Book Recommendations 

I'm often asked for book recomendations for behavioral experience designers who are either just getting started, growing their knowledge, or even advanced experience folks looking for the newest and most interesting information. It doesn't matter what your job is, be it a designer, marketer, entrepreneur, CEO, or salesperson - you have to understand how to motivate behavior and persuasde customers. But you can’t persuade people if you don’t understand how they think.

This list is always evolving, so if you have any suggestions please get in touch.

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Beginner Fundamentals to Intermediate

"Thinking is to human as swimming is to cats. They can do it but they prefer not to."

- Daniel Kahneman 


Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman conducts a deep dive into the biases and psychological principles that drive people’s behavior. Kahneman introduces the Dual Process Model of System 1 (fast) and System 2 (slow) thinking. Beware, this isn't an easy read but it's well worth it. 

thinking fast and slow

“Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in a world of unlimited possibilities is harder still, perhaps too hard.”

- Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice 


In this book, researcher Barry Schwartz explores how people make decisions in a world overcrowded with options. Schwartz introduces the science-backed idea that less choice can make a big impact on everyone’s behavior and happiness.

“Our understanding of human behavior can be improved by appreciating how people systematically go wrong.” - Richard H. Thaler 


The book that launched a thousand ad agency “Nudge Units”, this is a well-written and easy read that introduces the concept of “nudging” — using science to arrange the environment so that people are more likely to choose a certain option or behavior.

nudge book

Choice Hacking, by Jennifer Clinehens  

What if you could use Nobel prize-winning science to predict the choices your customers will make? Customer and user behaviors can seem irrational. Shaped by mental shortcuts and psychological biases, their actions often appear random on the surface. In Choice Hacking, we'll learn to predict these irrational behaviors and apply the science of decision-making to create unforgettable customer experiences.

Choice Hacking Cover

“All humans are motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain, to seek hope and avoid fear, and finally, to seek social acceptance and avoid rejection.” - Nir Eyal 


Author Nir Eyal explores the question, “Why do some products capture our attention, while others flop?” Eyal uncovers the patterns that make certain apps and technologies hook us. These insights form the basis of the author’s “Hook Model”, a four-step process that designers can use to build addictive products.

hooked book

“We usually think of ourselves as sitting the driver’s seat, with ultimate control over the decisions we made...but, alas, this perception has more to do with our desires...than with reality” - Dan Ariely


In this fascinating read, behavioral economist Dan Ariely outlines the ways people behave irrationally. From assuming that more expensive products are more effective to exploring the “power of free”, Ariely demonstrates how mental shortcuts, biases, and leaps in logic often win over rational thought.

predictably irrational experience book

“We usually think of ourselves as sitting the driver’s seat, with ultimate control over the decisions we made...but, alas, this perception has more to do with our desires...than with reality” - Dan Ariely


In this fascinating read, behavioral economist Dan Ariely outlines the ways people behave irrationally. From assuming that more expensive products are more effective to exploring the “power of free”, Ariely demonstrates how mental shortcuts, biases, and leaps in logic often win over rational thought.

alchemy


Intermediate to Advanced

"Philip Graves reveals the myriad tricks and psychological games high street shops play on consumers; the ways in which we are manipulated into buying things we don't want; the ways in which we deceive ourselves; and the cutting edge behavioural science being used to change our habits to even more significant degrees."

consumerology

"Convinced that there is a gulf between what we believe influences us and what actually does, [the author] set up a highly ambitious research project that employed the very latest in brain-scanning technology and called on the services of some 2000 volunteers. Buyology shares the fruits of this research, revealing for the first time what actually goes on inside our heads when we see an advertisement, hear a marketing slogan, taste two rival brands of drink, or watch a programme sponsored by a major company."

buyology

"Behavioral scientist Dr. David Halpern heads up the UK government's "Nudge Unit," the world’s first government institution that uses behavioral economics to examine and influence human behavior, to "nudge" us into making better decisions. Seemingly small and subtle solutions have led to huge improvements across tax, healthcare, pensions, employment, crime reduction, energy conservation, and economic growth. The Nudge Unit has attracted widespread media and public interest—large pieces have run in the New York Times and Economist; and it's been subject to case studies and reviews by the Harvard Business School and Goldman Sachs.

Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference

Please note: this article contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you click the link to purchase one of the items, I may receive a small amount of monetary compensation from Amazon at no additional cost to you. It doesn't influence what items I recommend, but I wanted to be transparent and make sure I disclose this relationship.