51 Best Books on Decision Making

Best Books on Decision MakingN

o one goes without a day with making a decision. Decisions are constantly made within our thought process. Most of us don’t realize the importance of these decision-making skills that we need to develop as business leaders or for our career growth. In a matter of fact, many skills that we acquire from our problem-solving abilities, logical reasoning, collaboration initiatives, or our emotional intelligence, among other skills allow us to make the decisions we make. In other words, it may be clear to say that our decision-making abilities are the products of our abilities in other skills. That’s why we need to focus on learning the skill set on this subject matter.

Best Books on Decision Making: THE LIST

1. The Biggest Bluff
2. Thinking in Time
3. Super Thinking
4. The Optimist’s Telescope
5. The Paradox of Choice
6. The Enigma of Reason
7. The Intelligence Trap
8. Total Focus
9. NeuroSelling
10. Thinking in Bets
11. The Decision Maker’s Playbook
12. Never Go with Your Gut
13. Conformity
14. Good People
15. The Importance of Small Decisions
16. Decisive Intuition
17. Farsighted
18. What Did We Know? What Did We Do?
19. Problem Solved
20. The Decision Makeover
21. The Organized Mind
22. Risk Savvy
23. Mind + Machine
24. Data-ism
25. The HEAD Game
26. Eyes Wide Open
27. How Will You Measure Your Life?
28. Choosing Not to Choose
29. Behind Every Good Decision
30. The Decision Book
31. The Evolution of Cooperation
32. Left Brain, Right Stuff
33. Pivot Points
34. In An Uncertain World
35. Problem Solved!
36. Wharton on Making Decisions
37. The Decision Maker
38. The Mind of the Soul
39. The Right Decision
40. Streetlights and Shadows
41. The Optimization Edge
42. The Future of Decision Making
43. Sources of Power
44. The Impulse Factor
45. The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making
46. Judgment in Managerial Decision Making
47. Deciding Who Leads
48. Consensus through Conversation
49. Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer
50. Competitive Intelligence
51. Decision Making Using Game Theory

1. The Biggest Bluff | By Maria Konnikova

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It’s true that Maria Konnikova had never actually played poker before and didn’t even know the rules when she approached Erik Seidel, Poker Hall of Fame inductee and winner of tens of millions of dollars in earnings, and convinced him to be her mentor. But she knew her man: a famously thoughtful and broad-minded player, he was intrigued by her pitch that she wasn’t interested in making money so much as learning about life. She had faced a stretch of personal bad luck, and her reflections on the role of chance had led her to a giant of game theory, who pointed her to poker as the ultimate master class in learning to distinguish between what can be controlled and what can’t. And she certainly brought something to the table, including a Ph.D. in psychology and an acclaimed and growing body of work on human behavior and how to hack it. So Seidel was in, and soon she was down the rabbit hole with him, into the wild, fiercely competitive, overwhelmingly masculine world of high-stakes Texas Hold’em, their initial endpoint the following year’s World Series of Poker.

But then something extraordinary happened. Under Seidel’s guidance, Konnikova did have many epiphanies about life that derived from her new pursuit, including how to better read, not just her opponents but far more importantly herself; how to identify what tilted her into an emotional state that got in the way of good decisions; and how to get to a place where she could accept luck for what it was, and what it wasn’t. But she also began to win. And win. In a little over a year, she began making earnest money from tournaments, ultimately totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.  She won a major title, got a sponsor, and got used to being on television, and to headlines like “How one writer’s book deal turned her into a professional poker player.” She even learned to like Las Vegas.

But in the end, Maria Konnikova is a writer and student of human behavior, and ultimately the point was to render her incredible journey into a container for its invaluable lessons. The biggest bluff of all, she learned, is that skill is enough. Bad cards will come our way, but keeping our focus on how we play them and not on the outcome will keep us moving through many a dark patch until the luck once again breaks our way.

2. Thinking in Time | By Ernest R. May and Richard E. Neustadt

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Two noted professors offer easily remembered rules for using history effectively in the day-to-day management of governmental and corporate affairs to avoid costly blunders. “An illuminating guide to the use and abuse of history in affairs of state” (Arthur Schlesinger).

3. Super Thinking | By Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann

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The world’s greatest problem-solvers, forecasters, and decision-makers all rely on a set of frameworks and shortcuts that help them cut through complexity and separate good ideas from bad ones. They’re called mental models, and you can find them in dense textbooks on psychology, physics, economics, and more.

Or, you can just read Super Thinking, a fun, illustrated guide to every mental model you could possibly need. How can mental models help you? Well, here are just a few examples…

   • If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by a to-do list that’s grown too long, maybe you need the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to help you prioritize.

   • Use the 5 Whys model to better understand people’s motivations or get to the root cause of a problem.

   • Before concluding that your colleague who messes up your projects is out to sabotage you, consider Hanlon’s Razor for an alternative explanation.

   • Ever sat through a bad movie just because you paid a lot for the ticket? You might be falling prey to Sunk Cost Fallacy.

   • Set up Forcing Functions, like standing meetings or deadlines, to help grease the wheels for changes you want to occur.

So, the next time you find yourself faced with a difficult decision or just trying to understand a complex situation, let Super Thinking to upgrade your brain with mental models.

4. The Optimist’s Telescope | By Bina Venkataraman

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A trailblazing exploration of how we can plan better for the future: our own, our families, and our society.  

Instant gratification is the norm today—in our lives, our culture, our economy, and our politics. Many of us have forgotten (if we ever learned) how to make smart decisions for the long run. Whether it comes to our finances, our health, our communities, or our planet, it’s easy to avoid thinking ahead.

The consequences of this immediacy are stark: Superbugs spawned by the overuse of antibiotics endanger our health. Companies that fail to invest stagnate and fall behind. Hurricanes and wildfires turn deadly for communities that could have taken more precautions. Today more than ever, all of us need to know how we can make better long-term decisions in our lives, businesses, and society.

Bina Venkataraman sees the way forward. A former journalist and adviser in the Obama administration, she helped communities and businesses prepare for climate change, and she learned firsthand why people don’t think ahead—and what can be done to change that. In The Optimist’s Telescope, she draws from stories she has reported around the world and new research in biology, psychology, and economics to explain how we can make decisions that benefit us over time. With examples from ancient Pompeii to modern-day Fukushima, she dispels the myth that human nature is impossibly reckless and highlights the surprising practices each of us can adopt in our own lives—and the ones we must fight for as a society. The result is a book brimming with the ideas and insights all of us need in order to forge a better future.

5. The Paradox of Choice | By Barry Schwartz

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In the spirit of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, a social critique of our obsession with choice, and how it contributes to anxiety, dissatisfaction, and regret. This paperback includes a new preface from the author.

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 401(k), everyday decisions—both big and small—have become increasingly complex due to the overwhelming abundance of choice with which we are presented.

As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress. And, in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.

In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains at what point choice—the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish—becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. Inaccessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice—from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs—has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution. Schwartz also shows how our obsession with choice encourages us to seek that which makes us feel worse.

