SDP Fellows weigh in on their favorite books
12/16/2016 10:26 AM
Posted by: SDP
SDP Fellows weigh in on favorite books
Survey responses on favorite books
In 2014, we surveyed the SDP membership for their favorite
books; those responses form the basis for the publications listing in the SDP
We decided it was time for another book survey - this time a
questionnaire to SDP Fellows with the following three questions:
1) favorite book to
give to someone just learning about DA
2) favorite book to give a prospective
"client" or decision-maker
3) best book for your own use
We will summarize the responses in three blog posts, starting
here with an overview of all responses and some detail from responses to the first question.
First, the Fellows don’t always answer the question you ask
of them! Many responded that the questions were a bit vague (agreed) and "it
depends”, so they offered more nuance.
Twenty-six different books got at least one mention, with the
following books showing up the most across all of the questions.
Choices - Hammond, Keeney, Raiffa
- Why Can’t
You Just Give Me the Number – Leach
of Decision Analysis – Parnell, Bresnick, Tani, Johnson
Fast and Slow – Kahneman
of Decision Analysis – Howard, Abbas
Quality – Spetzler, Winter, Meyer
Hard Decisions – Clemen, Reilly
Analysis for the Professional – Celona, McNamee
Approximately ten of the books mentioned were books not even
suggested in our 2014 survey, and highly deserving of inclusion in
a list of best DA books – so we’ll add all of those to the list on the site.
Favorite book to give
to someone just learning DA:
There was no clear consensus here, with many books receiving
votes. The two with the most were Smart
Choices (Hammond et al) and Decision
Analysis for the Professional (Celona and McNamee). Several of the Fellows
provided more nuanced responses depending on the audience. Some examples:
Pat Leach – "Usually Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational.
If they’re more advanced, then Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, but it
can be a bit much if you’re not already into it. Ariely’s book is better for
newbies in my opinion.”
Karen Jenni – "Some version of MUA -- depending on the
person, it would be Smart Choices (Hammond, Keeney, and Raiffa), or Value
Focused Thinking (Keeney)”
And our favorite and nicely detailed advice from Bob Clemen...
"To answer the first two
questions, well, I don’t think I can give a single book. Multiple reasons:
- Do I think he/she
would be interested in the deeper stuff, in which case I might suggest books
like Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow vs Russo & Schoemaker, Decision
Traps. Or Howard & Abbas, Foundations vs Hammond, Keeney, & Raiffa,
- How comfortable is
he/she with quantitative material? More comfortable: Clemen, Making Hard
Decisions or Kirkwood, Strategic Decision Making. Less so: maybe Smart Choices
to get them off the ground.
- Interested more in:
- Descriptive decision
making versus DA? Maybe Scott Plous, Psychology of Judgment & DM, Russo
& Schoemaker, Decision Traps, or for a more entertaining read (and more up
to date in some ways) Ariely, Predictably Irrational.
Definitely Raiffa, Art and Science. If less comfortable with quant, then Fisher
& Ury, Getting to Yes.
- Soft versus hard
skills? Parnell et al, Handbook or Skinner, Introduction to DA.
view rather than nitty-gritty tools? Maybe Matheson & Matheson, Smart
multiple objectives? Keeney, Value-Focused Thinking.”
Now that’s an answer!
We’ll cover favorite
book to give a prospective "client" or decision-maker in our next