes decision with the ‘Cheetah Sheets’

"This excellent book shows how the science of decision-making can be applied and therefore the outcome made better."

Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

"Effective problem solving in our daily lives requires orderly thinking. Cheryl Einhorn shows us a way to do it in a short, clearly written book. Her book is a ‘must read’ those of us facing major decisions about our personal and professional futures.”

John Campbell, former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, currently the Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations

“Cheryl Einhorn has given us a practical book providing a wealth of useful lessons for making complex decisions of almost any kind."

Atul Gawande, best selling author of the Checklist Manifesto and Being Mortal

“In my 25 years reporting on social innovation, I’ve found that what distinguishes the most successful organizations is how they minimize risk, pursue opportunity, track results and plan ahead. The AREA method described in this book offers an accessible and systematic approach for anyone to do this."

David Bornstein, author of The New York Times ‘Fixes’ Column

We all make decisions every day, but most of us have never been taught how to make those big decisions that every once in awhile come into our lives.

As an investigative journalist I developed the AREA Method to explore sticky real-world situations. At its core, there are two kinds of learning: knowledge and skill. The AREA Method is a skill. I can explain it and teach it to you, and you can apply it to all kinds of complicated decisions.

This website introduces the AREA Method and provides practical guidance so you can start using it. Look for my forthcoming book, Problem Solved, that describes the full method. The AREA Method name is trademarked. A patent is pending on the full process.

  • note-from-cheryl

  • The AREA Method research process gets its name from the perspectives that it addresses: Absolute, Relative, Exploration & Exploitation and Analysis.


    A, or Absolute, refers to the perspective of the research target. It is primary, uninfluenced information from the source itself.


    R, or Relative, refers to the perspective of outsiders around the target. It is secondary information, or information that has been filtered through sources connected to the target.


    E, or Exploration and Exploitation, are really about the human mind. Exploration is about listening to what other people think and believe. Exploitation is about listening to yourself and examining your own assumptions and judgment.


    The second A, or Analysis, synthesizes all of these perspectives, processing and interpreting the information you’ve collected.

    The AREA Method Offers:


    A straightforward easy-to-follow roadmap that covers and explains the elements of a comprehensive research process.


    A flexible and objective framework for evaluating the information encountered in the research process.


    Useful sources for collecting information that follow a logical progression and stress agility, originality and accuracy over speed.


    Robust processes that will filter cognitive biases and allow you to recognize the incentives and judgments of others.