By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counterintuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, has the discipline to focus on those that are important and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.

6. The Enigma of Reason | By Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber

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If the reason is what makes us human, why do we behave so irrationally? And if it is so useful, why didn’t it evolve in other animals? This groundbreaking account of the evolution of reason by two renowned cognitive scientists seeks to solve this double enigma. The reason, they argue, helps us justify our beliefs, convince others, and evaluate arguments. It makes it easier to cooperate and communicate and to live together in groups. Provocative, entertaining, and undeniably relevant, The Enigma of Reason will make many reasonable people rethink their beliefs.

7. The Intelligence Trap | By David Robson

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A “startling, provocative and potently useful” (James McConnachie, Times UK) examination of the stupid things intelligent people do.

The Intelligence Trap explores cutting-edge ideas in our understanding of intelligence and expertise, including “motivated reasoning,” “meta-forgetfulness,” and “functional stupidity.” Does David Robson reveal the surprising ways that even the brightest minds and most talented organizations can go wrong? From some of Thomas Edison’s worst ideas to failures at NASA―while offering practical advice to avoid mistakes based on the timeless lessons of Benjamin Franklin, Richard Feynman, and Daniel Kahneman.

8. Total Focus | By Brandon Webb and John David Mann

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What do you do at work when a hundred crises seem to be happening at the same time? Do you pick just one priority or try to put out every fire? How can you stay composed, figure out what really matters, and act decisively? 
 
When former U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Brandon Webb transitioned to civilian life, he struggled to get his first startup business off the ground. He raised millions for his new venture, only to lose it all as problems spiraled out of his control.
 
In the wake of that failure, Webb realized that successful entrepreneurs need a skill he had already mastered: total focus. SEAL snipers define it as the ability to filter out noise and chaos so you can make life-or-death decisions under the extreme conditions of combat. If he could maintain total focus while staring through crosshairs at a man who might (or might not) be an Al Qaeda terrorist, surely he could do the same in the business world.
 
So Webb started over, applying total focus to a new startup, a media company called Hurricane Group. His approach was so effective that in just five years, Hurricane grew to have a staff of over fifty, an audience in the tens of millions, and a valuation of more than $100 million.
 
In this book, Webb teaches us to make better decisions under extreme pressure by emulating the habits of his fellow warriors, as well as other skills he learned on the job and from great friends and business leaders like Solomon Choi of 16 Handles, Matt Meeker of BarkBox, and Betsy Morgan of the Huffington Post and TheBlaze. For instance, you’ll discover:

·  The difference between total focus and tunnel vision is developing total situational awareness: the ability to spot opportunities and threats without getting distracted from your goal.
·  You can overcome indecisiveness and hesitancy by accepting violence of action: a decision to move forward with an imperfect plan, knowing that even the best-laid plans go wrong.
·  Entrepreneurs must learn to embrace the suck, refusing to quit when the going gets brutal, and recognizing that unexpected challenges may reveal your best shot at success.

By following the tactics and wisdom of a generation of legendary snipers and business leaders, you’ll find the clarity of mind you need to accomplish your own mission—whatever it takes.

9. NeuroSelling | By Jeff Bloomfield

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Your business lives and dies by your customer conversations.

But do customers remember you in a sea of sellers?

In his latest book, NeuroSelling, B2B sales expert Jeff Bloomfield uses a unique blend of science and story to show you how to master those conversations. Drawing on the latest in biology, psychology, and physiology research, Bloomfield teaches you how to successfully engage your customer’s “buying brain.” His NeuroSelling® methodology has added millions of dollars in top-line revenue for industries as diverse as biotech, heavy manufacturing, engineering, pharmaceuticals, and banking/financial services.

Throughout the book, Bloomfield shares insightful examples and real-life illustrations of professionals using NeuroSelling® to exceed their sales quotas and professional goals, from the sales rep who went from the bottom half of hundreds of salespeople to the company’s rep of the year, as well as the dark-horse candidate who beat out three more experienced candidates to land the CEO position.

If your organization:

  • offers discounts to seal the deal
  • has sales cycles far too long
  • lacks a clear sales strategy to grow revenue year over year

…then NeuroSelling presents a clear process to win at the most crucial step in the sales cycle: the point of first impact.

Learn how to:

  • get past “rapport-building” and learn to build genuine trust
  • use their problem as the true cost anchor (instead of your product’s price)
  • create overwhelming urgency, using their words and situation
  • quantify the scale of your customer’s deeper problem
  • create an aligned vision with the customer
  • end the “hard close” and move from salesperson to trusted partner

Join the thousands of salespeople experiencing phenomenal growth in their careers and organizations.

NeuroSelling®: when neuroscience meets B2B sales success.

10. Thinking in Bets | By Annie Duke

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Poker champion turned business consultant Annie Duke teaches you how to get comfortable with uncertainty and make better decisions as a result.

In Super Bowl XLIX, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made one of the most controversial calls in football history: With 26 seconds remaining, and trailing by four at the Patriots’ one-yard line, he called for a pass instead of a handoff to his star running back. The pass was intercepted and the Seahawks lost. Critics called it the dumbest play in history. But was the call really that bad? Or did Carroll actually make a great move that was ruined by bad luck?

Even the best decision doesn’t yield the best outcome every time. There’s always an element of luck that you can’t control, and there is always information that is hidden from view. So the key to long-term success (and avoiding worrying yourself to death) is to think in bets: How sure am I? What are the possible ways things could turn out? What decision has the highest odds of success? Did I land in the unlucky 10% on the strategy that works 90% of the time? Or is my success attributable to dumb luck rather than great decision-making?

Annie Duke, a former World Series of Poker champion turned business consultant, draws on examples from business, sports, politics, and (of course) poker to share tools anyone can use to embrace uncertainty and make better decisions. For most people, it’s difficult to say “I’m not sure” in a world that values and, even, rewards the appearance of certainty. But professional poker players are comfortable with the fact that great decisions don’t always lead to great outcomes and bad decisions don’t always lead to bad outcomes.

By shifting your thinking from a need for certainty to a goal of accurately assessing what you know and what you don’t, you’ll be less vulnerable to reactive emotions, knee-jerk biases, and destructive habits in your decision-making. You’ll become more confident, calm, compassionate, and successful in the long run.

11. The Decision Maker’s Playbook | By Simon Mueller and Julia Dhar

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The Decision Maker’s Playbook is an easy-to-use, “how-to” toolkit to improve managers’ decision-making, using visualizations, relevant examples, and actionable checklists that cater to its main target group: analytically interested, busy managers, and entrepreneurs.

The Decision Maker’s Playbook will help readers navigate a complex world.  Along with the four chapters of the books, it will help you in:

1. Collective Evidence

2. Connecting the Dots

3. Crafting the Approach

4. Complete the Mission

The Decision Maker’s Playbook is your personal toolbox to help you make better decisions. It offers practical advice to help you understand, analyze and shape your world.

