10 Books That Will Help You Master the Art of Decision Making

10 Books That Will Help You Master the Art of Decision Making

Our life will be shaped by every decision we take. Therefore, every result we experience is the result of a single decision we took. Everything in life is dependent on the decisions we take in our day-to-day life, starting with the moment we get out of bed in the morning and continuing until the end of the day.

You are frequently characterized by the choices you make, whether they be in your work or personal life. While certain actions, like brushing your teeth and taking a bath, are routine and nearly automatic, other actions, like setting your daily schedule, only need modest decision-making.

However, in a work setting, having good decision-making abilities is crucial since they will influence how you develop personally and professionally. Depending on your position within an organization, your choices may potentially affect other employees or even the professional brand.

No one is naturally an excellent or terrible decision-maker. You can study and develop your decision-making abilities just like you may learn to write, talk, or play soccer. The subject of decision-making has been covered in many excellent publications, some of which are covered in this article, which you'll find when you read further.

  1. Thinking, Fast and Slow
  2. Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions
  3. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
  4. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
  5. The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win
  6. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
  7. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
  8. The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
  9. How We Decide
  10. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

1. Thinking, Fast and Slow

Publishing Year 2011
Author Daniel Kahneman
Genre Non-Fiction
Goodreads Rating 4.17
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Regardless of what you may think, the Nobel prize in economics isn't given out like a piece of cake. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to everything Daniel Kahneman does.

In his book Thinking Fast and Slow, published in the year 2011, he addresses the two competing neural mechanisms or brain systems vying for control of our behavior and actions, that makes us vulnerable to mistakes and poor judgment, and what one can do to fix it.

The book educates people on how to be more conscious and make wiser decisions, as well as when and how to trust your gut instinct or a natural inclination.

Three of the many useful lessons to understand what's happening up there are as follows:

  • Your mind has two systems that control your behaviourβ€”one conscious and the other automated.
  • Your brain is slothful, which prevents you from utilizing all of your abilities.
  • Leave your emotions at home while making financial decisions.

2. Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

Publishing Year 2016
Author Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
Genre Self-Help Book
Goodreads Rating 4.13
Algorithms to Live By, by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
Algorithms to Live By, by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

This book is for you whether you have experience with computer science or just wish to dangle your toes in the fascinating realm of algorithms. The ability to convey complicated concepts in straightforward language is the mark of a subject-matter expert, and Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths demonstrate this to the fullest extent possible in this book.

"Algorithms to Live By" combines complex ideas with excellent comprehension. Β At its core, "Algorithms to Live By" examines the various basic algorithms (of computer science) that are available with a focus on how they might be used with practicality to address everyday issues.

The scope of "Algorithms to Live By" is quite broad. These cover everything from looking for an apartment to infrastructure planning; from reducing regrets to philosophies. The book demonstrates the value of computer algorithms in our day-to-day activities. It also shows how pervasive these algorithms are in all spheres of life.

Each chapter begins with an explanation of the issue before delving into the theory's antecedents and potential solutions. The author is seen employing several computer algorithms and their practical limits to address a variety of issues about decision-making efficiently.

We may read the chapters in whatever sequence we desire because each one is complete in and of itself. The fact that this book's chapters are titled after computer algorithms is another intriguing aspect of it. Examples include Sorting, Caching, Bayes's rule, Randomness, Optimal Stopping, etc.

3. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Publishing Year 2008
Author Dan Ariely
Genre Non-Fiction, Legal Opinion
Goodreads Rating 4.12
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

It's common to assume that people are acting irrationally. When we believe that we are fully rational, we cannot understand the actions of others. Dan Ariely, however, emphasizes in Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions that we are not just completely irrational, but that it is predictable to us. We consistently commit the same blunders.

Instead of making sensible decisions, we frequently make irrational ones. The central thesis of the book is that customers consistently behave irrationally, at best making poor decisions and, at worst, engaged in self-punishing actions.

