In this post, I will tell you the best decision making books, so far.
Making decision is easy, but you know what is hard?
Making the right decision.
That’s why so many people seems confused and lost when there is an important decision to make.
Luckily for you, I already compiled the best books on decision making and problem solving that will help you overcome this problem faced by many people.
1. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Published in 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is an intelligent read that details behavioral science.
Daniel Kahneman talks widely on the research that he conducted over decades and his phases over the years of his career.
Sharing his knowledge with the world, the writer chooses to take us along on his own journey.
From the initial days of working on cognitive biases to working in prospect theory, to his later work on happiness, Daniel Kahneman manages to explain in detail about human tendencies and behaviors by putting his own journey as a backdrop to lead the book.
The book has won the title of Best Creative Work at the National Academies Communication Awards.
- Discussed research on loss aversion, cognitive biases, and prospect theory.
- Lists the benefits of slow thinking, practical and instructive insights.
- Describes different techniques to guard against the mental glitches.
2. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Focusing on psychology, behavioral economics, and adaptive unconscious, writer Malcolm Gladwell discusses human intuition and how humans can use it to make effective conscious decisions.
The writer elegantly picks out day to day examples to explain the concepts.
The book mainly centers the idea of “thin-slicing”- ability to use limited information from the narrow period of experience to jump to conclusions.
Blink is an elaborated creative and intelligent piece of art and is a ‘self-help’ book to learn psychological techniques to have a control over your thoughts and mind.
- Make judgments based on simplicity and frugality of information.
- Elaborated study on the concept of “thin-slicing”.
- Talks about the disastrous effects of over-thinking.
3. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
It’s one thing to rant about what’s wrong, it’s a laborious task to write in detail about how to make it right. Greg McKeown’s Essentialism does just that.
Talking straight about the efficient way of prioritizing your work, Essentialism is a must have book for anybody who is frequently busy and not productive.
The writer skilfully explains techniques to get your work done in less time without sounding preachy about time management strategies or productivity-booster techniques.
He emphasizes on only getting the right things done thus, explaining the concept of systematic discipline.
Essentialism will make you do your job in a whole new way and there’s no looking back!
- Enlists techniques to prioritize your work.
- Confers elaborated study on systematic discipline.
4. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains the connection between decision-making capabilities and the events that leave a lasting impact on a person’s life.
The Black Swan is such a celebrated book that ‘The Impact Of The Highly Improbable’ is now known as the black swan theory.
The writer also preaches that instead of analyzing the unpredictable events that happen in one’s life, we need to embrace the uncertainties and make the most out of the situation.
The author skilfully puts forward her point with some real-life stories and incidents.
- Teaches you a different approach to life’s uncertainties.
- Easy for the reader to understand as real-life incidents are mentioned.
- Explains ways to stop overanalyzing and embrace life as it comes.
5. Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
After Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, the writers, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have come up with another outstanding book called Think Like A Freak.
With their distinctive way of storytelling, the writers have managed to deliver their thoughts in a practical, creative and conventional way.
They preach to have an easy approach towards life and teach a completely different way to problem-solving.
They swear by the technique mentioned in the book and how effective it is to solve a range of problems from basic, day-to-day problems to major global reforms.
Explaining the reasoning behind an Australian doctor swallowing a batch of dangerous bacteria, and why Nigerian e-mail scammers make a point of saying they’re from Nigeria, writers make the experience exciting and enjoyable.
- Lists innovative ways to deal with problems.
- Teaches a different approach towards life and possibilities.
6. Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
In this book, Predictably Irrational, writer Dan Ariely challenges the reader’s capability of problem-solving based on a rational thinking.
He quotes, “My goal, by the end of this book, is to help you fundamentally rethink what makes you and the people around you tick.
I hope to lead you there by presenting a wide range of scientific experiments, findings, and anecdotes that are in many cases quite amusing.
Once you see how systematic certain mistakes are—how we repeat them again and again—I think you will begin to learn how to avoid some of them.”
According to the writer, the human brain is peculiar and we tend to repeat our mistakes time and again not considering that what we call as “rational thinking” is, in reality, proving not beneficial to us.
- Demonstrates techniques to avoid simple mistakes.
- Discusses ideas to practice self-control and avoid procrastination.
7. The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis
The Unfolding Project is a story of how the great psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work influenced the writer Michael Lewis.
Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky worked on a series of assumptions about the decision-making process.
Considering the success of the research on how human mind made mistakes, functioned and forced to make judgments, psychologists Kahneman and Tversky created a revolution in Big Data studies, which inspired Michael Lewis to write The Unfolding Project.
It is a story of collaboration between two great literary figures making history regardless of their behavioral differences.
Kahneman and Tversky, both were heroes on the battlefield and were posted on designated posts.
Their observation and research were linked to the experiences of their extraordinary life.
