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Resources to Help You Learn More About Decision Making

Decision Education draws on insights from a variety of disciplines, including cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, behavioral economics, neuroscience, decision analysis, and probability. Check out these resources to develop a deeper understanding of the foundations for Decision Education and strengthen your own judgment and decision making skills.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is a foundational text about how the human mind forms judgments and makes decisions under uncertain conditions, based on decades of research Kahneman conducted with his academic partner Amos Tversky. The publisher’s reading group guide provides thought-provoking questions that will enhance what you take away to apply to your own life. 

In You Are Not So Smart and You Are Now Less Dumb, David McRaney skillfully weaves anecdotes and psychology research into memorable explanations about the hazards of cognitive biases like the Dunning-Kruger effect, anchoring, and the sunk cost fallacy. McRaney’s entertaining podcast often features notable thinkers who study various facets of judgment and decision making. 

Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath helps you avoid the “four villains of decision making”: narrow framing, confirmation bias, short-term emotion, and overconfidence with tips that are easy to apply to work and life. The Heath brothers offer several free resources including a workbook and mini-case studies that will help you integrate what you learned into your everyday decision making toolkit. 

Smart Choices by John L. Hammond, Ralph S. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa offers the PrOACT model as  framework for making tough deliberative decisions. You’ll learn how to define your decision problem, clarify your objectives, identify your alternatives, and consider the consequences and tradeoffs involved in choosing each alternative. 

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin demystify the psychology of habit formation so you’ll be empowered to nurture the beneficial habits and crush the problematic habits you’ve decided matter to you. Both authors offer plenty of free resources on the linked pages to help you stay committed. 

Thought and Knowledge by Diane Halpern is a comprehensive volume covering the wide-ranging skills we can learn to become better critical thinkers, including reasoning, analyzing arguments, hypothesis testing, and understanding probabilities. It’s a college-level textbook that manages to make complex concepts engaging because of Halpern’s clear explanations and talent for weaving in questions that encourage the reader to make personal connections. 

"Outsmart Your Own Biases" by Jack B. Soll, Katherine Milkman, and John W. Payne (Harvard Business Review) blends insights from the research of Daniel Kahneman and his research partner Amos Tversky and the decisions of business leaders to provide concrete tips for making better choices. 

"How to Make a Big Decision" by Steven Johnson (New York Times) provides tools and strategies for decision making that prevent the narrow, haphazard approaches that often lead to disappointing outcomes. 

"Creating a Decision Journal"  by Shane Parrish (Farnum Street) explains how recording the factors that influence your decision making like your mental and physical state, the range of alternatives and outcomes you’ve considered, and what the situation might look like at various points in the future can help you stay honest with yourself and avoid making the same mistakes repeatedly. 

“The Premortem” by Richard Thaler (Edge.org) suggests that we can make better decisions if we’re more realistic about the pitfalls we might encounter for each alternative we’re considering and make adjustments that will support the success of the one we ultimately choose. 

“Becoming a Critic of Your Thinking” by Dr. Linda Elder and Dr. Richard Paul provides strategies that will help you form well-reasoned judgments that lead to better decisions. 

"How to read the news like a scientist", adapted from researcher Emma Frans’ TED Talk, offers tools for evaluating information in rational ways. In addition to cultivating scientific thinking like searching for evidence and distinguishing between correlation and causation, this article explains how to avoid being fooled by cognitive biases like the halo effect and confirmation bias. 

Psychologist Laurie Santos explains in this video series how a variety of cognitive biases including loss aversion, the peak-end effect, and the price effect impact our everyday choices. 

"A visual guide to Bayesian thinking" from Julia Galef helps us assess likelihoods realistically while we develop judgments that inform the courses of action we choose. 

“5 tips to improve your critical thinking” by Samantha Agoos features engaging animation alongside simple tips for gathering and interpreting information effectively as we make important decisions. 

The posts in the decision making category of the Farnum Street blog explain how to make sense of the overwhelming amount of information and tasks most of us face on a daily basis so we’re able to make decisions that save time, money, and stress. 

Shankar Vedantam’s Hidden Brain podcast “reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, and the biases that shape our choices.”

The free resources from the Center for Advanced Hindsight include decision support apps and flashcards that provide to-the-point takeaways about the ways cognitive biases influence our behavior. 

“The Fundamentals of Making Good Decisions” booklet by The Decision Education Foundation provides a framework, that is simple enough for a young audience to grasp but sophisticated enough for adults to leverage. This booklet explains the importance of using a helpful frame, clear values, creative alternatives, useful information, sound reasoning, and commitment to follow through to structure a quality decision. In addition, the booklet includes  tips for knowing ourselves better so we can counteract our cognitive biases. DEF offers more learning resources including curriculum that families and educators use worldwide.

 

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