Ariely employs behavioral economics, a blend of psychology and economics, to describe how customers respond instead of how they ought to criticize the rational choice theory that forms the basis of the majority of marketing techniques.

He also makes a comment directed at consumer survey research, pointing out that responses sometimes have more to do with how the poll was designed than about the topic under investigation.

Dan explains that humans are not rational individuals and proves it via a series of studies as to the extent to which we are not. He says that human "bounded rationality" is what causes logical and methodical irrationality (rationality bounded by limitations of time, data and processing power).

Dan manages to crack a smile on the face of his readers with humor throughout the book (even though the book opens with an agonizing experience of his). Additionally, 'specialists and most-learned individuals' are also irrational. It's not just regular people.

The author contends that we behave irrationally in a regular fashion. He makes the case that by focusing on these irrational choices we make, it is feasible to reduce the likelihood that we will fall prey to cognitive biases, be better decision-makers, and enable us to make wiser judgments in life.

4. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Publishing Year 2012
Author Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Genre Non-Fiction
Goodreads Rating 4.09
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Antifragile is a book about how certain systems prosper from instability and disorders, written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the greatest philosophers of modern times.

Taleb highlighted a problem in The Black Swan, and in Antifragile, he gives a clear solution: how to benefit from disorder and chaos while being shielded from fragilities and negative happenings. Because it gains strength through adversities, unpredictability, and pressures, much like human bones do when under stress and tension, what he refers to as the "antifragile" is one step beyond resilience.

This book's central concept is straightforward and quite alluring. The world and everything in it, including people, objects, institutions, and ways of living, are divided into three categories by the author: the fragile, the robust, and the antifragile. If you avoid chaos and disturbance out of concern that they would ruin your life, you are fragile.

Although you may believe that you are protecting yourself, in reality, you are leaving yourself open to the jolt that will destroy everything. If you can withstand shocks without quivering or altering who you are, you are robust.

But if shocks and disruptions make you stronger and more inventive, better equipped to adapt to every new difficulty you meet, then you are antifragile. According to Taleb, we should all strive to be "Antifragile".

5. The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win

Publishing Year 2020
Author Maria Konnikova
Genre Biography
Goodreads Rating 4.08
The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova
The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova

In her captivating book, "The Biggest Bluff," Maria Konnikova asserts that if our world is based on coincidence and unpredictability, then on earth with 7.5 billion people, the concept of "one chance in a million" isn't so outlandish.

She writes, "Someone will lose a job." "Someone will develop a weird illness, " The lottery will be won by someone or perhaps they will just win $125 on their first $3 wager", "discover their soul mate among the crowd", or "catch Covid-19 via an Amazon delivery, all the while others will stay fit and healthy while sipping florescent beverages in some packed Ozarkian pool".

Even rare may veer towards the ordinary. She claims that it is simply a matter of numbers and that it is neither good nor bad. The foundation of the "chance and talent ratio" is probabilistic, according to Konnikova.

However, history and intense anxiety have programmed our primitive selves with limitations and distortions that sometimes amplify risks and possibilities. We're just one tiny misstep away from a bag of riches, but there is always a turn around the corner.

What if instead, we could view our future with more objectivity? What if we were able to look above the highs and lows, the triumphs and catastrophes, our losing and winning games, to the underpinning system of probability and free will that governs every aspect of life, including aspects of love, health, and wealth?

In "The Biggest Bluff," Konnikova makes the case that the game of No Limit Texas Hold'em (poker) is the ideal encapsulation of our probabilistic reality, with all its combinations of constants and variables, by concentrating on the author's own extraordinary desire to triumph in it.

One of the biggest bluffs of "The Biggest Bluff" might be that Konnikova hasn't exactly written a book about her success with cards and chips, but rather has bet the house on the ability of her mind to synthesize big philosophical concepts and psychological knowledge and insights at a time when we, too, are wondering about our fortunes, trying to control our fates, and facing much greater odds than ever before.