Writer Michael Lewis writes about their equation and the functionality of human mind in ‘The Undoing Project’.
- Detailed study of the working of human brains.
- Inspired by great warrior’s life experiences.
8. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Writer Nassim Nicholas writes about the lessons to take from the uncertainty of life situations.
In his book, he mentions that the best life experiences are gained from the shock of life making you fragile.
As there is no opposite for the word fragile, so, let us call it antifragile; Taleb explains.
He says, “Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty.”
The writer elaborates the same concept in his book Antifragile.
- Elaborately explained the concept of antifragility.
- Demonstrates ways to overcome the shocks and uncertainties of life.
9. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
The Heath brothers give us a perfect guide to control our mind in the midst of conflict, which is considered to be the greatest distraction to a sane mind.
The writers claim that our mind is divided into two systems as rational mind and emotional mind.
Both systems are responsible for practical thought processes and emotional thought processes respectively.
For example, your rational mind wants to complete the work on time and save you from the last minute stress; but the emotional mind loves the momentary comfort and tends to procrastinate.
This causes conflict but can be overcome by practice and bring beneficial changes in your lifestyle.
In Switch, the writers show you techniques to have a control over your mind and help you achieve dramatic results.
- Teaches to practice control over our mind with innovative techniques.
10. Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making by Jerry J. Weygandt, Paul D. Kimmel, and Donald E. Kieso
Writers Weygandt, Kimmel and Kieso successfully put up the necessary techniques and concepts of making a business decision in a way that lets student understand the big picture of accounting.
Managerial Accounting caters to all fields – business as well as management students along with students who are pursuing different career paths.
Putting up the outline of decision making, the writers emphasize on developing skills and make quality business decisions in whatever career one chooses to perceive.
- Lists Business decision-making techniques.
- In-detail representation of business and accounting.
- Practical skill developing techniques.
11. A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink
Daniel Pink leads the book with a controversial point of view of how the future belongs to “right-brainers”.
He emphasizes on how the right-brain thinkers have a larger possibility to succeed by backing it with a worldwide research.
The Whole New Mind is a thought-provoking piece that takes you on a journey of self-questioning and wanting to work for better.
Daniel Pink outlines the six fundamental human abilities that are necessary for self-growth and fulfillment.
The writer manages to draw a line between who is capable of succeeding and who isn’t by skillfully demonstrating the evidence.
A Whole New Mind is here to challenge your way of thinking about the future that’s already here.
- Teaches new ways of thinking with a thought-provoking mindset.
- A go-to guide for people who want to make a change in themselves and in the world.
12. The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels by Michael Watkins
The First 90 Days is a globally acknowledged and celebrated book of leadership transitions.
Michael Watkins lists down successful techniques to negotiate and plan your next move toward a triumphant result.
Watkins pins down the strategies for making a substantial change in your career – whether you are planning to start up a new venture, or aiming for a promotion in your company – The First 90 Days is a road map to success.
The writer emphasizes the importance of skill development and decision-making during the crucial career transition periods.
Watkins guides you with proven ideas to reach – what he calls “breakeven point” – in a dramatically shorter time span.
The First 90 Days is a rulebook to a successful career graph.
- Proven strategies to improve your career graph.
- Discusses decision-making ideas toward a successful career.
- Lists of skill development strategies.
13. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
Nudge is a bible to making right decisions in life.
From eating the right food to leading a healthy life, from making the transitional changes in your career path, to controlling the mind for a happy life; Writers, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein cover every aspect of life.
Nudge is a guide to making better choices in life backed by behavioral science research.
With dozens of mind-altering examples, the writers make it easy for the readers to understand the importance to nudge our brain to make the right decisions without falling into a trap of susceptible biases.
Nudge is an ultimate guide to follow to make best decisions for ourselves and for the society.
- Articulates the importance of making right choices every day.
- Acts as a guide to help us make accurate decision in various aspects of life.
14. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
In Decisive, the bestselling authors of Made to Stick and Switch, explains why our rational brain tends to frequently fall into the traps of powerful biases and wishful thinking.
Demonstrating skillfully how easy it is to avoid the simple mistakes, the Heath brothers offer simple tricks to learn and follow.
They take us on a journey of people’s experiences and put forward their point of how over-confidence may affect our choices and how the uncertainties may unfold themselves.
Based on decades of research and study they preach practical ways to help us to think more clearly about our options, to improve our decision making at work and at home.
- Enunciates ways to tackle everyday pitfalls with smart tricks.
- Intelligent read backed with an interesting backdrop of people’s experiences.
15. The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow
Randomness and uncertainty are surrounded by everything we do and yet we fail to understand it.
In The Drunkard’s Walk, Leonard Mlodinow elaborates firmly how our life events are governed by the randomness of situations and chances.
