Books topic

Decision- making

Ed Smith is a former first class cricket player for Middlesex and England. He went on to head England’s selection process before the role was abolished.

The book covers his period as Chief selector and though of obvious interest to cricket fans the book is of wider interest to leaders and anyone interested in the business of selecting talent, building teams and making decision.

Making Decisions

Ed Smith
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Author and journalist Jonah Lehrer is a contributing editor to Wired magazine.  This book is a 101 of both the neuroscience and  psychology of how we make decisions.  It explores the constant biological tension between our emotional impulses – driven by the limbic system and the neurotransmitter dopamine which are broadly responsible for most of our decision-making and our ability to rationalize and control our emotional instincts.  The book explores how by understanding our own biology and the impact our blood chemistry has on our behaviour we can learn to make better, more self-aware decisions.  Excellent primer for anyone wishing to understand how biology influences decision-making.

How We Decide

Jonah Lehrer
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Atul Gawande is a General and Endocrine surgeon as well as an Associate Professor at the Harvard Medical School. The book is about the search to find a simple reliable method for improving surgical outcomes in the face of ever increasing complexity and specilization.  A problem that is far from being confined to medicine.  The solution, a checklist and a culture that recognizes experience does not make us infallible.  In fact it often creates the conceit of omnipotent competence which is frequently the genesis of careless oversight. Essential reading for anyone interested in decision-making.

The Checklist Manifesto

Atul Gawande
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Born out of a US government funded research project into the process of predictive analysis, this book about the mental processes and habits of a rare group of analysts who are able to make accurate predictive forecasts.  None of these individuals is a professional analyst or the custodian of any particular expertise these were simply volunteers with a curiosity and an approach that turns out to be far more accurate than the predictive powers of most ‘experts’ or agencies. Anyone interested in the analysis of complex situations should read this for its invaluable insights into how to approach problems, use analysis in an effective and insightful way and synthesize multiple points of view into a reasoned judgement.


Philip Tetlock & Dan Gardner
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A remarkable inside view of the crisis management and leadership of President Kennedy and his most senior advisors during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Loads of lessons here about decision-making under pressure and how leaders exercised judgement under the most exceptional pressure when for thirteen days in 1962 the world stood on the precipice of a nuclear war.

Thirteen Days

Robert F. Kennedy
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Professor Daniel Kahneman is a psychologist who won the Noble Prize for Economics for his work with Amos Tversky exploring the nature of decision making. They showed how prone to bias we are as a consequence of how the brain has evolved short cuts for handling information. We are more rationalizing than rational. This book explores intuition and reason, describing them as system 1 (fast) and system 2 (slow) and richly illustrating how our patterns of thoughts have evolved. Essential for anyone concerned with the business of decision making.

Thinking Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman
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