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6 unexpected decision-making books

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” - Walt Disney

Wisdom per page (WPP) is a pretty good measure of any book, but let's face it many people are turned off by decision-making books that you find in the business section. It's too boring and theoretical. Well the good news is that sometimes decision-making is more specific to practical decisions in your life e.g. health, relationships and financial decisions. Here are some high WPP books that I have read and recommend for helping day to day life. Happy reading!

1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I was 'encouraged' to read this book by the good lady of the house. This is a very clear and effective decision-making strategy if you are looking to declutter your home. It involves keeping only the things that bring you joy, and discarding the rest before making sure all your joyous possessions are stored well. This book was Zen in feel and it certainly is an excellent holiday read.

2. Outlive - the science and art of longevity by Dr. Peter Attia

For many people their health is one of their key decision-making subjects. I think this is great book for people interested in long-term health. Peter describes medicine as having gone through two phases and is entering the third. The first phase was non-science based remedies as typified by leeches and bloodletting. The second phase was about treating disease and through COVID we saw how powerfully science and industry worked together to provide COVID vaccines. The third phase is about living a longer healthspan i.e. being healthy and mobile for a large portion of your life. Outlive helps you try and think about methods to avoid the common diseases of heart disease, alzheimers, cancer and type 2 diabetes. This book isn't going to help you with your washboard abs, but it will help you put together a health strategy and make the big health decisions.

3. The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

This is an excellent book because it addresses the emotional element of investing which I think is under-covered. A couple of the topics I enjoyed was the difference between risk and luck, the difference between riches and wealth and the aspiration of being able to control your time rather than to be able to buy everything you want. An important topic it also covers is how your personal history influences your risk tolerance and therefore the way you approach investment decisions. This will help you frame your personal investment strategy.

4. The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond

The topic I am researching most these days is learning. It is truly amazing how important sleep and rest is in being an effective learner. It's important elsewhere too. Whether it is athletes or writers trying to reach new heights or people recovering from mental or physical health challenges rest is essential (of course paired with the activities you need rest from). This book is an unapologetic look at how people rest and how they are mindful about rest when they are resting. Whilst this might all sound self-indulgent, rest is an essential part of productivity e.g. interval training allows people to have short bursts of intensity knowing they will have low/zero intensity shortly afterwards. Rest is also an underrated part of creativity when your brain can start making its own connections to things. Examples of rest are walks, hot baths and reading. Scrolling on your phone, however, which is a modern day affliction is not on the list and is often neither work, nor play nor rest. Read this book to help you make good rest decisions.

5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Sometimes obvious things still need to be spelt out to people. A younger me definitely needed this book (and many will rightly argue I probably still need it!). It is timeless classic that is important in all your relationships. I think relationship building and nurturing is one of the most important life skills. Some of the lessons that stick out are i) give honest and sincere appreciation, ii) be genuinely interested in other people, iii) be friendly as a default state, iv) listen to others and encourage other people to share their opinions with you, v) try and move away from a mindset of 'I'm right and you are wrong'. Read this book to help you with respect to relationship decisions.

6. "The Art of Life Admin" by Elizabeth Emens

Admin never gets a fair mention given just how much time we spend on it (bills, organising, planning, household chores). It was also clear how the household management seems to on average to be handled more by women than men. This book was an eye-opener in terms of thinking about the admin associated with a discount or a gift. Here is an example: let's say you get someone an experience like a race car day, if that person has a lot of spare time it's great, but if that person does not, they now need to call the company, find an appropriate session (often these will be a long time away), take the day off work, work out where to go and how to redeem their voucher etc. It's a lovely idea, but a huge administrative burden for the recipient. Whilst convenience should not be overly factored in, it is worth considering. Of the four admin personalities in the book (Super Doer, reluctant doer, the admin avoider and the admin denier), I am working my way towards the admin avoider as I know need to do it, but just cant quite get myself to enjoy it. Read this book to help manage admin decisions.

So there we are, books for health, relationships, investing, tidying, admin and resting! I hope you enjoy them as a summer reading list.

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