15 Must-Read Decision Science Books

15 Must-Read Decision Science Books

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Ever wondered what the must-read Decision Sciences books are? Here is our take.

By choosing the right books to read, you will be able to save time and feel more confident about your choice. If you’re looking to invest your time wisely, it’s important to read the right books. 

We’ve curated a list of the best Decision books that will help you save time and feel more confident about your choices. 

Our selection of books is based on experts’ opinions and helps researchers develop their next breakthrough ideas. 

For a layperson, this helps you become a modern-day Renaissance polymath. 

Let’s check out the list! 

Decision Science Books Overview

  1. Smart Choices (Get the book )
  2. Thinking, Fast and Slow (Get the book)
  3. Risk Savvy (Get the book)
  4. Thinking (Get the book)
  5. Algorithms to Live By (Get the book)
  6. Rational Choice in an Uncertain World (Get the book)
  7. Thinking and Deciding (Get the book)
  8. The Art of Choosing (Get the book)
  9. The Paradox of Choice (Get the book)
  10. Sources of Power (Get the book)
  11. Rationality: From AI to Zombies (Get the book)
  12. A Whole New Mind (Get the book)
  13. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (Get the book)
  14. Heuristics and Biases (Get the book)
  15. The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making (Get the book)

Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions by John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

Smart Choices is one of the book recommendations on decision science by The Exceptional Skills website. 

This book has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon. 

Summary-What this book is about

In this book, John Hammond, Howard Raiffa, and Ralph Keeney—all professors with vast experience in decision making—put forward a flexible strategy for making smart decisions.

The book offers valuable lessons on the methods to help you accomplish your goals. 

This book doesn’t decide for you. It gives you an eight-step strategy to use in making decisions.  The authors’ PrOACT approach marks the core of the general process and stands for-Problems, Objectives, Alternatives, Consequences, and Tradeoffs.

Key Takeaways

  • Be aggressive. Make your own decisions.
  • You should prefer decisions that align with your goals.
  • Make smart choices to live a good life.
  • Be confident in yourself. Don’t let other people make decisions for you. 

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

You are in the right section of this list if you want to know where and when you should trust your instinct.

Thinking, Fast and Slow is recommended by the New York Times as it gives an underrated conclusion on the science of thinking.

This contemporary classic continues to change the lives of many people globally.

Summary-What this book is about 

Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winner, clarifies the systems that determine how we think. He explains how benefitting slow thinking can be. This riveting story offers real foresight to the decision-making process. 

Daniel discusses how not to get into trouble because of mental glitches.

Key Takeaways

  • Mental hitches are detrimental to our thinking process.
  • Slow thinking helps us make logical decisions.
  • Your instincts are not always right. You should know when not to trust.

Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions by Gerd Gigerenzer

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

Risky Savvy has a 4.4 global rating on Amazon.

This book is recommended by Men’s Health, The Telegraph (UK), Publishers Weekly, Boston Globe, and Businessweek. 

Summary-What this book is about

The author of Gut Feelings, Gerd Gigerenzer, reveals human beings commit the same mistakes because of misinterpreted statistics. 

Risk Savvy offers readers a guide to good decision-making. 

Gerd concludes that people who listen to their guts and consider less information make good decisions.

Key Takeaways

  •  The more complex the information you have, the less logical your choices will be.
  • We should learn to trust our guts at times. 
  • We often make wrong choices because of misunderstanding the statistics involved in the decision-making process.

Thinking: The New Science of Decision-Making, Problem-Solving, Prediction by John Brockman

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

This book offers valuable ideas on human behaviors and thinking.

Thinking has a 4.2-star rating on Amazon and 3.7 on Goodreads. 

The author of The Swan, Think, Fast and Slow, gifts readers another exciting read on the science of thinking. 

Summary-What this book is about

Thinking covers intuition, rational thought, morality, decision-making, prediction,  willpower, uncertainty, forecasting, problem-solving, and unconscious behavior. 

