100 books like Rational Choice in an Uncertain World

By Reid Hastie, Robyn M. Dawes,

Here are 100 books that Rational Choice in an Uncertain World fans have personally recommended if you like Rational Choice in an Uncertain World. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Treatise of Human Nature

Steven Pinker Author Of Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters

From my list on rationality and why it matters.

Who am I?

I’m a Harvard professor of psychology and a cognitive scientist who’s interested in all aspects of language, mind, and human nature. I grew up in Montreal, but have lived most of my adult life in the Boston area, bouncing back and forth between Harvard and MIT except for stints in California as a professor at Stanford and sabbatical visitor in Santa Barbara and now, Berkeley. I alternate between books on language (how it works, what it reveals about human nature, what makes for clear and stylish writing) and books on the human mind and human condition (how the mind works, why violence has declined, how progress can take place).

Steven's book list on rationality and why it matters

Steven Pinker Why did Steven love this book?

When I wrote Rationality, I mentioned Hume 32 times. He didn’t think of everything, but he explained an astonishing range of topics related to rationality, including causation versus correlation, is versus ought, and individual versus collective self-interest.

His follow-up, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, explained why we shouldn’t believe in miracles. He explored all of these topics with clarity and wit, putting modern academic writing to shame.

By David Hume,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Treatise of Human Nature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"One of the greatest of all philosophical works, covering knowledge, imagination, emotion, morality, and justice." — Baroness Warnock, The List
Published in the mid-18th century and received with indifference (it "fell dead-born from the press," noted the author), David Hume's comprehensive three-volume A Treatise of Human Nature has withstood the test of time and has had enormous impact on subsequent philosophical thought. Hume — whom Kant famously credited with having "interrupted my dogmatic slumber and gave my investigations in the field of speculative philosophy a quite new direction" — intended this work as an observationally grounded study of human nature.…


Book cover of The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth

Tom Wheeler Author Of From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future

From my list on today’s roadmap to tomorrow.

Who am I?

I have been fortunate to have spent the last 40 years of my professional life dealing with new networks and new technology. From the early days of cable television and mobile communications to the development of digital video and the transmission of data over cable lines and satellite. It was a career topped off with the privilege of being the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with regulatory responsibly for approximately 1/6th of the American economy (on which the other 5/6s depended). 

Tom's book list on today’s roadmap to tomorrow

Tom Wheeler Why did Tom love this book?

At a time when new technology has delivered us to a world of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation, we have lost our shared understanding of just what facts and truth are.

Jonathan Rauch helps us recall the importance of facts and truth to the liberal democratic process. He challenges us to reinstate knowledge and truth. 

By Jonathan Rauch,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Constitution of Knowledge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Arming Americans to defend the truth from today's war on facts.

Disinformation. Trolling. Conspiracies. Social media pile-ons. Campus intolerance. On the surface, these recent additions to our daily vocabulary appear to have little in common. But together, they are driving an epistemic crisis: a multi-front challenge to America's ability to distinguish fact from fiction and elevate truth above falsehood.

In 2016 Russian trolls and bots nearly drowned the truth in a flood of fake news and conspiracy theories, and Donald Trump and his troll armies continued to do the same. Social media companies struggled to keep up with a flood…


Book cover of Rationality for Mortals: How People Cope with Uncertainty

Helge Thorbjørnsen Author Of More Numbers Every Day: How Data, Stats, and Figures Control Our Lives and How to Set Ourselves Free

From my list on who and what influences our thoughts and behavior.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated and intrigued by human behavior and decision-making. What influences our thoughts and behavior and why? In hindsight, I probably should have majored in psychology instead of business, but as a business school professor I still get to investigate all the little quirks and biases of the human mind. I live in Bergen, Norway and devote much of my time researching and teaching consumer psychology and decision-making. I hope you find some inspiration in this list of brilliant books!   

Helge's book list on who and what influences our thoughts and behavior

Helge Thorbjørnsen Why did Helge love this book?

Ok: This is not an easy read like the other books I’ve recommended.

In fact, some parts of it require quite a lot of the reader. But it is a very smart and novel book on human reasoning, uncertainty, and probability.