The rewards for readers are much more intellectual, such as Konnikova's conclusion that we overestimate our degree of control over our situations. She discovered that believing 'talent is sufficient' is the biggest hoax of all. We'll always be dealt some bad cards, but focusing on how we play them rather than how they turn out can help us get through many difficult times until good fortune strikes again.

6. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Publishing Year 2019
Author David Epstein
Genre Self-Help Book
Goodreads Rating 4.16
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

What is the best way to achieve success in any field? Not at all what you imagine. Many analysts suggest that starting young, concentrating intensively, and logging the most hours of purposeful practice are the best strategies for anybody who wishes to master a skill, lead their sector, learn a new sport, or a new instrument. You can never catch up to those who had an early start if you postpone or meddle.

However, a thorough examination of the studies on the world's top achievers, including Nobel laureates and professional sports, reveals that early specialization is more of an exception than a rule. David Epstein examined the journey of the top scientists, artists, singers, innovators, and predictors around the globe.

He found that generalists, not specialists, are more likely to succeed in most disciplines, especially those that are complicated and unexpected. Generalists frequently stumble upon their path and juggle many pursuits rather than concentrating on just one. They have greater creativity, are more nimble, and can find connections that their more specialized friends cannot.

The range presents a strong argument for purposefully encouraging inefficiency that is thought-provoking, meticulous, and captivating. The greatest method to get the knowledge is to fail a test. The most fulfilling professions are those of habitual quitters.

The most influential inventors combine many fields rather than honing their expertise in just one. The word "range" can be used to refer to both an area to wander and the act of wandering. That is Epstein's main argument. This book also discusses psychology. Specialization is vital in many professions, of course.

His careful consideration of the lives of Kepler and Van Gogh, as well as the touching account of the birth of the Baroque movement in Venice under the leadership of underprivileged women "who had not led delicate lives," suggests that the central themes of this work are art, metaphor, incongruence, and analogical reasoning.

In some respects, the book is about the decisions we take based on the 'originals' we were born to seekβ€”our unlived, restrained, and unforeseen identities.

7. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Publishing Year 2005
Author Malcolm Gladwell
Genre Self-Help Book
Goodreads Rating 3.95
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Blink transforms the method you'll comprehend every decision you take by utilizing cutting-edge neurology and psychology, showcasing all of the brilliance. You won't ever contemplate acting in the same fashion anymore.

Malcolm Gladwell through his book aims to transform our perspective on the world by fundamentally altering how we perceive our respective inner worlds. The book Blink explores how we make snap decisions that aren't as straightforward as they first appear. It also explores how we think automatically.

Why do some people make excellent decisions while others continuously fail to do so? Why do some individuals go with their gut and succeed whereas others make mistakes when they follow their inclinations? In the office, the school, the kitchen, and the bedroom, how do our minds actually function? Why is it that the finest choices are frequently ones that cannot be justified to others?

According to Blink, outstanding decision-makers are those who have mastered the skill of "thin-slicing," or filtering the minuscule number of relevant elements from an enormous range of variables.

These individuals don't necessarily assimilate so much data or devote the most time debating about the enormous amount of the same. According to Gladwell, sometimes having too much knowledge might make it difficult to make judgments or evaluate problems accurately.

8. The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

Publishing Year 2016
Author Michael Lewis
Genre Non-Fiction
Goodreads Rating 3.97
The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis
The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

In his book The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, American author Michael Lewis examines the close collaboration between Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman(the author of Thinking Fast, and Slow) and Amos Tversky, whose research on heuristic algorithms in judgment and decision-making exposed typical flaws in human psychology, and how that collaboration ultimately crumbled.

They discovered that humans had a preference for underestimating ambiguity. The book talks about how humans overvalue a small number of observations and fail to properly handle uncertainty. Statistics show that we do a poor job of processing ambiguity about individuals, falling back on preconceptions based on a few striking instances of various sorts of people.

