Honors | Great Problems and Great Decisions (HON)
H204 | 17252 | David Rubinstein
Kings and gangsters, astronauts and truckers, you and me - - we all
face great problems, and we all need to make great decisions, but
Nobody does, except in the movies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?
But we can.
What is a Great problem?
How can we tell when a decision is Great?
We will see how some writers, philosophers, and leaders have
addressed these questions. Readings will likely include Mark Twain,
John Kennedy, Chan Kim, and Stephen King. We’ll also view a film or
We will define problems, identify alternatives, make rules, and
We will make decisions to solve many cases. The factory is closing,
and there’s nowhere to turn.
We need to find a way. The railroad bridge is decaying, but the
railroad won’t fix it.
We need to find a way. In all of music (opera, pop, country, rap,
jazz, rock and roll, all ), there are millions of songs, but only a
few “hit songs”.
We need to find the secret to writing a hit song. We’ll spring from
the darkness with Sherlock Holmes as evil approaches. We’ll try to
dominate the internet with Google, attempt to save the dying
hospice, sell no-name cans of creamed corn in San Antonio, and more -
- all through challenging no-nonsense Harvard MBA cases (and a
Stanford MBA case).
Cases are a seedbed of understanding. By tackling cases, we aim to
develop the analysis/insight/dedication/energy that indicate
successful careers in problem solving.
We want to do, as well as learn. How ambitious is our project?
Your decisions and actions are going to change the world in 13
Class format: directed discussion, including a “so you think you
can lead a seminar” challenge. Contributions to class discussion
are expected of all students.
Required work: A variety of writing assignments including some
brief responses, some quizzes, a few short essays, a mid-term and a
final - - and the Project.