Gigerenzer elegantly shows us how human behavior often is more rational than one might think, and his concept of “fast and frugal heuristics” is instrumental in understanding how we deal with probability and risk.

If you’ve read Thinking Fast and Slow by Kahneman and are open to some new and different perspectives on rationality and decision-making, this is your book.  

By Gerd Gigerenzer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rationality for Mortals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gerd Gigerenzer's influential work examines the rationality of individuals not from the perspective of logic or probability, but from the point of view of adaptation to the real world of human behavior and interaction with the environment. Seen from this perspective, human behavior is more rational than it might otherwise appear. This work is extremely influential and has spawned an entire research program. This volume collects recent articles, looking at how
people use "fast and frugal heuristics" to calculate probability and risk and make decisions. It includes the revised articles and newly written introduction that were first published in the…


Book cover of The Bias That Divides Us: The Science and Politics of Myside Thinking

Steven Pinker Author Of Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters

From my list on rationality and why it matters.

Who am I?

I’m a Harvard professor of psychology and a cognitive scientist who’s interested in all aspects of language, mind, and human nature. I grew up in Montreal, but have lived most of my adult life in the Boston area, bouncing back and forth between Harvard and MIT except for stints in California as a professor at Stanford and sabbatical visitor in Santa Barbara and now, Berkeley. I alternate between books on language (how it works, what it reveals about human nature, what makes for clear and stylish writing) and books on the human mind and human condition (how the mind works, why violence has declined, how progress can take place).

Steven's book list on rationality and why it matters

Steven Pinker Why did Steven love this book?

Stanovich is a cognitive psychologist who showed that rationality is related, but not identical, to intelligence.

In this timely book, he shows that smart people, and everyone else, are victims of a powerful bias to show that our own tribe is virtuous and wise and knowledgeable and the other tribe is evil and stupid and ignorant. Needless to say, it explains a lot about our current moment.

By Keith E. Stanovich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bias That Divides Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why we don't live in a post-truth society but rather a myside society: what science tells us about the bias that poisons our politics.

In The Bias That Divides Us, psychologist Keith Stanovich argues provocatively that we don't live in a post-truth society, as has been claimed, but rather a myside society. Our problem is not that we are unable to value and respect truth and facts, but that we are unable to agree on commonly accepted truth and facts. We believe that our side knows the truth. Post-truth? That describes the other side. The inevitable result is political polarization.…


Book cover of How We Know What Isn't So

Gary Smith Author Of Distrust: Big Data, Data-Torturing, and the Assault on Science

From my list on science’s eroding reputation.

Who am I?

I am the Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics at Pomona College. I started out as a macroeconomist but, early on, discovered stats and stocks—which have long been fertile fields for data torturing and data mining. My book, Standard Deviations: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, and Other Ways to Lie with Statistics is a compilation of a variety of dubious and misleading statistical practices. More recently, I have written several books on AI, which has a long history of overpromising and underdelivering because it is essentially data mining on steroids. No matter how loudly statisticians shout correlation is not causation, some will not hear.

Gary's book list on science’s eroding reputation

Gary Smith Why did Gary love this book?

One of Gilovich’s most famous papers is a (co-authored) 1985 study arguing that the widespread belief by athletes and fans that athletes get a “hot hand” is in fact a statistical illusion. This book is a compilation of similar examples of how everyone—even, or perhaps especially, the most highly educated—believe things that are doubtful or clearly wrong.

By Thomas Gilovich,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How We Know What Isn't So as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thomas Gilovich offers a wise and readable guide to the fallacy of the obvious in everyday life.

When can we trust what we believe-that "teams and players have winning streaks," that "flattery works," or that "the more people who agree, the more likely they are to be right"-and when are such beliefs suspect? Thomas Gilovich offers a guide to the fallacy of the obvious in everyday life. Illustrating his points with examples, and supporting them with the latest research findings, he documents the cognitive, social, and motivational processes that distort our thoughts, beliefs, judgments and decisions. In a rapidly changing…


Book cover of How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion

Melina Palmer Author Of What Your Employees Need and Can't Tell You

From my list on having more influence at work.

Who am I?

