Behavioural economics is an ever-growing discipline where researchers study the psychology behind decision-making. Simply put, it looks at why people sometimes make irrational decisions and what the consequences of those decisions are.
Why does this matter? Because we spend our time making decisions, some are small while others are life changing. Sometimes we take days or even months making a decision and sometimes we decide in the blink of an eye, without even realising it. Decisions govern our lives and yet we rarely think about how we make them.
Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed
This is probably my favourite read of 2015. We’ve all heard that failure is good, but let’s face it, no one likes to be a loser. Black Box thinking is finally a book that changes your mind on the subject. It doesn’t just tell you that failure is ok, but convinces you that you need to fail (and document said failure) in order to truly succeed one day. That people who made it, didn’t do so because they were smarter or luckier; they did because they were ready to fail, failed more and had the discipline to learn from their mistakes and improve. Easier said than done, but Black Box Thinking will help you do it. A must-read!
Think Like a Freak by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt
From the authors of Freakonomics, one of the most influential books on behavioural economics, Think like a Freak is a great read for anyone who wants to start solving problems rather than just talking about them. This book promises to retrain your brain, and if you apply some of the things they say, it will do just that. And to top it all up, this is a really fun read that will cover topics like competitive hot-dog-eating and why e-mail scammers always come from Nigeria. It even tells you why you should quit more often.
Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Should I stay or should I go, Should I say Yes or No? Decisive helps you answer these questions and more. Written by two brothers, both university professors with renown; Decisive can be divided in two parts. First, what are the main reasons why we make mistakes; secondly, how do we avoid making these mistakes. You also learn why creatives should always work on more than one idea, why it’s important to have an outside view on things and why base rates are more important than predictions. This won’t help you with deciding between having Chinese or Indian, but it will definitely help you be better equipped with making life decisions.
Also consider David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell and Quiet by Susan Cain