Top 10 Decision-Making Books [Updated 2021]
Decision making is the most critical element of any business. If you are running a business or have been involved in business for some time, you would know that decision making is the top three skills you must have, if you want to reach the top 1%. Below is the list of top books on decision making that you must read in 2021 –
- Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work ( Get this book )
- The Decision Book: Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking (The Tschäppeler and Krogerus Collection) ( Get this book )
- Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions ( Get this book )
- Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions ( Get this book )
- Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions ( Get this book )
- Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions ( Get this book )
- Effective Decision-Making: How to make better decisions under uncertainty and pressure ( Get this book )
- Decision Making For Dummies ( Get this book )
- What’s Your Decision?: How to Make Choices with Confidence and Clarity ( Get this book )
- Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills ( Get this book )
Let us discuss each of the decision-making books in detail along with its key takeaways and reviews.
#1 – Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work
by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
If you have ever found perplexed between two decisions, this book will help you enormously. Have a look at the review and best takeaways.
- This decision making book is recommended for you if you have to make many objective decisions on a daily basis. Heath brothers mentioned that while making every decision, we go through a typical 4 step process. First, we make a choice. Then we do an analysis of our options. Then we make a choice and finally live with the choice. Even if this 4 step process seems to be a logical one, there are self-serving bias and overconfidence which act as hindrances in making the right choice. This book will show you how to gallop these hindrances.
- This best decision-making book will throw lights on issues that bother us every single day. For example, when we are overconfident (but we don’t know it), we seek out information that supports us and neglect the information that may say otherwise.
The best part of this book is a four-step process, called WRAP –
- Widen your options while making decisions
- Go for a real test which can question your assumptions
- Attain distance from the options (step back and think over)
- Prepare yourself to face any mistakes in decision making
Using this decision-making book, we can answer questions that would make us anxious all through the day. You would be able to understand why you agonize over your decisions, why group decision is mostly biased, and how you can make sure that you can tap into the right opportunities, and so on and so forth.
#2 – The Decision Book: Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking (The Tschäppeler and Krogerus Collection)
by Roman Tschäppeler, Mikael Krogerus & Jenny Piening
- You need models to make a resource box. If you want to get a collection of 50 models that will allow you to become a better decision-maker, grab this best decision-making book. For example, you will learn the Eisenhower matrix to use your time well; you will also learn a less familiar, much useful model, “the Swiss Cheese Model.” You will also learn “the flow model,” “the network target model,” “the personal potential trap,” and many more.
- Let’s say you need to make a quick decision, and you don’t have any mental model handy with you. Just have a look at this book as a reference, and you will quickly able to use one of the conceptual frameworks given in the book. This book will help you make good decisions quickly.
- Many books have talked about one or two processes about decision making. This top decision-making book covers 50 distinct models which will allow you to expand your thinking and hover over many elements that you may not have thought about before.
- This is a how-to book, and if you grab this, it will get answers for four questions –
- How to improve yourself
- How to improve others
- How to understand yourself
- How to understand others
#3 – Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions
by Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths
- This is a fascinating book on decision making which has been written completely from a different perspective.
- If computer algorithms could create metaphors for your decision-making abilities, would you be open enough to apply? This book looks at decision making from the same standpoint. Even if you are not a computer science student, you will find solace in this book. Ample research, excellent perspective, and applicable ideas have made this book the best of the lot.
- Many readers have mentioned this is the best book they have read on thinking correctly after Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow.”
- The best part is, of course, the way these two completely different subjects are aligned. Then you will also learn what seems impossible to you, e.g., having hunches when you absolutely need them and what to leave on chance. From finding a parking spot to finding a spouse, this book will enlighten you in deciding each and everything in life.
- If you are ever overwhelmed with the various decisions you need to take, use this book as your guide. Like computers, this best decision-making book will help you sort out information in the right manner and then make a sound decision on solid ground.
#4 – Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions
by John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney & Howard Raiffa
- This best decision-making book has already been sold over 200,000 copies. This is a great read if you have any questions about anything, and you seem to feel overwhelmed with possible options.
- Most books on decisions talk about how to get there, i.e., the ends of the decision-making process. But here, the emphasis is on the means of making good decisions. Many business graduates have mentioned that this book is the single best book they have read in their entire curriculum. The authors have gone deep in understanding how people make decisions (it’s not a rational afterthought; rather, it’s purely emotional).
- The steps mentioned in this top decision making book for decision making is incredible –
- How to evaluate your plans?
- How to deconstruct the potential decision you are about to make?
- How to find out the triggers for your goals?
- How can you apply systematic thinking?
- How to find the right facts to make the smartest choice?
- According to the authors, even though decision making is responsible for our everyday success or failure, we don’t pay much heed to how we make decisions. This book presents to you almost 100 years of experience in the book so that you can make effective decisions, however big or small your decisions are.
#5 – Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions
by Dan Ariely
- Have you ever wondered why you make a bad decision even when you have the facts at your fingertips? You would know if you pick up this book.
- This best decision making book clearly signifies that most of our decisions are irrational. And unlike any other book, it specifies why we are irrational in our decision making. Even if it seems disheartening at times, it gives us clarity about why we are what we are. Moreover, the book is full of great examples and very enjoyable to read.