The writer reveals how the psychological illusions prevent us from understanding the true meaning of everything.
Drawing from examples like, how a wine was given five out of five stars, the highest rating, in one journal while in another magazine, the same wine was called the worst choice of the decade.
Mlodinow demonstrates that our life experiences are less reliable than we think them to be.
He shares his insights on how we can truly understand the meaning of life events which are profoundly influenced by chance and make meaningful choices in our daily lives.
- Enlists witty examples to demonstrate the writer’s point in detail.
- Detailed study of how humans tend to misunderstand the significance of life events.
16. The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz
In The Paradox of Choice ,the writer explains that we are constantly made to choose and make decisions.
He claims that our lives have become increasingly complex due to the abundance of choice we are presented with; and how it contributes to anxiety, dissatisfaction, and regret.
Barry Schwartz explains the options that we so cherish as great satisfaction becomes detrimental to our psychological well-being.
He emphasizes on how we are made to choose in every aspect of our day to day life.
Whether we’re buying a pair of jeans, ordering a cup of coffee, selecting a long-distance carrier, applying to college, choosing a doctor, or setting up a 401K – we are constantly pressured to take the right decision.
- Explains abundance of options as a bane rather than a boon.
- Offers practical advice on choosing the right options and derive happiness.
- Suggests practical ways on making significant choices for our everyday life.
17. How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
Jonah Lehrer, in his book How We Decide, talks about how philosophers have been describing our decision-making process as either rational or emotional.
Drawing from the study of neuroscience, the writer brings to us scientifically proven facts that our mind doesn’t work in that way.
Our best decisions are taken when our feelings and reasoning are in sync with one another.
Jonah Lehrer provides us with intelligent ideas to work toward good decision-making by sharing real-world experiences.
He talks elaborately about how people are taking advantage of the new science to make better television shows, win more football games, and improve military intelligence.
He adds, his goal is to answer two questions: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better?
How We Decide is considered to be the first book to use Unexpected Discoveries of Neuroscience to guide us to make the best decisions.
- Mentions interesting techniques to make better decisions backed with scientifically proven concepts.
- Features real-world experiences and interesting examples to make the understanding easier.
18. Disrupt You!: Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity, and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation by Jay Samit
Jay Samit, a successful media expert who has launched, established and sold start-ups describes distinctive techniques he has implemented over the years on his journey to success.
Disrupt You! Is about these unique strategies to invent new markets and expand established businesses.
Jay Samit incorporates his experiences and anecdotes giving the book a personal transformation.
Disrupt You! is for anyone who’s looking for a break-through or has a big idea, but is missing the vision to take it ahead.
The book guides you through a necessary transformation to stay ahead of the game and make a big change you have been waiting for!
- Enlists full-proof strategies to give your business the necessary transformation from a successful entrepreneur himself.
- Shares real-life experiences and success story of the writer.
19. Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman
Brafman brothers make the journey interesting by answering questions that we tend to think but can’t find an answer for — why is it so difficult to sell a plummeting stock or end a doomed relationship?
Why do we listen to advice just because it came from someone “important”?
Why are we more likely to fall in love when there’s danger involved?
In Sway, the writers reveal the forces that influence human behavior in business and personal spaces supporting it with research of social psychology, behavioral economics, and organizational behavior.
It puts light on tendencies such as loss aversion (our tendency to go to great lengths to avoid perceived losses), the diagnosis bias (our inability to reevaluate our initial diagnosis of a person or situation), and the “chameleon effect” (our tendency to take on characteristics that have been arbitrarily assigned to us) and covers wide variety of human irrational behaviors.
Sway is one of those books that not only challenge your views but compels you to think differently.
- Discusses the roadmap to understand why humans commit irrational behaviors.
- They use case studies to explain why humans behave the way we do instead of the usual psychology, biology or neurology methods.
- Keeps the readers interested until the very end.
20. Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rumelt
In Good Strategy Bad Strategy, Richard Rumelt teaches use how to clears out the muddled thinking underlying too many strategies and provides us with a clear way to create and implement an action-oriented strategy for the real world.
As a leader, developing and implementing a strategy is the central task, whether you lead a corporation, a school, or a government institution.
Surprisingly, a good strategy is not only often unexpected (because most institutions don’t have one), they also mistake financial goals for a strategy.
This books uses great examples from business, nonprofit, and military affairs to bring its original and practical ideas to life.
In conclusion, this is the book if you want to learn from real life case studies of good strategies and bad strategies.
- What a business strategy is, and why most people have wrong perception.
- Insights of what makes good or bad strategy.
- Real life case studies on good and bad strategies.
So, Which Book Should You Buy?
If you’re like most people who prefer to read popular books, the books on the Quick Recommendation table is enough for you.
What is your experience in making hard decision? Share with us in the comment section below!