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19 Articles To Help You Make Better Decisions

As I launch Lean Decisions, I thought it’d be useful to list existing articles that can help you improve your decisions.

Below is a collection of 19 articles with techniques and insights that can help you optimize your decisions today. I hope you enjoy them and get as much value out of them as I have.

Over the next couple months, I’ll be writing about these techniques and insights, as well as others, in bite-size chunks to help you get better at making successful decisions. If you want these updates, enter your e-mail below and press “Get Updates!”.

If any articles spark your interest, check out the author’s web site, Twitter or Facebook page by clicking on the links next to the author’s name. And if you have a flash of insight or interesting tidbit you’d like to share, enter it in the comment box at the end of this post.

And now, onto the articles…

The Basics

Get a quick overview of the basic terms of decision-making, why a good decision can have a bad outcome and why you should be decisive.

A Lexicon of Decision Making
by Tom Spradlin
An excellent overview of key concepts in decision-making. If you read any article here, read this one.
Good Decisions. Bad Outcomes.
by Dan Ariely    [web | twitter | facebook]
Separating the outcome from the decision itself is a critical skill for improving your decisions. Includes 4 ways to better reward managers making decisions.
Decide Already
by Corbett Barr    [web | twitter | facebook]
Why you should be decisive and there are no perfect decisions.

The Biology of Decisions

Research has been uncovering the secrets of why we make good and bad decisions, and how we can hack our biology to improve our decisions.

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?
by John Tierney    [web | twitter]
Learn what decision fatigue is and how you can combat it by eating to raise your glucose levels.
10 Ways to Defeat Decision Fatigue
by J.D. Meier    [web]
10 techniques you can use to reduce or eliminate decision fatigue.
Mind over Mind? Decision Fatigue Saps Willpower — if We Let It
by Maia Szalavitz    [web | twitter]
Other research indicates decision fatigue may not affect those who believe in an unlimited reserve of willpower.
The cheesy secret behind successful decision making
by Jeremy Laurance    [web | twitter]
How high serotonin levels can make your decisions more rational, and why eating cheese may help.
Have a Tough Decision to Make? Science Says: ‘Sleep On It!’
by Alex Knapp    [web | twitter]
Sleep may increase your performance in making decisions (which makes intuitive sense), though more research is needed.
Gut Decisions May Not Be Smart
by Deirdre van Dyk    [web | twitter]
Though use sleep to recharge, not as a way of making an unconscious decision. Research indicates deliberate decisions still outperform gut decisions.

Useful Decision Techniques

A slew of techniques exist for helping you make faster and better decisions. Check out these simple and advanced techniques to guide you when making a decision.

Waiting game
by Frank Partnoy    [web | twitter | facebook]
Delay can plan a critical role in making more successful decisions. Find out how tennis players make decisions can relate to your personal and business decisions.
Insist on the coin flip
by Seth Godin    [web | twitter | facebook]
Flip a coin when you have no information to make a deliberate decision or when all options are equal.
Geek to Live: Four ways to make a big decision
by Gina Trapani    [web | twitter]
Overview of 4 techniques for making decisions including using a weighted pro-con list, grid analysis and expected value analysis.
Three Simple Decision Making Tools
by Paul Williams    [web | twitter]
A walk-through of three variations of a pro-con list you can use to make choice decisions with two options.
How to Make a Difficult Decision: 30 Ideas to Help You Choose
by Lori Deschene    [web | twitter | facebook]
30 pieces of advice on how to make difficult decisions from the readers of Tiny Buddha.
Daniel Kahneman on improving the decision making process
by Tom Spencer    [web]
Tips for improving group decision-making, such as doing a pre-mortem and using hidden ballots to avoid anchoring during discussions.

Pitfalls To Watch Out For

Too often we focus on trying to make a good decision. Yet if all you do is work to avoid bad decisions, you’ll automatically improve the outcomes of all of your decisions. Watch out for the pitfalls in these articles.

Intuition Isn’t Just about Trusting your Gut
by Modesto A. Maidique    [web]
Examples of how gut-based decisions have the best outcomes for introspective decision-makers who are experts in the area the decision is being made in.
Most Effects Are Smaller Than We Think
by Alex Lickerman    [web | twitter | facebook]
Learn the difference between absolute and relative risk, a critical skill for making risk-based decisions, especially medical decisions.
The Future of Decision Making: Less Intuition, More Evidence
by Andrew McAfee    [web | twitter | facebook]
Why intuition may not be the best way to make a decision and when statistics give better outcomes.
Rationalization in Decision Making
by Meghan Holohan    [twitter]
Why we don’t always choose our favorite option because we need to be able to rationalize our choice. Based on the research of Vadim Cherepanov, Timothy Feddersen, and Alvaro Sandroni

What other articles do you recommend?


  1. Thanks so much for including the tool provided by Idea Sandbox! You’ve got a terrific collection of experts! It is an honor to be considered one of them!


    Paul Williams
    Idea Sandbox

    • No problem. I liked how you illustrated each variation of a pro/con list. It made it clear to understand and easy for beginners.

      BTW, love the design of If you post any other decision articles there, let me know.

  2. Hmmm. Good list! Thanks!


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