- If you want to understand human behaviour at a deeper level, this is the best book you will get. The best part of this book is it doesn’t only talk about decision making, but labels decision making as behaviour and tries to find out why we behave irrationally at times even when we don’t have any reason to. This book talks about questions like –
- Why everything is relative even when it shouldn’t be?
- How do expectations impact opinions?
- If something is free, is it always a “bargain”?
- Moreover, you will be able to soak in countless behavioral experiments that will help you understand your own behaviors and the behaviors of others.
#6 – Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions
by Lysa TerKeurst
- This is the most personal book on decision making you would ever read. Most of us get emotionally glued when something unexpected happens. Once you pick up this book, you will learn how you would unglue yourself from the uncertainty and remain poised.
- This top decision making book is written around emotion and how our instantaneous emotions impact our decision making ability. This book is not about everyday decisions. Rather it focuses on times when you are boiling in anger and ready to explode. How would you shape up your emotion and make the right decision when making a decision is a hard choice? You will learn that in this book.
Key Takeaways from this Top Decision Making Book
- The best part of this book is the process of explanation. As Robin Sharma mentions that “change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end”; we can say the same thing for this book. This top decision making a book is hard in the beginning as you begin to relate, messy in the middle as you understand that you are one of the “type” the author mentions, and gorgeous at the end as you realize who you are and how you can use your raw emotion to make better decisions!
#7 – Effective Decision-Making: How to make better decisions under uncertainty and pressure
by Edoardo Binda Zane
- This book is a short read. If you want to start off with a quick read, grab this top decision making book and read cover to cover. The author has used a simple framework to explain how you can empower yourself fast amid uncertainty and pressure.
- Go back to the old days and bring back all the anthologies you have read as part of the decision making tools for an organization. And you would find the collection of those anthologies in this book. This top decision-making book is short, and it cuts the chase in half so that you can find out what works and what doesn’t in business and life. Many organizations have already been using the methods and tools (like Delphi Method) mentioned in this book.
- First, this is very easy to read, and you will find great value in this material of 130 pages.
- Second, the author’s insights and dialogues have made this book greater even if the methods are well-known.
- Third, you will also learn a bunch of new concepts –
- The OODA Loop
- The Recognition-Primed Decision Model
- The John Whitmore Model
- The PDSA Cycle
- Decision Biases
- Casual Loops Diagrams
- Kipling Method
- Zwicky’s Box
#8 – Decision Making For Dummies
by Dawna Jones
- We already know that dummies books are great tools if we want to learn any skill. This book is also no exception. If you want to know the nitty-gritty of decision making, pick this best decision making book up.
- Decision making in business settings is becoming complex. And you need a toolbox that will guide you, help you unlearn what’s not required, and teach you exactly how to make a difficult decision in times of unrest and uncertainty. This dummies book on decision making will show you how. Once you grab this book, you will learn everything about decision making in a properly structured, step-by-step manual.
There are exactly four things that you will learn as a result of reading this book on decision making –
- Big picture: You will learn to see the big picture amid complex options and unknown territory.
- Personal growth: What do you think the greatest source of your personal growth or personal downfall? It is actually the result of collective decision making. You may be just one decision away from a completely different life.
- The nitty-gritty: “Why” behind a decision is as important as the result of it; you will be able to find the “why” here.
- Up your ante: How better decision making will help you impact the whole organization as a whole as well as yourself.
#9 – What’s Your Decision?: How to Make Choices with Confidence and Clarity
by J. Michael Sparough, Jim Manney & Tim Hipskind
- In an individual’s life, there are millions of questions. What to do, what no to do? Which is the right option and which is not so great? If you are always wondering about what to do and what not to do, this book on decision making will act as a light for you.
- This best decision making book is a flawless book that can be read cover to cover. And this one is very useful for day to day life. Many of the most pressing questions will be answered in this book, like – Where should I study? Whom should I marry? Should I change my career? When should I retire? The approach of this book is not exactly business-like but mostly listening to a power that is beyond human comprehension.
- It is a short read (only 178 pages long), and it provides great insights in the case of making the right decisions.
- More than reason, the authors remind us that we need to listen to our intuition (gut instinct) while making important decisions.
- If you have ever searched for a concrete process on which you can base all your decisions and become confident about them, this book will provide you the most appropriate process of decision making.
#10 – Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills
by Michael Kallet
- What if you can train your brain to think better instead of thinking about individual decisions separately? This best decision making book goes beyond all the concepts about decision making and talks specifically about critical thinking.
- Famous psychologist Carl Jung remarks that most people don’t know how to think; that’s why they judge. This book is based on the same periphery. It will teach you the non-sense of the statement, “I don’t have time to think!” If you can’t think well, you can’t make effective decisions. This book will not only teach you effective decision making; it will also teach you how to think well.
- The chapters in this best decision making book are very short and to the point.
- The author has mentioned that which part can be skipped (if you choose to) and which part is a must-read. It’s an innovative concept for a reader.
- This book has no excessive examples. Every example given in this book is timely and relevant.
- Four things that are most relevant to decision making are –
- The comprehensive critical thinking framework
- 25+ tools to facilitate in thinking critically
- Critical thinking implementation
- Examples of how to do it
This has been a guide to Top 10 Decision Making Books to read in 2021. Here we discuss what these books propose, its key takeaways along with reviews. You can learn more from the following books –
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