The more I learn about the brain, the more I want to dig in and discover more. Why do we procrastinate? Why do people buy things? Why do some people naturally seem to have more influence than others? As an applied behavioral economist, I love unlocking these topics weekly on The Brainy Business podcast (where each person on this list has been a guest) and sharing those insights with the world. Three of the most downloaded episodes (in over 300) featured increasing influence (and authors showcased here), a key factor of being more impactful in life and at work. Enjoy your newfound influence!

Melina's book list on having more influence at work

Melina Palmer Why did Melina love this book?

I read a lot about the brain and how humans make decisions – and this book by David McRaney completely blew my mind.

Inspired by his own curiosity into why some people change their minds in incredibly drastic ways (like leaving a cult) when so many others remain stagnant. What is the difference? How can we use that insight to encourage better decision making and open mindedness?

David takes you on a journey of his own discovery with insights from experts, joining a team knocking on doors to understand voter polls, and so much more. The fundamental insights into how the brain is wired and how we can change our own minds (as well as those around us) is fascinating and a must-read for everyone who wants to be more influential.

By David McRaney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Genes create brains, brains create beliefs, beliefs create attitudes, attitudes create group-identities, group identities create norms, norms create values, and values create cultures. The most effective persuasion techniques work backwards.

Ideas sweep across cultures in waves, beginning with early adopters who reduce uncertainty for the rest of the population. It's rarely because the innovation is amazing in and of itself, but because early adopters signal to the group that it's safe to think again.

This book explains how minds change - and how to change them - not over hundreds of years, but in less than a generation, in less…


Book cover of The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

Aparna Pande Author Of From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India's Foreign Policy

From my list on history and foreign policy.

Who am I?

Foreign policy has been my passion since I was a child. My father was a civil servant and growing up in India, I always wanted to follow in his footsteps but instead of working on domestic issues, I wanted to work on international affairs. History was another passion of mine and I wanted to combine the two of them in such a way that I studied the past in order to explain the present and help the future. This passion led me to enroll in a PhD program in the United States and then work at a think tank. I have written three books, two of which focus exclusively on foreign policy. I hope you enjoy reading the books I have listed and read my book.  

Aparna's book list on history and foreign policy

Aparna Pande Why did Aparna love this book?

This classic, from the 1980s, is a must-read for history buffs and those interested in international affairs. The author cites examples from ancient Greece to the 1970s, to demonstrate how empires and nations often make decisions that are detrimental to their long-term interests. I love this book for its writing style which is captivating, for the breath of its examples which range from ancient times to modern-day and for the recommendations this book gives not just for political leaders but those in business and other walks of life.

By Barbara W. Tuchman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The March of Folly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Barbara W. Tuchman, author of the World War I masterpiece The Guns of August, grapples with her boldest subject: the pervasive presence, through the ages, of failure, mismanagement, and delusion in government.
 
Drawing on a comprehensive array of examples, from Montezuma’s senseless surrender of his empire in 1520 to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Barbara W. Tuchman defines folly as the pursuit by government of policies contrary to their own interests, despite the availability of feasible alternatives. In brilliant detail, Tuchman illuminates four decisive turning points in history that illustrate the very heights of folly: the Trojan…


Book cover of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Emily Guy Birken Author Of Making Social Security Work for You: Advice, Strategies, and Timelines That Can Maximize Your Benefits

From my list on changing the way you look at money.

Who am I?

When I was about 8, I remember taking all the money out of my piggy bank, counting it, and carefully putting it back in again. My sister called me Ms. Moneybags. But I wasn’t worried about accumulating money. I was fascinated by money’s pure potential. I could do anything with it! From that early interest in the potential of money, I grew to be an avid reader of financial books–and that led to a surprise career as a money writer. I still love to think about money’s potential and the best ways to allocate that potential, and I love to bring my readers with me on the fascinating journey.

Emily's book list on changing the way you look at money

Emily Guy Birken Why did Emily love this book?

As of 2023, behavioral economics is no longer a surprising new look at old economics principles–but that doesn’t change just how entertaining, surprising, and challenging you will find the experiments detailed in Predictably Irrational. 

