6 Books to Help You Make Smarter Decisions
If there’s one thing that keeps us from falling asleep at night, it is running through all the decisions in our lives. It can be the big stuff: where to send the kids to school or how to scale back on expenses and prepare for retirement. But smaller daily decisions carry weight too: what to make for dinner, which TV shows to let the kids or grandkids watch.
Daily decision-making can be exhausting (researchers call it decision fatigue for a reason), and it doesn’t help us get shut-eye. If you are lying awake mulling things over, you’re not resting. And if you’re not rested, you’re going to have trouble being clear-headed and awake the next morning … at which point you might not make sharp decisions. See how this works?
So there’s good reason to improve your decision-making skills — it’ll help you hit the hay, which will reduce your exhaustion, which will help you make better decisions the following morning. Crack open these six essential reads (some new, some classics) to help you make choices that let you turn off your brain when your head hits the pillow:
“When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” by Daniel Pink
A New York Times best-selling author, Pink makes the case in this book for the idea that the time of day when you make a specific decision matters. Figuring out when your own brain is most alert and creative may help you figure when you’ll be most efficient at making choices.
“The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less” by Barry Schwartz
One of the leading books explaining how having more choices doesn’t necessarily lead to better outcomes. In fact, in this now-classic book, Schwartz shows how having more options in the number of blue jean styles at the store or more liberal return policies can actually make you less satisfied with your purchases.
“Unlimited Memory: How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More and Be More Productive” by Kevin Horsley
If you need information to make informed decisions, it makes sense to also need to be able to remember those crucial details. This book shows you how to get some of those facts to stick in your brain.
“Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness” by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
Thaler received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics. In this 2008 book, he and Sunstein look at the concept of libertarian paternalism, the idea that institutions can affect behavior while still allowing citizens to exercise their free will. The basis of their argument is that people don’t necessarily always make decisions in their own best interests.
“Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More” by Morten Hansen
A study of more than 5,000 people conducted over five years identified key ways in which people can implement smarter work practices. Those seven secrets are outlined here, with examples from real people of how they have been implemented.
“Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts” by Annie Duke
This former World Series of Poker champion talks about how luck plays a factor in our decision-making and how to make the best decisions you can based on limited information. Learn more about this book here.
If anxiety about making decisions is keeping you up at night, try a worry journal to lay your concerns to rest.
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