As simplified representations of reality, the models portrayed in this book allow us to see patterns, identify relationships, and view the world from different vantage points. They help us understand and break up complex phenomena into tractable pieces.

From Unknown unknowns over Fat Tails to Counterfactuals, this book will make lesser-known but highly relevant models available for immediate use – in a visual way, supported by applicable case studies and without jargon.

12. Never Go with Your Gut | By Gleb Tsipursky

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Avoid terrible advice, cognitive biases, and poor decisions.

“Before you find yourself about to make another gut-based decision that will surely end badly you must take the time to read this book. It will save you from yourself!” —Leonard A. Schlesinger, Ph.D., Vice Chairman, and COO Emeritus at Limited Brands, Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School, President Emeritus of Babson College, and bestselling author of Just Start

Want to avoid business disasters, whether minor mishaps, such as excessive team conflict, or major calamities like those that threaten bankruptcy or doom a promising career? Fortunately, behavioral economics studies show that such disasters stem from poor decisions due to our faulty mental patterns—what scholars call “cognitive biases”—and are preventable.

Unfortunately, the typical advice for business leaders to “go with their guts” plays into these cognitive biases and leads to disastrous decisions that devastate the bottom line. By combining practical case studies with cutting-edge research, Never Go With Your Gut will help you make the best decisions and prevent these business disasters.

The leading expert on avoiding business disasters, Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, draws on over 20 years of extensive consulting, coaching, and speaking experience to show how pioneering leaders and organizations—many of them his clients—avoid business disasters. Reading this book will enable you to:

  • Discover how pioneering leaders and organizations address cognitive biases to avoid disastrous decisions.
  • Adapt best practices on avoiding business disasters from these leaders and organizations to your own context.
  • Develop processes that empower everyone in your organization to avoid business disasters.

13. Conformity | By Cass R. Sunstein

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We live in an era of tribalism, polarization, and intense social division―separating people along lines of religion, political conviction, race, ethnicity, and sometimes gender. How did this happen? In Conformity, Cass R. Sunstein argues that the key to making sense of living in this fractured world lies in understanding the idea of conformity―what it is and how it works―as well as the countervailing force of dissent.

An understanding of conformity sheds new light on many issues confronting us today: the role of social media, the rise of fake news, the growth of authoritarianism, the success of Donald Trump, the functions of free speech, debates over immigration, and the Supreme Court, and much more.

Lacking information of our own and seeking the good opinion of others, we often follow the crowd, but Sunstein shows that when individuals suppress their own instincts about what is true and what is right, it can lead to significant social harm. While dissenters tend to be seen as selfish individualists, dissent is actually an important means of correcting the natural human tendency toward conformity and has enormous social benefits in reducing extremism, encouraging critical thinking, and protecting freedom itself.

Sunstein concludes that while much of the time it is in the individual’s interest to follow the crowd, it is in the social interest for individuals to say and do what they think is best. A well-functioning democracy depends on it.

14. Good People | By Anthony Tjan

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Good people are your organization’s most critical asset. But what does it really mean to be good?
           
Leaders love to say that any company is only as good as its people but tend to evaluate candidates and employees more by their measurable accomplishments than by their “softer” qualities, like integrity, compassion, and other values. Bestselling author Anthony Tjan is leading a movement to change the way we think about goodness so that we can become better judges of people and create more goodness in ourselves, in others, and in our organizations.

Tjan argues that while competence is necessary, real goodness must also encompass values; a fantastic résumé can never compensate for the mediocre character. In Good People, he provides a clear language to discuss goodness, redefining it as a lifelong, proactive commitment that, like any skill, can be exercised, honed, and taught. When leaders prioritize goodness in themselves and in others, they can create lasting cultures and tremendous value.

Drawing from his own experiences as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Tjan also taps into the wisdom of his relationships and interviews with extraordinary innovators, executives, artists, academics, teachers, and role models from all disciplines and walks of life who embody his vision. The cases and profiles shared include Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria, who has called for balancing leadership of competency with the leadership of character; Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has never forgotten her roots and shows profound kindness to her staff and clerks;  Hollywood talent manager Shep Gordon, who has counseled his clients on the importance of generosity and gratitude; legendary venture capitalist Henry McCance, whose success proves that humbly ceding the spotlight to others makes room for their greatness; and master jazz musician Clark Terry, who devotedly mentored the young, blind pianist Justin Kauflin.

Packed with practical yet often surprising advice, Good People establishes a new language and framework you can use to evaluate, develop, and lead with goodness. Tjan will convince you that there is a hard truth in the “soft stuff” of business and that choosing and working well with good people is truly the only leadership decision that really matters.

15. The Importance of Small Decisions | By Michael J. O’Brian, R. Alexander Bentley, and William A. Brock

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How people make decisions in an era of too much information and fake news.

Humans originally evolved in a world of few choices. Prehistoric, preindustrial, and predigital eras required fewer decisions than today’s all-access, always-on world of too much information. Economists have largely discarded the idea that agents act rationally and the market follows suit. It seems that no matter how small or innocuous a decision might seem, there’s almost no way to guess the effect it might have. The authors of The Importance of Small Decisions view decisions and their outcomes from a different perspective: as key elements in the evolution of culture. In this trailblazing book, they examine different kinds of decisions and map the outcomes, both short- and long-term. Drawing on this, they introduce a map of social behavior that captures the essential elements of human decision-making.

The authors look at the New England Patriots’ decision in 2000 to draft an underachieving college quarterback named Tom Brady; they consider Warren Buffett’s investment strategy, and they chart the “dancing landscape” of a college applicant’s decision-making environment. Finally, they show that decisions can be ranked according to the transparency of choice and social influence. When fake news seems indistinguishable from real news and when the internet offers a cacophony of voices, they warn, we can’t afford to crowdsource our decisions.

16. Decisive Intuition | By Rick Snyder

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At last a practical guide on intuitive decision-making for anyone in the business world to get to the answer they need faster.

Intuition is the great differentiator in business. Listening to, trusting, and acting on your intuitive intelligence separates you from the pack as most people are not listening to theirs. Intuition is the one intangible skill that enables teams to function at a higher level and add more dimension and power to their ability to solve problems and grow. Yet the question that each business leader and manager struggles to answer is how do you train and develop intuitive thinking in a team to achieve the greatest result?

Decisive Intuition is for business leaders, managers, and employees who want answers to this question and are ready to accelerate their company culture.

  • Practice this 6-step process for harnessing your intuitive intelligence with practical business applications.
  • Hear how successful business leaders are integrating intuitive skills into their companies for cutting-edge results.
  • Explore directional, social, and informational intuition and how you can apply them to different areas of your business for greater results.
  • Learn about the 5 roadblocks to accessing your intuitive intelligence and how to overcome them.
  • Discover the latest findings in neuroscience and techniques to access your intuitive, subconscious mind for arriving at better decisions, faster.

17. Farsighted | By Steven Johnson

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The hardest choices are also the most consequential. So why do we know so little about how to get them right?

Big, life-altering decisions matter so much more than the decisions we make every day, and they’re also the most difficult: where to live, whom to marry, what to believe, whether to start a company, how to end a war. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for addressing these kinds of conundrums.