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding how we think is a first step in making smarter decisions.
  • Be knowledgeable about what informs the choices we 

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

Algorithms To Live By is one of the decision-making books recommended by The Exceptional Skills Website and has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon.

Summary-What this book is about

This remarkable book focuses on how computer algorithms inspire solutions to human problems.

Algorithms To Live By proposes the application of computer solutions to human problems. The authors argue that human and computer problems are similar.

Key Takeaways 

  • Failure is a means to learn. So don’t fail to try. “To try and fail is at least to learn; to fail to try is to suffer the inestimable loss of what might have been.”-Quote from the book.
  • Surrounding yourself with trustworthy people is one step to making smarter decisions.
  • Be optimistic.  “In the long run, optimism is the best prevention for regret.”-Quotes from the book.

Rational Choice in an Uncertain World: The Psychology of Judgement and Decision Making by Reid Hastie, Robyn Dawes

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

Rational Choices in an Uncertain World is one of the most popular decision-making books on Amazon and has a 4.2-star customer rating.

Summary-What this book is about 

First published in 1988, the book employs anecdotes to discuss findings and theories on decision-making and judgment.

This text is one example of decision-making books that connects the concepts to everyday life using real-world examples.

The book gives detailed information on logic, heuristics, probability, and reality processing.

Key Takeaways

  • Be smart. Use the principles outlined in this text to develop an intelligent decision-making strategy for yourself.
  • Understand your biases. Don’t let biases affect your reasoning.

Thinking and Deciding by Jonathan Baron

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

Thinking and Deciding is one book you should add to your reading list.

It has a rating of 4.6 on Amazon.

Summary-What this book is about 

This book is a comprehensive summary of ideas in the world of rationality, decision-making, and human judgment.

Students in psychology, medicine, law, behavioral economics, and business will enjoy this coursebook.

Baron gives suggestions on improving our thinking. He explains other topics such as Bayes theorem, moral reflection, risk, utilitarianism, and moral thinking.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand Bayes Theorem to make the right decisions.
  • Think smarter by knowing how the human mind works.
  • Understand Heuristics and the biases that accompany them.
  • Apply the principles of decision-making to make perfect judgments.

The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

The book is listed on Amazon (4.6-star rating) and Goodreads 3.8-star rating).

Atul Gawande, the writer of Better and Complications, is one of the people who positively reviewed this book.

Summary-What this book is about

If you are looking for a fascinating book on the psychology of choice and its effects, you are in the right place.

This common thread uses tough questions to point out and discuss the technique of choice. The book focuses on factors that affect what we choose.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the factors that influence the choices you make. One factor that affects your ability to make the right decisions is culture.
  • Have control over the choices you make. 
  • Choose against your best interests when it’s logical enough.

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

The Exceptional Skills website recommends The Paradox of Choice for students in the decision science-related course.

The book has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and New York Observer highly rated this book.

Summary-What this book is about 

The Paradox of Choice is one of the best books that focus on cognitive science. Barry, a renowned Psychologist, gives an important and underreported conclusion that the struggle to balance individual needs, family, and career is not a solution as many people think. We are likely to make wrong choices because of our enthusiasm for options.

Key Takeaways

  • We make decisions based on the number of choices that we have.  
  • Pick the decision that best aligns with your goals.
  • Choose your most important goal. Two or more choices can support your goals. In this case, take the option that aligns with your primary goal.

Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions by  Gary Klein

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

Gary Klein is a cognitive psychologist and has written five books 

His book, Sources of power is listed on Amazon with a 4.5-star rating and Goodreads with a 4-star rating.

Summary-What this book is about 

People can make good decisions under challenging circumstances of time pressure, shifting conditions, and personal responsibility.

Gary Klein discusses how people make decisions within seconds in tight situations. 

This enriching text centers on Klein’s latest research. He studied how paramedics, those operating nuclear plants,  firefighters, battle planners, chess masters, and pilots make decisions during emergencies.

