What to read to make better decisions

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If you want to get better at making decisions, it is essential to pay attention to your decision-making process and what external and internal factors influence it. To help you become a better decision-maker, I recommend five books to read. As you can see in the visual below, these books all nicely connect and provide you with a vast spectrum for decision-making.

How the five books overlap and complete each other

1. How to Decide by Annie Duke

If you want to be a better decision-maker, this book takes you through proper exercises and approaches. It will give you insights into your current pitfalls and tangible strategies to improve. The predecessor of this book, Thinking in Bets is also very much worthy of your time.

There are two ways uncertainty intervenes in the decision process: imperfect information and luck. Imperfect information intervenes before the decision. Luck intervenes after the decision but before the outcome.

Annie Duke – How to decide

2. Think Again by Adam Grant

Of course, you are always right, but what if that is not the case. Learn the critical art of rethinking, question your opinions and open other people’s mind. Get to know what you do not know. The book Give and Take by Adam Grant might open you up to a whole different view on what kind of decision you take (hint: being a giver is beneficial in the longer run)

“The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.”

Adam Grant – Think Again

3. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

What should you do in a hostage situation? Hopefully, you are never in one, but negotiation is a daily activity. This book takes you through the practice and the science of negotiation. It should get you closer to the desired decisions made by the people on the other side of the table.

Good negotiators, going in, know they have to be ready for possible surprises; great negotiators aim to use their skills to reveal the surprises they are certain exist.

Chris Voss – Never split the difference

4. Catalyst by Jonah Berger

This book is a nice mix between scientific background and practical applications. Catalysts remove roadblocks and reduce barriers to change. This is an excellent read if you are working in a changing environment (100% chance you are ;)).

When it comes to trying to create change, people rarely think about removing roadblocks. When asked how to change someone’s mind, 99 percent of the answers focus on some version of pushing.

Jonah Berger – Catalyst

5. Noise by Daniel Kahneman

this book connects them all. Why do different people make different decisions in identical situations? Why are we making bad judgements, and how to improve on this. Of course, Thinking Fast and Slow is a classic also to pick up, but it is a heavy book. Noise is more accessible and touches upon many similar topics.

Intelligence is only part of the story, however. How people think is also important. Perhaps we should pick the most thoughtful, open-minded person, rather than the smartest one.

Daniel Kahneman – Noise


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