Steven Johnson’s classic Where Good Ideas Come From inspired creative people all over the world with new ways of thinking about innovation. In Farsighted, he uncovers powerful tools for honing the important skill of complex decision-making. While you can’t model a once-in-a-lifetime choice, you can model the deliberative tactics of expert decision-makers. These experts aren’t just the master strategists running major companies or negotiating high-level diplomacy. They’re the novelists who draw out the complexity of their characters’ inner lives, the city officials who secure long-term water supplies, and the scientists who reckon with future challenges most of us haven’t even imagined. The smartest decision-makers don’t go with their guts. Their success relies on having a future-oriented approach and the ability to consider all their options in a creative, productive way.

Through compelling stories that reveal surprising insights, Johnson explains how we can most effectively approach the choices that can chart the course of a life, an organization, or a civilization. Farsighted will help you imagine your possible futures and appreciate the subtle intelligence of the choices that shaped our broader social history.

18. What Did We Know? What Did We Do? | By Fred Herzner

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In July 1989, United Airlines Flight 232 crashed in Sioux City, Iowa. One hundred and eleven people lost their lives and numerous others were seriously injured. The accident was initiated by a small metallurgical defect in an engine rotating part. That engine was manufactured by General Electric Aircraft Engines.

When Fred Herzner learned of the fateful crash, he immediately had a suspicion that a problem he had been working on as a member of the GE engineering team may have initiated the event. When it was confirmed, Herzner questioned what he and the others might have done to break the chain of events that led to the accident. This led him on a quest to understand how decisions get made in large organizations and develop principles that could be used to help large organizations avoid being involved in events that might threaten people’s lives and have grave consequences for both the organization and the people in them.

In What Did We Know? What Did We Do? Making decisions in large organizations, Herzner shares his personal experience and uses other major disasters, such as the BP oil spill and Flint, Michigan water crisis as a means to benchmark his principles. He explains how values and culture influence the decision process and how individuals interact with the organization, and vice versa.

And, Herzner challenges readers to learn from these painful lessons and implement a new set of behaviors that, hopefully, will keep such devastating events from happening again.

19. Problem Solved | By Cheryl Strauss Einhorn

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It can be messy and overwhelming to figure out how to solve thorny problems. Where do you start? How do you know where to look for information and evaluate its quality and bias? How can you feel confident that you are making a careful and thoroughly researched decision?

Whether you are deciding between colleges, navigating a career decision, helping your aging parents find the right housing, or expanding your business, Problem Solved will show you how to use the powerful AREA Method to make complex personal and professional decisions with confidence and conviction.

Cheryl’s AREA Method coaches you to make smarter, better decisions because it:

  • Recognizes that research is a fundamental part of decision-making and breaks down the process into a series of easy-to-follow steps.
  • Solves for problematic mental shortcuts such as bias, judgment, and assumptions.
  • Builds in strategic stops that help you chunk your learning, stay focused, and make your work for you.
  • Provides a flexible and repeatable process that acts as a feedback loop.

Life is filled with uncertainty, but that uncertainty needn’t hobble us. Problem Solved offers a proactive way to work with and work through, ambiguity to make thoughtful, confident decisions despite our uncertain and volatile world.

20. The Decision Makeover | By Mike Whitaker

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The secret of happy and successful people? Their ability to make good decisions.

Changing careers, launching a business, starting a family, buying a home, moving to a new city? How do you know whether you’re making the right decision?

In The Decision Makeover, Mike Whitaker offers a thoughtful and strategic approach for choosing wisely in all aspects of your life whether it’s about money, career, education, health, friends, or family. With his background in both business and psychology, he lays out a decision-making process that gives you the power to achieve your dreams. He even explains what to do if you’ve made some poor decisions along the way so that you can move ahead without regret.

Whitaker emphasizes the importance of understanding the difference between small and big decisions and shows why defining your essential goals is the key to overcoming the roadblocks that can derail your progress. He reveals:

  • why your next decision could change your life forever
  • why you make bad decisions
  • how to avoid self-destructive decision-making
  • how to proceed confidently toward future decisions

Filled with engaging anecdotes and interactive exercises, The Decision Makeover gives you the tools to finally achieve all that you want. For young people just beginning to make important life decisions, or those who have seen it all and are ready for a ”reset,” this timeless book is a must-have for anyone wanting to achieve the maximum success possible through purposeful decision making.

21. The Organized Mind | By Daniel J. Levitin

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The information age is drowning us with an unprecedented deluge of data. At the same time, we’re expected to make more—and faster—decisions about our lives than ever before. No wonder, then, that the average American reports frequently losing car keys or reading glasses, missing appointments, and feeling worn out by the effort required just to keep up.

But somehow some people become quite accomplished at managing information flow. In The Organized Mind, Daniel J. Levitin, Ph.D., uses the latest brain science to demonstrate how those people excel—and how readers can use their methods to regain a sense of mastery over the way they organize their homes, workplaces, and time.

With lively, entertaining chapters on everything from the kitchen junk drawer to health care to executive office workflow, Levitin reveals how new research into the cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory can be applied to the challenges of our daily lives. This Is Your Brain on Music showed how to better play and appreciate music through an understanding of how the brain works. The Organized Mind shows how to navigate the churning flood of information in the twenty-first century with the same neuroscientific perspective.

22. Risk Savvy | By Gerd Gigerenzer

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A new eye-opener on how we can make better decisions—by the author of Gut Feelings.

In this age of big data we often trust that expert analysis—whether it’s about next year’s stock market or a person’s risk of getting cancer—is accurate. But, as risk expert Gerd Gigerenzer reveals in his latest book, Risk Savvy, most of us, including doctors, lawyers, and financial advisors, often misunderstand statistics, leaving us misinformed and vulnerable to exploitation.

Yet there’s hope. In Risk Savvy, Gigerenzer gives us an essential guide to the science of good decision-making, showing how ordinary people can make better decisions for their money, their health, and their families. Here, Gigerenzer delivers the surprising conclusion that the best results often come from considering less information and listening to your gut.

23. Mind + Machine | By Marc Vollenweider

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Cut through information overload to make better decisions faster.

Success relies on making the correct decisions at the appropriate time, which is only possible if the decision-maker has the necessary insights in a suitable format. Mind+Machine is the guide to getting the right insights in the right format at the right time to the right person. Designed to show decision-makers how to get the most out of every level of data analytics, this book explores the extraordinary potential to be found in a model where human ingenuity and skill are supported with cutting-edge tools, including automation.

The marriage of the perceptive power of the human brain with the benefits of automation is essential because the mind or machine alone cannot handle the complexities of modern analytics. Only when the two come together with structure and purpose to solve a problem are goals achieved.

With various stakeholders in data analytics having their own take on what is important, it can be challenging for a business leader to create such a structure. This book provides a blueprint for decision-makers, helping them ask the right questions, understand the answers, and ensure an approach to analytics that properly supports organizational growth.

