The most recommended books on decision making

Who picked these books? Meet our 166 experts.

166 authors created a book list connected to decision making, and here are their favorite decision making books.
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Book cover of Power: A Radical View

Elizabeth Friesen Author Of Challenging Global Finance: Civil Society and Transnational Networks

From my list on why international finance fails to deliver.

Who am I?

During my childhood I heard many stories of economic collapse, depression, and subsequent war. This created an early awareness of the power of financial forces to shape the welfare, security, and life chances of millions. Since then, I have worked to better understand how such things happen and what could be done about them. I have focused on the nature of power and studied the contingent and contested political processes that shape financial orders. This contestation opens up the possibility of change and makes me hope that future financial orders will, eventually, be based on a wiser, more encompassing understanding of welfare, security, and perhaps even justice, than has been the case so far. 

Elizabeth's book list on why international finance fails to deliver

Elizabeth Friesen Why did Elizabeth love this book?

This book was a revelation.

I first encountered it when the original 1974 edition was assigned in an undergraduate course on social movement politics. I have never looked back.

Lukes’ three-dimensional view of power, and especially his two and three-dimensional views, make visible the power relations that are at work in areas where power does not seem to be active at all.

This has turned out to be an amazingly helpful way to look at power relations in the modern world. Lukes added two chapters to update his original text in the second edition.

I read Lukes’ work as anticipating constructivist insights. Even though others have since developed these ideas at greater length, in my opinion, this book remains a necessary guide to navigating the twenty-first century. 

By Steven Lukes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The third edition of this seminal work includes the original text, first published in 1974, the updates and reflections from the second edition and two groundbreaking new chapters. Power: A Radical View assesses the main debates about how to conceptualize and study power, including the influential contributions of Michel Foucault. The new material includes a development of Lukes's theory of power and presents empirical cases to exemplify this. Including a refreshed introduction, this third edition brings a book that has consolidated its reputation as a classic work and a major reference point within Social and Political Theory to a whole…

Book cover of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

Hannah Gurman and Kaeten Mistry Author Of Whistleblowing Nation: The History of National Security Disclosures and the Cult of State Secrecy

From my list on U.S. national security culture and the exposure of secrets.

Who are we?

We are historians of U.S. foreign relations who have written extensively on the Cold War and national security. Both of us were interested in whistleblowing yet knew relatively little about its history. Turns out, we were not alone. Despite lots of popular interest in the topic, we soon discovered that, beyond individual biographies, barely anything is known about the broader history of the phenomenon. With funding from the UK’s Arts and Humanities Council, we led a collaborative research project, which involved historians, literary scholars, and political theorists, as well as whistleblowers, journalists, and lawyers. One of the fruits of the project, Whistleblowing Nation, is the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary history of U.S. national security whistleblowing.

Hannah's book list on U.S. national security culture and the exposure of secrets

Hannah Gurman and Kaeten Mistry Why did Hannah love this book?

Arguably the most famous national security whistleblower in U.S. history, Daniel Ellsberg became a household name for releasing the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret military study of the Vietnam War, in 1971. Secrets is a fascinating account of how a quintessential Washington insider became the archetypal outsider and, as a result, faced the prospect of decades in prison for passing national security information to the press in the public interest. Ellsberg’s story reveals how the decision to “blow the whistle” is often long and fraught, while knowing the wrath of the state that awaits. A series of plot twists gives a sense of intrigue and suspense to the outcome of the case. Widely considered a principled whistleblower today, Ellsberg’s fate could have been dramatically different and had important legacies for whistleblowing and press freedom.

By Daniel Ellsberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The true story of the leaking of the Pentagon Papers, the event which inspired Steven Spielberg's feature film The Post

In 1971 former Cold War hard-liner Daniel Ellsberg made history by releasing the Pentagon Papers - a 7,000-page top-secret study of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam - to the New York Times and Washington Post. The document set in motion a chain of events that ended not only the Nixon presidency but the Vietnam War. In this remarkable memoir, Ellsberg describes in dramatic detail the two years he spent in Vietnam as a U.S. State Department observer, and how he came…

Book cover of Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration

Joanna Schwartz Author Of Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable

From my list on the human toll of the criminal justice system.

Who am I?