Because Mr. Kahneman and Tversky discovered that even individuals versed in statistics display the same cognitive biases, it would be incorrect to ridicule the ignorant for such errors.

Mr. Lewis has provided us with an amazing tale of two great individuals who faced ambiguity and the limitations of rational thought-process in a world of excessively definite forecasts and policy recommendations from consulting firms and think tanks to politicians and book authors.

9. How We Decide

Publishing Year 2009
Author Jonah Lehrer
Genre Non-Fiction
Goodreads Rating 3.83
 How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

The scientific author Jonah Lehrer details the tragic demise of Ann Klinestiver in this book. Ann, the 52-year-old high school English teacher, was the epitome of small-town decorum in her West Virginia community and the subject of empathic respect as she struggled with Parkinson's disease-related tremors.

She then started acting quite weirdly, as Lehrer recalls. Her neurons, notably her dopamine-producing neurons, made her do it, like the majority of scientific mysteries. Dopamine is known to be the essential component in our neurological system that enables instinctive decision-making. Dopaminergic neurons maintain track of the things that satisfy our wants and needs on an emotional level.

When we make a pleasant decision, especially when we fulfill primitive physiological drives like hunger or thirst, dopamine is the chemical that encourages rewarding behavior. Furthermore, Lehrer claims that dopamine is so essential to learning in primates like humans that "the process of decision-making begins with fluctuations of dopamine."

Based on dopamine studies, How We Decide presents the narrative of decision science as more resolved than it actually is sometimes. How We Decide sheds light with a concise, perceptive, and amicable overview of new studies on how we make decisions, especially the ones we invariably do wrong.

10. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Publishing Year 2008
Author Richard H. Thaler, and Cass R. Sunstein
Genre Self-Help Book
Goodreads Rating 3.83
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, and Cass R. Sunstein
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, and Cass R. Sunstein

We make decisions every day about everything from what to purchase and eat, to stock holdings, the education and well-being of our children, and even the initiatives we support and the future of the world. Regrettably, we routinely tend to choose wrongly.

Nudge focuses on our decision-making processes and how we may improve upon them. Nobel Prize winner Richard H. Thaler and Harvard Law School professor Cass R. Sunstein demonstrate that no choice is ever displayed to us in a rational way and that we are all likely to be exposed to biases that can cause us to make poor decisions.

They do this by using numerous eye-opening examples and drawing on decades of behavioral science research. However, by understanding human thought processes, we may employ logical "choice architecture" to guide ourselves toward the choices that are best for us, our families, and our community without compromising our choice freedom.

The fundamental tenet of the book is that altering people's views shouldn't be necessary for breakthroughs to succeed because doing so is expensive and unsuccessful almost often, whether it be by compulsion or debate.

Innovations should instead subtly nudge individuals by affecting their thought processes. It is the goal of nudging to get individuals to think, frequently in innovative and unusual ways, in order to achieve the desired outcome.


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Conclusion

Decision-making is an essential factor that determines the growth of an individual in all aspects. Decisions can be made to improve the personal aspect of life or there might be a need to take a good decision in order to have a successful professional path.

And just saying about it will not make one learn the art behind it. The above article contains well-known books to read in order to improve your decision-making ability. The books shared above are from the most recommended category.

FAQs

What are some decision-making skills?

Some of the decision-making skills are active listening, communication, logic, problem-solving, critical thinking, etc.

What influences decision-making?

Factors that can influence decision-making ability are past experience, individual differences, cognitive biases, etc.

What are the challenges of decision-making?

Some of the challenges related to decision-making are time constraints, conflicts, uncertainty, bounded rationality, etc.

What are the three types of decision-making?

The three types of decision-making based on the level they occur are strategic decisions, operational decisions, and tactical decisions.

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