Discover how to:

  • Harness the power of insightful minds and the speed of analytics technology
  • Understand the demands and claims of various analytics stakeholders
  • Focus on the right data and automate the right processes

·         Navigate decisions with confidence in a fast-paced world

The Mind+Machine model streamlines analytics workflows and refines the never-ending flood of incoming data into useful insights. Thus, Mind+Machine equips you to take on the big decisions and win.

24. Networking is Not Working | By Derek Coburn

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Steve Lohr, a technology reporter for the New York Times, chronicles the rise of Big Data, addressing cutting-edge business strategies and examining the dark side of a data-driven world.

Coal, iron ore, and oil were the key productive assets that fueled the Industrial Revolution. Today, Data is the vital raw material of the information economy. The explosive abundance of this digital asset, more than doubling every two years, is creating a new world of opportunity and challenge.

Data-ism is about this next phase, in which vast, Internet-scale data sets are used for discovery and prediction in virtually every field. It is a journey across this emerging world with people, illuminating narrative examples, and insights. It shows that, if exploited, this new revolution will change the way decisions are made—relying more on data and analysis, and less on intuition and experience—and transform the nature of leadership and management.

Lohr explains how individuals and institutions will need to exploit, protect, and manage their data to stay competitive in the coming years. Filled with rich examples and anecdotes of the various ways in which the rise of Big Data is affecting everyday life it raises provocative questions about policy and practice that have wide implications for all of our lives.

25. The HEAD Game | By Philip Mudd

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Become a High-Efficiency Analytic Decision maker.

We’ve all been there: faced with a major decision, yet overwhelmed by the very data that is supposed to help us. It’s an all-too-common struggle in the digital age when Google searches produce a million results in a split second and software programs provide analysis faster than we could ever hope to read it.

Adapting the geopolitical and historical lessons gleaned from over two decades in government intelligence, Philip Mudd―an ex-National Security Council staff member and former senior executive at the FBI and the CIA―finally gives us the definitive guidebook for how to approach complex decisions today. Filled with logical yet counterintuitive answers to ordinary and extraordinary problems―whether it be buying a new home or pivoting a failing business model―Mudd’s “HEAD” (High-Efficiency Analytic Decision-making) methodology provides readers with a battle-tested set of guiding principles that promise to bring order to even the most chaotic problems, all in five practical steps:

 What’s the question? Analysts often believe that questions are self-evident, but focusing on better questions upfront always yields better answers later.

• What are your “drivers?” The human mind has a hard time juggling information, so analysts need a system to break down complex questions into different characteristics or “drivers.”

 How will you measure performance? Once the question has been solidified and the “drivers” determined, an analyst must decide what metrics they will use to understand how a problem―and their solution to it―is evolving over time.

 What about the data? Rather than looking at each bit of information on its own and upfront, an analyst can only overcome data overload by plugging data into their “driver” categories and excising anything that doesn’t fit.

 What are we missing? Complex analysis isn’t easy, so it is imperative to assume that the process is flawed, while also knowing how to check for possible gaps and errors, such as availability bias, halo effects, and intuitive versus analytic methodologies.

Drawing deeply from his own harrowing experiences―and mistakes―in the line of duty, Mudd has spent years refining and teaching his methodology to Fortune 500 companies and government organizations. Now, in the best-selling tradition of Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit and Oren Klaff’s Pitch Anything, Philip Mudd’s The HEAD Game can change the way you both live and work.

26. Eyes Wide Open | By Noreena Hertz

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Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World is Noreen Hertz’s practical, cutting-edge guide to help you cut through the data deluge and make smarter and better choices, based on her highly popular TED talk.

In this eye-opening handbook, the internationally noted speaker, economics expert, and bestselling author of IOU: The Debt Threat and Silent Takeover reveals the extent to which the biggest decisions in our lives are often made on the basis of flawed information, weak assumptions, corrupted data, insufficient scrutiny of others, and a lack of self-knowledge.

To avert such disasters, Hertz persuasively argues, we need to become empowered decision-makers, capable of making high-stakes choices and holding accountable those who advise us.

In Eyes Wide Open, she weaves together scientific research with real-world examples from Hollywood to Harry Potter, NASA to World War Two spies, to construct a path to more astute and empowered decision-making in ten clear steps. With a razor-sharp intellect and an instinct for popular storytelling, she offers counter-intuitive, actionable guidance for making better choices—whether you are a business-person, a professional, a patient, or a parent.

27. How Will You Measure Your Life? | By Clayton M. Christense, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon

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From the world’s leading thinker on innovation and New York Times bestselling author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton M. Christensen, comes an unconventional book of inspiration and wisdom for achieving a fulfilling life. Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma, notably the only business book that Apple’s Steve Jobs said “deeply influenced” him, is widely recognized as one of the most significant business books ever published. Now, in the tradition of Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture and Anna Quindlen’s A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life is a book of lucid observations and penetrating insights designed to help any reader—student or teacher, mid-career professional or retiree, parent or child—forge their own paths to fulfillment.

28. Choosing Not to Choose | By Cass R. Sunstein

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Our ability to make choices is fundamental to our sense of ourselves as human beings and essential to the political values of freedom-protecting nations. Whom we love; where we work; how we spend our time; what we buy; such choices define us in the eyes of ourselves and others, and much blood and ink have been spilled to establish and protect our rights to make them freely.

Choice can also be a burden. Our cognitive capacity to research and make the best decisions is limited, so every active choice comes at a cost. In modern life, the requirement to make active choices can often be overwhelming. So, across broad areas of our lives, from health plans to energy suppliers, many of us choose not to choose. By following our default options, we save ourselves the costs of making active choices. By setting those options, governments and corporations dictate the outcomes for when we decide by default. This is among the most significant ways in which they affect social change, yet we are just beginning to understand the power and impact of default rules. Many central questions remain unanswered: When should governments set such defaults, and when should they insist on active choices? How should such defaults be made? What makes some defaults successful while others fail?

Cass R. Sunstein has long been at the forefront of developing public policy and regulation to use government power to encourage people to make better decisions. In this major new book, Choosing Not to Choose, he presents his most complete argument yet for how we should understand the value of choice, and when and how we should enable people to choose not to choose.

The onset of big data gives corporations and governments the power to make ever more sophisticated decisions on our behalf, defaulting us to buy the goods we predictably want or vote for the parties and policies we predictably support. As consumers, we are starting to embrace the benefits this can bring. But should we? What will be the long-term effects of limiting our active choices on our agency? And can such personalized defaults be imported from the marketplace to politics and the law? Confronting the challenging future of data-driven decision-making, Sunstein presents a manifesto for how personalized defaults should be used to enhance, rather than restrict, our freedom and well-being.

