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The AREA Method

Turning Good Ideas Into Great Solutions

Start making your big decisions better…

Cheryl developed the AREA Method to help individuals, companies and nonprofits solve complex problems. AREA, which is an acronym for Cheryl’s decision-making steps, uniquely controls for and counteracts bias, focuses on the incentives of others and expands knowledge while improving judgment.

As humans, our inner voice is one of the most precious instruments of truth we have. Or so we’re told. This talk lays out a specific approach for verifying what your inner voice says to you so simply that anyone could put it to use immediately.

Interested in working directly with Cheryl to make your next big decision better? Contact her at for a list of her decision tools and services.

Decisive Digital Decision Tools

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AREA Coaching or Workshop


AREA Cheetah Sheets


Upcoming Events

May 3: Pre-Berkshire Hathaway Instagram Live: Danielle Town
May 14: eCornell Keynote
May 21: U.S. State Department
May 27: Columbia University Alumni Association
May 29: Monday Morning Podcast with Dean Rotbart
June 17: Ben Graham

Media Highlights

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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

It's always been amazing to me that many seemingly intelligent people have trouble thinking clearly. Their thoughts get turned into a plate of spaghetti."

Warren Buffett (A lovely comment from Warren Buffett after reading Problem Solved)

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

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

Impressively well written, exceptionally well organized, informatively presented, “Problem Solved: A Powerful System for Making Complex Decisions with Confidence and Conviction” is an effective and practical life-enhancing read from cover to cover.

Midwest Book Review

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

The AREA Method is teaching high school students about decision making.

A conversation about Problem Solved with New York Times columnist David Bornstein.

Read an Excerpt of Problem Solved in The Stanford Social Innovation Review.

The AREA Method is a decision-making system that will help you control for and counteract bias, better enable you to spot the incentives and motives of others and expand your knowledge while improving your judgement. AREA is an acronym that gets it 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.