Stories of people impacted by the criminal justice system have been key to my understanding of the system and my efforts to reform it. I knew I wanted to be a civil rights lawyer when, in law school, I represented a woman who was raped by a corrections officer in a federal prison in Connecticut. My experiences suing the police and corrections officers as a young lawyer in New York inspired 15+ years researching the realities of civil rights litigation and barriers to achieve justice. I believe that the best way to understand the realities of the criminal justice system is through the experiences of people trying to make their way through it.

Joanna's book list on the human toll of the criminal justice system

Joanna Schwartz Why did Joanna love this book?

Charged reveals criminal prosecutors’ massive power and discretion.

And Emily Bazelon makes the stakes and consequences of this massive power and discretion come alive by telling the stories of two people charged with two different crimes by two different prosecutors.

By tracking every step of each case—from arrest to charging to trial to sentencing—she shows the harms the overzealous prosecutors can impose, as well as the mercy prosecutors can show. And she traces the work of progressive prosecutors across the country, offering an alternative path forward. 

By Emily Bazelon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A renowned journalist and legal commentator exposes the unchecked power of the prosecutor as a driving force in America’s mass incarceration crisis—and charts a way out.

“An important, thoughtful, and thorough examination of criminal justice in America that speaks directly to how we reduce mass incarceration.”—Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy

“This harrowing, often enraging book is a hopeful one, as well, profiling innovative new approaches and the frontline advocates who champion them.”—Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted


Book cover of Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition

Martin S. Fridson Author Of Investment Illusions: A Savvy Wall Street Pro Explores Popular Misconceptions About the Markets

From my list on investing from a money manager.

Who am I?

I’m a money manager for high-net-worth individuals. During my Wall Street years, I was ranked number one in my category in the Institutional Investor All America Research Survey for nine consecutive years. The CFA Society New York presented me its Ben Graham Award in 2017. I’ve served as a governor of the CFA Institute and consultant to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. My writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, the Financial Times, and various scholarly journals. I live in New York City with my wife, musicologist Elaine Sisman. We have two children and five grandchildren.

Martin's book list on investing from a money manager

Martin S. Fridson Why did Martin love this book?

Investment manager Michael Mauboussin illuminates mental errors that impede investment success with excellent real-life examples. The good news is that these errors are avoidable. Relying on expert opinion is useful in some cases but not in others. Mauboussin also deflates the “great company” myth, citing research that finds the stocks of companies hailed as champions by business magazines subsequently underperform the stocks of companies derided by the same periodicals.

By Michael J. Mauboussin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

No matter your field, industry, or specialty, as a leader you make a series of crucial decisions every single day. And the harsh truth is that the majority of decisions-no matter how good the intentions behind them-are mismanaged, resulting in a huge toll on organizations, the people they employ, and even the people they serve. So why is it so hard to make sound decisions? In Think Twice, now in paperback, Michael Mauboussin argues that we often fall victim to simplified mental routines that prevent us from coping with the complex realities inherent in important judgment calls. Yet these cognitive…

Book cover of Games, Strategies, and Decision Making

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 is an excellent, non-technical introduction to game theory, covering most topics, including incomplete information games and evolutionary game theory.

Packed with real-life examples, along with humorous and historical notes, the book is appropriate for undergraduate students from different majors, including political science, history, psychology, and biology.

The book focuses on presenting topics at the undergraduate level, avoiding difficult notation and jargon, and minimizing the math, thus not being a good fit for technical courses in game theory at the Master's and Ph.D. levels, but again, it’s one of the best introductions to game theory for non-technical readers currently available.

By Joseph E. Harrington Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Games, Strategies, and Decision Making as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written for majors courses in economics, business, political science, and international relations, but accessible to students across the undergraduate spectrum, Joseph Harrington's innovative textbook makes the tools and applications of game theory and strategic reasoning both fascinating and easy to understand. Each chapter focuses a specific strategic situation as a way of introducing core concepts informally at first, then more fully, with a minimum of mathematics. At the heart of the book is a diverse collection of strategic scenarios, not only from business and politics, but from history, fiction, sports, and everyday life as well. With this approach, students don't…

Book cover of The One Thing You'd Save

John Micklos Jr. Author Of Raindrops to Rainbow

From my list on recent picture books with a message.