29. Behind Every Good Decision | By Piyanka Jain and Puneet Sharma

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So you’re not a numbers person? No worries! You say that you can’t understand how to read, let alone implement, these complex software programs that crunch all the data and spit out . . . more data? Not a problem either! There is a costly misconception in business today–that the only data that matters is BIG data, and that elaborate tools and data scientists are required to extract any practical information. But actually, nothing could be further from the truth. In Behind Every Good Decision, authors and analytics experts Piyanka Jain and Puneet Sharma demystify the process of business analytics and demonstrate how professionals at any level can take the information at their disposal and in only five simple steps–using only Excel as a tool!–make the decision necessary to increase revenue, decrease costs, improve the product, or whatever else is being asked of them at that time. Readers will learn how to:• Clarify the business question• Layout a hypothesis-driven plan• Pull relevant data• Convert it to insights• Make decisions that make an impact packed with examples and exercises, this refreshingly accessible book explains the four fundamental analytic techniques that can help solve a surprising 80 percent of all business problems. It doesn’t take a numbers person to know that is a formula you need!

30. The Decision Book | By Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschappeler

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An updated edition of the international bestseller that distills into a single volume the fifty best decision-making models.

Every day, we face the same questions: How do I make the right decision? How can I work more efficiently? And, on a more personal level, what do I want?

This updated edition of the international bestseller distills into a single volume the fifty best decision-making models used in MBA courses, and elsewhere, that will help you tackle these important questions. In minutes you can become conversant with:

The Long Tail • The Maslow Pyramids • SWOT Analysis • The Rubber Band Model • The Prisoner’s Dilemma • Cognitive Dissonance • The Eisenhower Matrix • Conflict Resolution • Flow • The Personal Potential Trap • and many more.

Stylish and compact, this little book is a powerful asset. Whether you need to plan a presentation, assess someone’s business idea, or get to know yourself better, this unique guide―bursting with useful visual tools―will help you simplify any problem and make the best decision.

58 illustrations

31. The Evolution of Cooperation | By Robert Axelrod

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A famed political scientist’s classic argument for a more cooperative world.

We assume that, in a world ruled by natural selection, selfishness pays. So why cooperate? In The Evolution of Cooperation, political scientist Robert Axelrod seeks to answer this question. In 1980, he organized the famed Computer Prisoners Dilemma Tournament, which sought to find the optimal strategy for survival in a particular game. Over and over, the simplest strategy, a cooperative program called Tit for Tat, shut out the competition. In other words, cooperation, not an unfettered competition, turns out to be our best chance for survival.

A vital book for leaders and decision-makers, The Evolution of Cooperation reveals how cooperative principles help us think better about everything from military strategy to political elections, to family dynamics.

32. Left Brain, Right Stuff | By Phil Rosenzweig

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Left Brain, Right Stuff takes up where other books about decision making leave off. For many routine choices, from shopping to investing, we can make good decisions simply by avoiding common errors, such as searching only for confirming information or avoiding the hindsight bias. But as Phil Rosenzweig shows, for many of the most important, more complex situations we face — in business, sports, politics, and more — a different way of thinking is required. Leaders must possess the ability to shape opinions, inspire followers, manage risk, and outmaneuver and outperform rivals.

Making winning decisions calls for a combination of skills: clear analysis and calculation — the left brain — as well as the willingness to push boundaries and take bold action — right stuff. Of course, leaders need to understand the dynamics of competition, anticipate rival moves, draw on the power of statistical analysis, and be aware of common decision errors — all features of left-brain thinking. But to achieve the unprecedented in real-world situations much more is needed. Leaders also need the right stuff. In business, they have to devise plans and inspire followers for successful execution; in politics, they must mobilize popular support for a chosen program; in the military, commanders need to commit to a battle strategy and lead their troops; and in start-ups, entrepreneurs must manage risk when success is uncertain. In every case, success calls for action as well as analysis, and for courage as well as calculation.

Always entertaining, often surprising, and immensely practical, Left Brain, Right Stuff draws on a wealth of examples in order to propose a new paradigm for decision making in synch with the way we have to operate in the real world. Rosenzweig’s smart and perceptive analysis of research provides fresh, and often surprising, insights on topics such as confidence and overconfidence, the uses and limits of decision models, the illusion of control, expert performance and deliberate practice, competitive bidding and new venture management, and the true nature of leadership.

33. Pivot Points | By Julie Tang Peters

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Pivoting For Pace-Setting Leaders.
In the sea of leadership advice, Julia Tang Peters’ Pivot Points stands out like a beacon.  Through the stories of five inspiring and approachable leaders, this engaging read brings alive the role of pivotal decisions that turn ordinary careers into leadership journeys.    Take a rare look into the on-the-job process of bringing together the science of management and the art of leadership, and get useful insights for turning the inevitable pivot points of careers into fortuitous decisions that prove pivotal. 
  
With a self-diagnostic questionnaire based on the book’s unique framework, you’ll be able to identify warning signs of complacency and drifting as well as ways to continuously connect with your passion to fulfill your aspirations.   Pivot Points will guide you in the processes of knowing when and how to make these difficult decisions and finding your own path to exceptional results. Gain practical insights from this valuable aid for the professional development of high achievers in every career stage.

34. In An Uncertain World | By Robert E. Rubin and Jacob Weisberg

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Robert Rubin has sworn in as the seventieth U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in January 1995 in a brisk ceremony attended only by his wife and a few colleagues. As soon as the ceremony was over, he began an emergency meeting with President Bill Clinton on the financial crisis in Mexico. This was not only a harbinger of things to come during what would prove to be a rocky period in the global economy; it also captured the essence of Rubin himself–short on formality, quick to get into the nitty-gritty.

From his early years in the storied arbitrage department at Goldman Sachs to his current position as chairman of the executive committee of Citigroup, Robert Rubin has been a major figure at the center of the American financial system. He was a key player in the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. With In an Uncertain World, Rubin offers a shrewd, keen analysis of some of the most important events in recent American history and presents a clear, consistent approach to thinking about markets and dealing with the new risks of the global economy.

Rubin’s fundamental philosophy is that nothing is provably certain. Probabilistic thinking has guided his career in both business and government. We see that discipline at work in meetings with President Clinton and Hillary Clinton, Chinese premier Zhu Rongji, Alan Greenspan, Lawrence Summers, Newt Gingrich, Sanford Weill, and the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. We see Rubin apply it time and again while facing financial crises in Asia, Russia, and Brazil; the federal government shutdown; the rise and fall of the stock market; the challenges of the post-September 11 world; the ongoing struggle over fiscal policy; and many other momentous economic and political events.

With a compelling and candid voice and a sharp eye for detail, Rubin portrays the daily life of the White House-confronting matters both mighty and mundane–as astutely as he examines the challenges that lie ahead for the nation. Part political memoir, part prescriptive economic analysis, and part personal look at business problems, In an Uncertain World, is a deep examination of Washington and Wall Street by a figure who for three decades has been at the center of both worlds.