In one notable experiment, Dr. Ariely placed six-packs of soft drinks next to plates of cash inside of communal dorm fridges–to prove we tend to be honest about cash but feel no compunction about swiping someone else’s Coke. In another memorable experiment, male volunteers were asked moral questions when they were in a state of arousal–which helped prove that morals are flexible depending on the circumstances. 

Reading this book will make you realize just how often you make decisions–especially financial decisions–that are weird, illogical, and irrational.

By Dan Ariely,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Predictably Irrational as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why do smart people make irrational decisions every day? The answers will surprise you. Predictably Irrational is an intriguing, witty and utterly original look at why we all make illogical decisions.

Why can a 50p aspirin do what a 5p aspirin can't? If an item is "free" it must be a bargain, right? Why is everything relative, even when it shouldn't be? How do our expectations influence our actual opinions and decisions?

In this astounding book, behavioural economist Dan Ariely cuts to the heart of our strange behaviour, demonstrating how irrationality often supplants rational thought and that the reason for…


Book cover of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Doug Motel Author Of What’s Working Now

From my list on getting out of your head and into your life.

Who am I?

In my journey, I've sought to blend my interest in ancient wisdoms into a coherent, accessible philosophy I call "Nowism." My aim has been to simplify and share complex teachings in a way that resonates and helps. Through my writing, performing, and speaking, I try to bring these concepts to life, hoping to ignite a spark of understanding and self-discovery in others. More than anything, before I leave this world, I want to contribute something (no matter how small) to the legacy of personal empowerment. I aspire to help people see the world more clearly, to understand themselves more deeply, and to find joy in the present moment.

Doug's book list on getting out of your head and into your life

Doug Motel Why did Doug love this book?

Greg McKeown's Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less is more than a book; it's a life-altering philosophy.

As someone brimming with creative energy and ideas, I found myself often lost in a sea of projects, losing sight of my true goals. This book was a revelation. It adeptly distinguishes between essentialist and non-essentialist mindsets, compelling you to evaluate your intentions and commitments.

Through its teachings, I've learned to eliminate non-essential projects, focusing only on what truly aligns with my core objectives. It's a must-read for anyone looking to declutter their life and mind, ensuring that every action taken is a step towards what genuinely matters.

The journey of trimming the unnecessary from my life is ongoing, but it's liberating to have fewer, more meaningful irons in the fire.

By Greg McKeown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The life-changing international bestseller that started a global movement - now updated with the new 21-Day Essentialism Challenge and an exclusive excerpt from EFFORTLESS

Have you ever found yourself struggling with information overload?

Have you ever felt both overworked and underutilised?

Do you ever feel busy but not productive?

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is to become an Essentialist.

In Essentialism, Greg McKeown, CEO of a Leadership and Strategy agency in Silicon Valley who has run courses at Apple, Google and Facebook, shows you how to achieve what he calls the disciplined pursuit of…


Book cover of The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life

Felix Munoz-Garcia Author Of Game Theory: An Introduction with Step-by-Step Examples

From my list on learning Game Theory.

Who am I?

I am a Professor of Economics at Washington State University. My research focuses on applying Game Theory and Industrial Organization models to polluting industries and other regulated markets. I analyze how firms strategically respond to environmental regulation, including their output and pricing decisions, their investments in clean technologies, and merger decisions, both under complete and incomplete information contexts.

Felix's book list on learning Game Theory

Felix Munoz-Garcia Why did Felix love this book?

This book is a beautiful, non-mathematical introduction to Game Theory for everyone, even high school students interested in strategy, its basic modeling, and how to solve games.

It has applications to everyday life, including examples from real business and political science, making it accessible to all sorts of readers. Its verbal description of some solution concepts and mathematical results is, however, too lengthy at times, especially for non-English speakers and students with a good math background, potentially leading to unnecessary confusion.

By Avinash Dixit, Barry J. Nalebuff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Strategy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Game theory means rigorous strategic thinking. It's the art of anticipating your opponent's next moves, knowing full well that your rival is trying to do the same thing to you. Though parts of game theory involve simple common sense, much is counterintuitive, and it can only be mastered by developing a new way of seeing the world. Using a diverse array of rich case studies-from pop culture, TV, movies, sports, politics, and history-the authors show how nearly every business and personal interaction has a game-theory component to it. Mastering game theory will make you more successful in business and life,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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