He explains the importance of metaphor, storytelling, intuition, and mental stimulation in making everyday decisions.

Key Takeaways

  • You can make better decisions in emergencies.
  • Instincts, mental stimulation, and storytelling can help you make good decisions.
  • Your experience affects the decisions you make.

Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it 

Rationality has a rating of 4.4 out 5 on Amazon.

Summary-What this book is about

Based on Yudkowsky’s essays, this book explores human irrationality using essays, personal vignettes, and fables. Eliezer explains an accurate method of thinking that can benefit readers who understand biases.

Key Takeaways

  • Be smart when making decisions. Only pick what suits your needs. ” A random key does not open a random lock just because they are both random.”-Quote from the book.
  • Spot the wrong decisions you made in the past and act on them. “Oops is the sound we make when we improve our beliefs and strategies; so to look back at a time and not see anything you did wrong means that you haven’t learned anything or changed your mind since then.”-Quote from the book.

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

A Whole New Mind has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon. Harvard Business Review recommends Daniel Pink’s book.

This great book is for parents, businesses, students, and every person looking to equip themselves for the future.

Summary-What this book is about 

An ex-white house speechwriter, Daniel Pink, introduces six essential human abilities, including meaning, play, empathy, symphony, story, and design.

The book explains the differences between the two hemispheres of our brain. 

Key Takeaways

  • To succeed in your career and life, you need the six abilities-design, story, symphony,  empathy, play, and meaning.
  • Understand the forces that affect the economy to prepare yourself for the future.

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip & Dan Heath

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

If you are looking for a book that gives unrivaled decision-making skills, Decisive is your best choice. 

The book is one of the popular decision science books on Amazon (4.6-star rating).

Decisive is a New York Times bestseller. Plus, the winning book in the 2014 CMI Management books awards.

Summary-What this book is about 

Chip Heath, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, proposes four invaluable principles that help readers overcome wishful thinking and biases in making judgments. The book draws on case studies to invoke our minds to make smarter decisions.

Key Takeaways

  • The “spotlight effect” influences our decisions.
  • We often fail to see the bigger picture when making decisions. Our minds are limited to only a tiny part of the choices accessible to us.
  • We need an excellent strategy to make a good analysis. 

Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment by Thomas Gilovich

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

Heuristics and Biases has a rating of 4.38 on Goodreads, with 466 ratings.  

Summary-What this book is about 

The author explains heuristics and biases that affect human judgements. 

The book furthers Tversky and Daniel Kahneman’s approach to decision making. This book describes intuitive judgements and compares quantitative-, mathematical-or algorithmic-based conclusions.

Key Takeaways

  • Defensive pessimism causes wrong affective forecasting.
  • There is a possibility that we are mistaken about our internal experiences.
  •  Human behavior tells a person’s true feelings.

The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making by Scott Plous

Must-read Decision Books

Intro-Why you should read it

The book has a 4.2-star rating on Goodreads and 4.3 stars on Amazon.

Summary-What this book is about 

Scott Plous offers insights into decision-making and social factors that affect this process. 

The Psychology of Judgement and Decision Making is one of the best in the McGraw-Hill Series. 

The clear publication language that the award-winning author employs in this text makes the information available to students and everyone else with no prior knowledge. 

The book uses tests to outline the biases in our everyday lives and offers tips to minimize them.

Key Takeaways

  • The type of questions we ask determines what we are likely to get.
  • Human bias influences how we make decisions.
  • Humans tend to deviate from rationality when making decisions. We make judgments based on past events rather than a statistics-backed process. 

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a variety of different Decision books that can help you save time and feel more confident about your choices. 

Our selection is based on experts’ opinions and helps researchers develop their next breakthrough ideas. So if you’re looking for a way to become more knowledgeable and well-rounded, be sure to check out some of these titles!

 


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Author
Joannah W.
Joannah has been a science publisher with close to 20 years of experience. She wants to help students and researchers stay ahead of the trends and developments in the science community by making science more accessible to everyone.

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