35. Problem Solved! | By David Goldsmith

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Problem Solved!: The Secrets of Decision Making and Problem Solving gives the reader an inside look at the fine points of decision making and problem-solving.  Research conducted at Ohio State University has concluded that over 50% of all business decisions end in failure.  Reasons for this include: not solving the right problem, not defining the desired outcome, and not knowing how to bring the two together. In today’s fast-paced world of business, complex problems are now a way of life, and the ability to solve them will create a competitive advantage that is hard to duplicate.  In this book, you will learn the tools and techniques necessary to become an expert decision-maker and problem solver. Plus, the reader will be exposed to a remarkable problem-solving process! What you will learn: – How to become an expert decision-maker and problem solver – How to avoid making flawed decisions – How to solve a problem once and for all – How to make spot-on judgment calls – How to build a problem-solving organization – How to use problem prevention techniques

36. Wharton on Making Decisions | By Howard C. Kunreuther and Stephen J. Hoch

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Perspectives from leaders in decision science at Wharton
Organized in part through Wharton’s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, the book assembles leading researchers from Wharton’s business faculty who demonstrate how to apply the latest approaches in decision-making from four perspectives: personal, managerial, negotiator, and consumer. Each chapter describes how decisions are actually made, presents the ideal scenario, and then provides practical suggestions for improvement. The subjects range from when consumers will choose variety, integrating intuition into decisions, and applying game theory and strategic decisions, to decision factors in negotiations and how choices are made about insurance and health care.

37. The Decision Maker | By Dennis Bakke

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Who makes the important decisions in your organization? Strategy, product development, budgeting, compensation—such key decisions typically are made by company leaders. That’s what bosses are for, right? But maybe the boss isn’t the best person to make the call.

That’s the conclusion Dennis Bakke came to, and he used it to build AES into a Fortune 200 global power company with 27,000 people in 27 countries. He used it again to create Imagine Schools, the largest non-profit charter-school network in the U.S.

As a student at Harvard Business School, Bakke made hundreds of decisions using the case-study method. He realized two things: decision-making is the best way to develop people, and that shouldn’t stop at business school. So Bakke spread decision-making throughout his organizations, fully engaging people at all levels. Today, Bakke has given thousands of people the freedom and responsibility to make decisions that matter.

In The Decision Maker, a leadership fable loosely based on Bakke’s experience, the New York Times bestselling author shows us how giving decisions to the people closest to the action can transform any organization.

The idea is simple.

The results are powerful.

When leaders put real control into the hands of their people, they tap the incalculable potential. The Decision Maker, destined to be a business classic, holds the key to unlocking the potential of every person in your organization.

38. The Mind of the Soul | By Gary Zukav and Linda Francis

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People make hundreds of choices every day, yet most of them feel they have little control over their lives. Here, Gary Zukav, author of the monumental bestseller The Seat of the Soul, joins his spiritual partner, Linda Francis, in a revolutionary look at the power of choice to change lives from the inside out.

The Mind of the Soul describes with easy-to-read text and practical exercises how each moment in life presents a choice: whether to persist in old, limited patterns or to experiment with the unbounded, liberating potential ahead. Whether your choices are large — concerning work, marriage, parenting, divorce — or appear small, such as whether to show annoyance when angry, they carry consequences for which you must assume responsibility. The Mind of the Soul shows you how, in every situation, one choice among the many that present themselves is the optimal choice — to create harmony, cooperation, or reverence for life. This special book offers the freedom to experiment with your life, to see what does or doesn’t work for you, to change yourself instead of blaming others — in short, to open your heart and develop authentic power.

With the same sensitivity that made The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness so meaningful, Zukav and Francis guide you, step by step, in developing the ability to break free of the unconscious choices that hold you back and limit your fulfillment in life.

39. The Right Decision | By James Stein

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Should you stay in a comfy job with little chance of advancement-or take a riskier one in which you could make lots of money but also wind up on the street?

Should you listen to a doctor who advises surgery-or trust another who tells you to wait and see if your condition improves?

Should you remain in a cozy relationship without much spark-or cut your losses and search for your soul mate?

Is there ever a “right” decision? Professor James Stein would argue yes, and in this provocative new book, he shows you how to apply the mathematical principles of Decision Theory to every aspect of your life. Ingeniously blending statistics, probability, game theory, economics, and even philosophy, this dynamic new approach to decision making can help you choose a new career path, buy a better home, even pick the perfect mate. With The Right Decision, you can’t go wrong.

40. Streetlights and Shadows | By Gary Klein

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An expert explains how the conventional wisdom about decision making can get us into trouble—and why experience can’t be replaced by rules, procedures, or analytical methods.

In making decisions, when should we go with our gut and when should we try to analyze every option? When should we use our intuition and when should we rely on logic and statistics? Most of us would probably agree that for important decisions, we should follow certain guidelines—gather as much information as possible, compare the options, pin down the goals before getting started. But in practice, we make some of our best decisions by adapting to circumstances rather than blindly following procedures. In Streetlights and Shadows, Gary Klein debunks the conventional wisdom about how to make decisions. He takes ten commonly accepted claims about decision making and shows that they are better suited for the laboratory than for life. The standard advice works well when everything is clear, but the tough decisions involve shadowy conditions of complexity and ambiguity. Gathering masses of information, for example, works if the information is accurate and complete—but that doesn’t often happen in the real world. (Think about the careful risk calculations that led to the downfall of the Wall Street investment houses.) Klein offers more realistic ideas about how to make decisions in real-life settings. He provides many examples—ranging from airline pilots and weather forecasters to sports announcers and Captain Jack Aubrey in Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander novels—to make his point. All these decision-makers saw things that others didn’t. They used their expertise to pick up cues and to discern patterns and trends. We can make better decisions, Klein tells us, if we are prepared for complexity and ambiguity and if we will stop expecting the data to tell us everything.

41. The Optimization Edge | By Stephen Sashihara

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Steve Sashihara’s book offers a groundbreaking approach to decision making. Using the newest advances in mathematics and computer software, companies can fully maximize their assets at every decision point. The Optimization Edge quickly introduces readers to this strategy is clear, non-technical terms, with examples from the trenches.

Based on Steve’s extensive experience working with major corporations across the industrial landscape, the book analyzes a variety of companies that are working on the frontier of Optimization. These multi-national organizations employ Optimization–which is also known as Business Analytics, Advanced Analytics, and Operations Research–to make time-sensitive, complex decisions that drive up market share and profitability.

“For executives who don’t have an optimization strategy, this book is a must-read,” says Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS. “There’s a good chance that the competition already has an active optimization battle plan–and the bottom-line savings to prove it.”

The Optimization Edge provides real-life examples of Optimization, drawn from some of the most successful corporations–and optimizers–in the world. Top executives share their insights into the tremendous production and profit benefits of Optimization while telling readers how to avoid pitfalls along the way. 

The book is written for a non-technical business audience interested in moving from cut-back management to value creation and from decision making “by ear” to data-driven strategies that combine high-end algorithms with human judgment.

43. Sources of Power | By Gary Klein

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A modern classic about how people really make decisions: drawing on prior experience, using a combination of intuition and analysis.

