What to read if you need to make better decisions

Wrangling with the necessity of big, scary, strategic decisions in your job? Use your summer break to get the right tools for better decision-making. Victor Demiguel, professor for Management Science at London Business School, has eight book suggestions for you:

Picture: contrastwerkstatt / fotolia

1. Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Life Decisions

by Hammond, Keeney, and Raiffa

An easy read and a good starting point. The authors don’t tell you what to decide, they tell you how. The methods are time-tested and the process is easy. The key lies in seeking out decisions that advance your long-term values, goals and beliefs.

2. Thinking, Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

Nobel laureate Kahneman discusses the benefits and risks of using intuition for decision-making in this incredibly sharp exploration of the ‘dual-process’ model of the brain. For anyone fascinated by human behaviour and our incredible ability to ignore uncomfortable truths, this book is a delight.

3. Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning

by Thomas H. Davenport

Organisations today use analytics to build a competitive advantage. There is more information out there than ever before, and it is growing every day. Some organisations build their whole strategy around data-driven insights. The real-life examples in this book show you how to harness the full force of analytics.

4. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

by Michael Lewis

Ostensibly this is about how the Oakland Athletics baseball team used analytics to beat teams with much larger budgets, but anyone interested in the broader subject of human performance will enjoy the journey this book takes them on.

5. Big Data at Work: Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the Opportunities

by Thomas H. Davenport

Want to use the power of big data to gain a competitive advantage? This book will tell you why big data is important, the technology you need to manage it, how it could change you, your job and your industry, how to get people to make it work and how to run big data projects.

6. Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think

Viktor Mayer-Schonberger & Kenneth Cukier

Making the point that analysts need to look at the widest possible swathe of data that surrounds a person, they argue that perhaps today it is not just about who you know, but who they know, and who those people know too.

7. Predictive Analytics: the Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die

by Eric Siegel

This one is less for techies and more for lay-readers who need a primer in the latest analytics techniques. Revealing the power and perils of prediction, this book will tell you how predictive analytics affect everyone, every day.

8. Business Analytics: Data Analysis and Decision Making

by Albright and Winston

This is a big book about how to build spreadsheet models to make better decisions. Teaching by example, problem sets and case studies bring theory into the real world.

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Barbara Bierach