Who am I?

I have written 60 books over the past 20 years. My titles include picture books, poetry books, and dozens of nonfiction books covering a wide range of history and social studies topics. My picture books deal with concepts such as counting and colors. I enjoy rhyming and wordplay and conveying ideas in simple terms. 

John's book list on recent picture books with a message

John Micklos Jr. Why did John love this book?

It begins with a simple assignment—a teacher asks her class the one thing they’d save if their home were on fire. The answers, ranging from practical items such as cell phones, laptops, and wallets to priceless mementos such as a sweater knitted by gran, a baseball star’s autograph, and a lock of hair from a younger brother who died, reveal a lot about the students’ backgrounds and priorities. The text is written in a line structure called sijo—an ancient form of traditional Korean poetry. Simple black-and-white illustrations provides a nice complement to the text. This is a great book to get kids thinking about what is really important in their lives. 

By Linda Sue Park, Robert Sae-Heng (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The One Thing You'd Save as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save? Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park explores different answers to this provocative question in linked poems that capture the diverse voices of a middle school class. Recipient of four starred reviews!

"[Park's] message is powerful: We don’t need a great blazing tragedy to determine what we hold most precious in our lives; we can define what’s vital through our thoughts and memories, always at hand, in our heads and hearts—safe, where the flames don’t reach."—New York Times Book Review

When a teacher asks her class what one thing they…

Book cover of Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

Muhammad Mashhood Alam Author Of Transforming an Idea Into a Business with Design Thinking: The Structured Approach from Silicon Valley for Entrepreneurs and Leaders

From my list on design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Who am I?

I've been driving innovation in various capacities with world’s leading companies and start-ups for the last 23 years in Silicon Valley. I've been granted six US patents, won two prestigious design awards including the Red Dot award, and published a book on transforming an idea into a business using Design Thinking. What I've learnt is that at the core of any successful business lies the value to the end user who uses the solutions. As I got exposed to Design Thinking earlier on in my career, I realized its immense power in delivering human-centered innovations. I regularly speak at several industry & entrepreneurial events and various business schools around the world. 

Muhammad's book list on design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship

Muhammad Mashhood Alam Why did Muhammad love this book?

This is a book that describes why design thinking can be a powerful tool for innovation and problem-solving.

Brown argues that traditional approaches to problem-solving often rely on linear and analytical thinking, which can be limiting when it comes to addressing complex and multifaceted challenges.

Brown presents a framework for design thinking that emphasizes empathy, experimentation, and collaboration.

I found numerous examples of individuals and organizations in the book that have successfully used design thinking to create innovative solutions to a wide range of problems, from improving healthcare to redesigning public spaces.

I found practical strategies of applying design thinking in life and work.

By Tim Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Change by Design as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The subject of "design thinking" is the rage at business schools, throughout corporations, and increasingly in the popular press-due in large part to the work of IDEO, a leading design firm, and its celebrated CEO, Tim Brown, who uses this book to show how the techniques and strategies of design belong at every level of business.

The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realized as new offerings and…

Book cover of Environmental Impact Assessment: Theory and Practice

Angus Morrison-Saunders Author Of Advanced Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment

From my list on environmental impact assessment.

Who am I?

I have been teaching and researching environmental impact assessment for over 30 years and it is still a topic that excites me. After all, what could be more challenging or relevant than figuring out how to deliver sustainable development? Trying to predict the consequences of development and putting in place effective measures to prevent adverse environmental and social effects all in the context of our intriguingly messy world of science, politics, governance, and public engagement is endlessly beguiling. For example, what might sustainable mining look like? I love learning from the wisdom of others, so I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have.

Angus' book list on environmental impact assessment

Angus Morrison-Saunders Why did Angus love this book?

Sometimes, what is old can be new again. This is a great book that lays out the fundamental theory and principles underpinning environmental impact assessment (EIA).

Groundbreaking of its day, many of the chapters provide pioneering insights into the intricacies of EIA that still resonate today. The technical, the theoretical, the art and science and strategy of EIA are all explored by the international contributors, many of whom were founders in the field.