Since its publication twenty years ago, Sources of Power has been enormously influential. The book has sold more than 50,000 copies, has been translated into six languages, has been cited in professional journals that range from Journal of Marketing Research to Journal of Nursing, and is mentioned by Malcolm Gladwell in Blink. Author Gary Klein has collaborated with Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and served on a team that redesigned the White House Situation Room to support more effective decision making. The model of decision-making Klein proposes in the book has been adopted in fields including law enforcement training and petrochemical plant operation. What is the groundbreaking new way to approach decision-making described in this modern classic?

We have all seen images of firefighters rescuing people from burning buildings and paramedics treating bombing victims. How do these individuals make the split-second decisions that save lives? Most studies of decision-making, based on artificial tasks assigned in laboratory settings, view people as biased and unskilled. Klein proposes a naturalistic approach to decision making, which views people as gaining experience that enables them to use a combination of intuition and analysis to make decisions. To illustrate this approach, Klein tells stories of people—from pilots to chess masters—acting under such real-life constraints as time pressure, high stakes, personal responsibility, and shifting conditions.

44. The Impulse Factor | By Nick Tasler

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In his work as research and development director at cutting-edge think tank TalentSmart, where he helps businesses work better and employees think smarter, Nick Tasler realized that the recent discovery by scientists of a potential-seeking gene could have a remarkable impact on how we understand decision making. Those who have this gene — about one-quarter of the population — are endowed with impulsive tendencies that can lead to fast and decisive action or to foolish choices. The cautious majority that Tasler calls risk managers can make carefully considered decisions or become hopelessly lost in the fog of details. Now The Impulse Factor offers readers a unique online opportunity to analyze their own decision-making style and harness it to improve their everyday lives. Each book comes with access to a proprietary assessment developed specifically to evaluate impulsivity. With examples from business, psychology, and Tasler’s own research at TalentSmart, the book also vividly illustrates how susceptible we are to the events around us and how our reactions often run contrary to our best interests.

By combining his research with real-world examples of extreme decision-making, Tasler teaches readers how to thrive when faced with difficult choices. More than just a book, The Impulse Factor provides a clear understanding of why you make the choices you do — and the tools to make those decisions change your business and your life.

45. The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making | By Scott Pious

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The Psychology of Decision Making provides an overview of decision making as it relates to management, organizational behavior issues, and research. This engaging book examines the way individuals make decisions as well as how they form judgments privately and in the context of the organization. It also discusses the interplay of the group and institutional dynamics and their effects upon the decisions made within and on the behalf of organizations.

46. Judgment in Managerial Decision Making | By Max H. Bazerman

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Behavioral decision research provides many important insights into managerial behavior. From negotiation to investment decisions, the authors weave behavioral decision research into the organizational realm by examining judgment in a variety of managerial contexts.

Embedded with the latest research and theories, Managerial Decision Making  8th Edition gives students the opportunity to understand their own decision-making tendencies, learn strategies for overcoming cognitive biases, and become better decision-makers.

47. Deciding Who Leads | By Joseph Daniel McCool

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Enter the secret world of executive search consulting . . . . . .and discover how this influential-but largely invisible-profession is charting the course of global business.

Executive search expert Joseph Daniel McCool delivers a rich exposé of the elite world of search consulting-the single most influential form of management consulting engaged by organizations-and its powerful impact on the future of organizational performance, culture, and profits.

Deciding Who Leads offers a front-row seat from which to witness the high-stakes drama, victories, and missteps that characterize the executive search process amid what has become an intense, truly global competition for leadership talent.

48. Consensus through Conversation | By Larry Dressler

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Real organizational change isn’t brought about by decree, pressure, permission, or even persuasion. Sustained change comes when people are passionately and personally committed to a future that they have helped to shape. If you want to turn your organization’s cynics into owners, give them a voice in the decisions that impact their work. Consensus Through Conversation shows how.

The consensus is a cooperative process in which all of a group’s members develop and agree to actively support a decision. It’s not mere acquiescence–consensus goes several steps beyond, transforming people from resigned instruction-followers to dedicated champions of an idea. Larry Dressler shows you exactly how to prepare for a successful consensus-building process, takes you step-by-step through that process, and offers tips for success and traps to avoid. Throughout, he provides a host of tools and examples that make this an eminently practical and immediately useful guide.

Consensus Through Conversation will give you the tools you need to use consensus effectively in your organization. It is a handy, vital reference that you will turn to again and again in your efforts to tackle high-stakes issues, make high-quality decisions, and build enthusiasm and commitment to action.

49. Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer | By Michael A. Roberto

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Make better decisions, achieve deeper consensus, get past groupthink and “yes men,” and achieve superior results! Michael A. Roberto’s Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer, Second Edition offers a powerful framework every leader can use to promote honest, constructive dissent and skepticism; test their assumptions; more thoroughly consider “best alternatives”; make better choices, and align organizations to act on their decisions. In this new edition, Roberto presents new cases from Google, Ford, Intuit, and others, plus expands coverage to more deeply illuminating his decision-making approach. Offering both positive and negative examples, he presents a well-rounded view of how to determine when ‘yes’ means ‘yes’ when it doesn’t, and what to do when it doesn’t. Roberto explains why “good process entails the astute management of the social, political and emotional aspects of decision making” — in other words, why effective leaders are well served by carefully “deciding how to decide.” Learn how to:

  • Get the truth and candor you need to make complex, high-stakes decisions
  • Test and probe what your team really believes
  • Encourage constructive objections — and keep them constructive
  • Fairly evaluate all promising alternatives, and then crisply reach closure
  • Improve team management, mitigate risk, identify opportunities, and promote integrity
  • Build stronger commitment amongst the people who’ll implement your decisions

50. Competitive Intelligence | By Conor Vibert

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Managers constantly face uncertainty as they attempt to make decisions in a complex and competitive environment. In Competitive Intelligence: A Framework for Web-Based Analysis and Decision Making, Conor Vibert gives the research professional a complete and reliable framework for collecting and analyzing information that will give managers confidence in any situation. Competitive Intelligence uniquely introduces the study of organizational theory and strategy into the competitive intelligence process to improve the effectiveness of competitive intelligence programs. Using Vibert’s research missions, Internet search and analysis tools, and the analytical framework, researchers will have all they need to run an effective knowledge management program in an organization.

51. Decision Making Using Game Theory | By Anthony Kelly

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Game theory is a key element in most decision-making processes involving two or more people or organizations. This book explains how game theory can predict the outcome of complex decision-making processes, and how it can help to improve negotiation and decision-making skills. It is grounded in a well-established theory, yet the wide-ranging international examples used to illustrate its application offer a fresh approach to what is becoming an essential weapon in the armory of the informed manager. The book is accessibly written, explaining in simple terms the underlying mathematics behind games of skill. It analyzes more sophisticated topics such as zero-sum games, mixed-motive games, and multi-person games, coalitions, and power. Clear examples and helpful diagrams are used throughout, and the mathematics is kept to a minimum. Written for managers, students, and decision-makers in every field.

Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Decision Making

An excellent decision-maker decides the actions that are what’s best for themselves, others, and the organization. Great decision-makers make rational and logical decisions bases on research, skills, experience, and the knowledge of the consequences of their decision. 

Happy reading!

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