The Four Best Books on Decision Theory

Lennox Johnson Books

This page contains a list of the four best books on decision theory. It’s important to note that there is no single best book on decision theory. The best one for you will depend on the amount of time and energy you’d like to spend learning about it.

It’s also worth noting that it is not a list of personal recommendations. Personal book recommendations tend to be highly subjective, idiosyncratic, and unreliable. This list is part of a collection of over 100 philosophy reading lists which aim to provide a central resource for philosophy book recommendations. These lists were created by searching through hundreds of university course syllabi, internet encyclopedia bibliographies, and community recommendations. Links to the syllabi and other sources used to create this list are at the end of the post. Following these links will help you quickly find a broader range of options if the listed books do not fit what you are looking for.

Here are the best books on decision theory in no particular order.

Making Better Decisions: Decision Theory in Practice – Itzhak Gilboa

Category: Short Introduction | Length: 232 pages | Published: 2010 Making Better Decisions: Decision Theory in Practice Book Cover

Publisher description: Making Better Decisions introduces readers to some of the principal aspects of decision theory, and examines how these might lead us to make better decisions.

  • Introduces readers to key aspects of decision theory and examines how they might help us make better decisions
  • Presentation of material encourages readers to imagine a situation and make a decision or a judgment
  • Offers a broad coverage of the subject including major insights from several sub-disciplines: microeconomic theory, decision theory, game theory, social choice, statistics, psychology, and philosophy
  • Explains these insights informally in a language that has minimal mathematical notation or jargon, even when describing and interpreting mathematical theorems
  • Critically assesses the theory presented within the text, as well as some of its critiques
  • Includes a web resource for teachers and students

Choices: An Introduction to Decision Theory – Michael D. Resnik

Category: Short Introduction | Length: 221 pages | Published: 1987 Choices: An Introduction to Decision Theory Book Cover

Publisher description: Provides a broad yet rigorous introduction to the fundamentals of decision theory (the collection of mathematical, logical, and philosophical theories of decision making by rational individuals) that pays particular attention to matters of philosophical and logical interest.

An Introduction to Decision Theory – Martin Peterson

Category: General Introduction | Length: 348 pages | Published: 2017 (2e) An Introduction to Decision Theory Book Cover

Publisher description: Now revised and updated, this introduction to decision theory is both accessible and comprehensive, covering topics including decision making under ignorance and risk, the foundations of utility theory, the debate over subjective and objective probability, Bayesianism, causal decision theory, game theory, and social choice theory. No mathematical skills are assumed, with all concepts and results explained in non-technical and intuitive as well as more formal ways. There are now over 140 exercises with solutions, along with a glossary of key terms and concepts. This second edition includes a new chapter on risk aversion as well as updated discussions of numerous central ideas, including Newcomb’s problem, prisoner’s dilemmas, and Arrow’s impossibility theorem. The book will appeal particularly to philosophy students but also to readers in a range of disciplines, from computer science and psychology to economics and political science.

Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making – Derek J. Koehler & Nigel Harvey

Category: Comprehensive Textbook | Length: 684 pages | Published: 2007 Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making Book Cover

Publisher description: The Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making is as tate-of-the art overview of current topics and research in the study of how people make evaluations, draw inferences, and make decisions under conditions of uncertainty and conflict.

  • Contains contributions by experts from various disciplines that reflect current trends and controversies on judgment and decision making.
  • Provides a glimpse at the many approaches that have been taken in the study of judgment and decision making and portrays the major findings in the field.
  • Presents examinations of the broader roles of social, emotional, and cultural influences on decision making.
  • Explores applications of judgment and decision making research to important problems in a variety of professional contexts, including finance, accounting, medicine, public policy, and the law.

The following sources were used to build this list:

University Course Syllabi:

Bibliographies:

Other Recommendations:

Additional Resources

You might also be interested in the following reading lists:

Or browse this collection of over 100 philosophy reading lists to find more philosophy book recommendations.


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