By Peter Wathern (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Environmental Impact Assessment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This comprehensive treatment of environmental impact assessment (EIA) provides an authoritative contemporary review of theory and practice over the past ten years. EIA is viewed as both science and art, reflecting the concern both with technical aspects of appraisal and the effects of EIA on the decision-making process. Adopted in many countries, with different degrees of enthusiasm, since its inception in the early 1970's, EIA is established as a major procedure for assessing the environmental implications of legislation, the implementation of policy and plans and the initiation of development projects. EIA is increasingly an essential part of environmental management

Book cover of Managing Performing Living: Effective Management for a New World

Andreas Creutzmann Author Of Soft Skills for the Professional Services Industry : Principles, Tasks, and Tools for Success

From my list on soft skills for professionals and entrepreneurs.

Who am I?

At the very beginning of my studies, I asked myself a question that still accompanies me today: “Why are some people successful and others not?” I've always been interested in people who are successful through their own efforts instead of building on the success of previous generations through their heritage. In my search for what distinguishes successful from less successful people, I began to read a variety of relevant books and attend seminars. These books and seminars dealt with the topics of success, personality development, marketing and sales, rhetoric, psychology, and management as well as self-management and personal productivity. To date, I've read several hundred books on these topics and attended a number of seminars.

Andreas' book list on soft skills for professionals and entrepreneurs

Andreas Creutzmann Why did Andreas love this book?

Like Malik, I have divided my book into principles, tasks, and tools.

My principles, tasks and tools are partly based on management thinkers such as Peter F. Drucker and Fredmund Malik. However, especially for the tools, but also for individual principles and tasks, these have been supplemented, expanded, and adapted based on my experience.

Malik's book is inspiring for all who see management as a profession. In the book you will learn how effective and efficient management works.

By Fredmund Malik, Jutta Scherer (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Managing Performing Living as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this completely revised and enlarged edition of his classic book, management expert Fredmund Malik offers managers sound professional advice for improving skills in organization, decision-making, supervising, budgeting, and numerous other management-related tasks. Tailored to a new generation of managers for whom effectiveness is the key to success, this volume reveals everything that all executives and leaders need to know to turn knowledge, personal strengths, talent, creativity, and innovative thinking into concrete results. By providing readers with the universal principles, tasks, and tools of effective management, Malik helps them to cope with the ongoing centennial change in business and society…

Book cover of How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

John M. Mulvey Author Of Worldwide Asset and Liability Modeling

From my list on how to achieve your financial goals.

Who am I?

In my first year as an undergraduate in computer science at the University of Illinois, I took two classes that set the course for my 54-year career (6 years at TRW Systems aerospace firm, and 48 years teaching at Harvard and Princeton Universities): 1) introduction to optimization, and 2) computer algorithms. These topics continue to fascinate me, especially as they relate to improving investment performance via modern optimization technology and data sciences. Optimization plays a critical role in many domains, including supply chains, quantitative finance, and machine learning algorithms. Everyone interested in improving performance ought to understand the successful uses of this proven technology.

John's book list on how to achieve your financial goals

John M. Mulvey Why did John love this book?

There is much evidence that individuals often suffer from inertia when it comes to making significant decisions – including investment choices.

This engaging book by Professor Milkman at the Wharton School aims to create a climate in which “change” can be accomplished in an efficient, systematic, and relatively painless way. There are numerous examples of improvements by both individuals and organizations. This highly readable book is a must for anyone interested in creating and sustaining positive change habits, for example, to encourage increased savings and systematic investment policies.

Professor Milkman is one of our successful undergraduate alums and participates on the advisor committee of the ORFE Department at Princeton. She is a terrific teacher and writer. The lessons in this book are most appropriate for investors who are interested in establishing and maintaining sound habits to improve their investment performance.

By Katy Milkman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Game-changing. Katy Milkman shows in this book that we can all be a super human' Angela Duckworth, bestselling author of Grit

How to Change is a powerful, groundbreaking blueprint to help you - and anyone you manage, teach or coach - to achieve personal and professional goals, from the master of human nature and behaviour change and Choiceology podcast host Professor Katy Milkman.

Award-winning Wharton Professor Katy Milkman has devoted her career to the study of behaviour change. An engineer by training, she approaches all challenges as problems to be solved and, with this mind-set, has drilled into the roadblocks…