The best books on decision making

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been studying how leaders and their teams make complex decisions for the past 25 years. As a professor, I am passionate about teaching students and managers. My published work includes three books, as well as numerous best-selling management case studies. I have served on the faculty at Bryant University in Rhode Island for the past 16 years, and prior to that, I served on the faculty at Harvard Business School for 6 years. 


I wrote...

Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer: Managing for Conflict and Consensus

By Michael A. Roberto,

Book cover of Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer: Managing for Conflict and Consensus

What is my book about?

This book examines how leaders avoid groupthink and the dangers of "yes men” by designing and leading an effective process for making complex, high-stakes decisions. The reader learns how to promote stimulate constructive dissent and debate, test critical assumptions, generate multiple options, and uncover hidden risks. Moreover, the book examines how leaders can build buy-in and commitment to pave the way for successful implementation of crucial decisions.

Roberto introduces a framework for “deciding how to decide.” In short, effective leaders think carefully about creating an environment and process that stimulates critical thinking and constructive debate. Creating the right conditions enables leaders to garner the collective intellect of their teams before having to make the tough calls.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions

Michael A. Roberto Why did I love this book?

Klein’s book demonstrates the power of intuition drawing on unique studies of firefighters, soldiers, nurses, and others in high-stakes situations. He shows us how intuition actually works and why it can help us make the right call – as well as why our intuition sometimes leads us astray. The book combines rigorous research with compelling stories, making it an insightful and enjoyable read for all

By Gary A. Klein,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Sources of Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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.…


Book cover of Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Michael A. Roberto Why did I love this book?

The Heath brothers have done it again. From the authors of the best-seller, Made to Stick, comes this book about how to make tough decisions. They offer wildly entertaining stories combined with the most important conclusions from social science research. As you read the book, you will come away with a practical framework and useful techniques for improving how you analyze complex situations, evaluate multiple alternatives, and make challenging choices.  

By Chip Heath, Dan Heath,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Decisive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Just making a decision can be hard enough, but how do you begin to judge whether it's the right one? Chip and Dan Heath, authors of #1 New York Times best-seller Switch, show you how to overcome your brain's natural shortcomings.

In Decisive, Chip and Dan Heath draw on decades of psychological research to explain why we so often get it very badly wrong - why our supposedly rational brains are frequently tripped up by powerful biases and wishful thinking. At the same time they demonstrate how relatively easy it is to avoid the pitfalls and find the best answers,…


Book cover of The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth

Michael A. Roberto Why did I love this book?

Amy Edmondson pioneered research on the topic of psychological safety. In this groundbreaking book, she explains why the most effective teams create a climate where people are comfortable speaking up to discuss questions, concerns, dissenting views, and mistakes. Edmondson combines rigorous empirical studies with rich case studies in a wide variety of contexts from the hospital operating room to the halls of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.  

By Amy C. Edmondson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Fearless Organization as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Conquer the most essential adaptation to the knowledge economy

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth offers practical guidance for teams and organizations who are serious about success in the modern economy. With so much riding on innovation, creativity, and spark, it is essential to attract and retain quality talent-but what good does this talent do if no one is able to speak their mind? The traditional culture of "fitting in" and "going along" spells doom in the knowledge economy. Success requires a continuous influx of new ideas, new challenges, and critical thought,…


Book cover of Thinking, Fast and Slow

Michael A. Roberto Why did I love this book?

Author Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking research on cognitive biases – the mental traps that we all encounter when making choices. In this book, he brings together a lifetime of scholarship to help us understand how our brains approach complex problems and arrive at difficult choices. Kahneman illuminates the cognitive processes that enable us to think critically and clearly – as well as those that lead to flawed reasoning and analysis at times.    

By Daniel Kahneman,

Why should I read it?

41 authors picked Thinking, Fast and Slow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The phenomenal international bestseller - 2 million copies sold - that will change the way you make decisions

'A lifetime's worth of wisdom' Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics
'There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Thinking, Fast and Slow' Financial Times

Why is there more chance we'll believe something if it's in a bold type face? Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent? The answer lies in the two ways we make choices: fast,…


Book cover of Winning Decisions: Getting It Right the First Time

Michael A. Roberto Why did I love this book?

I found Russo & Schoemaker’s book to be a useful, practical, step-by-step guide for refining the way I make decisions. They inspired me to think about why I make flawed choices at times, as well as why the teams on which I work might stumble as well. In my work, I’ve been able to then employ some of the techniques they describe for overcoming various decision-making biases and obstacles. As you read the book, you will find tips that you can use right away in your personal lives and professional work.

By J. Edward Russo, Paul J.H. Schoemaker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Winning Decisions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Business revolves around making decisions, often risky decisions, usually with incomplete information and too often in less time than we need. Executives at every level, in every industry, are confronted with information overload, less leeway for mistakes, and a business environment that changes rapidly. In light of this increased pressure and volatility, the old-fashioned ways of making decisions–depending on intuition, common sense, and specialized expertise–are simply no longer sufficient. Distilling over thirty years of groundbreaking research, Winning Decisions, written by two seasoned business advisers and world leaders in behavioral decision studies, is a comprehensive, one-of-a-kind guide to the proven methods…


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The Managing People Practice Manual

By Neil Thompson,

Book cover of The Managing People Practice Manual

Neil Thompson Author Of The Managing People Practice Manual

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Writer Educator Adviser

Neil's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

This manual addresses the need to ensure that people are at the centre of the organisation. There has never been a timelier reminder of the need to ensure that leading, supporting and developing staff are critical aspects of creating the right organisational culture to grow and develop. Written with sensitivity, it brings together essential learning and underpinning theoretical knowledge and frameworks to promote effective practice.

This is an essential handbook for managers and leaders who want to develop the full potential of their people. It not only covers the fundamental issues of human resource management, but also highlights important topics that organisations find difficult to address, such as empowerment, stress management, mental health, equality, diversity, inclusion, and the promotion of well-being at work.

The Managing People Practice Manual

By Neil Thompson,

What is this book about?

It is refreshing to come across an HR book that bridges the gap perfectly between the academic theory and the practicality of ‘how to do it'. Dr Neil Thompson takes us on a humanistic journey that genuinely captures the human dimension of people management. This is an extremely helpful manual full of important and practical information about promoting well-being to achieve the best outcome for various everyday people management issues. The easy-to-understand inclusive language of this book calls to anyone interested in people management, meaning this is a perfect book for students, HR leaders, and practitioners. I know I will…


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Interested in decision making, intuition, and organizational behavior?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about decision making, intuition, and organizational behavior.

Decision Making Explore 81 books about decision making
Intuition Explore 16 books about intuition
Organizational Behavior Explore 47 books about organizational behavior