Making Decisions: Putting the Human Back in the Machine: Unabridged edition

By Ed Smith, Read by David Thorpe

Winning takes many forms. For fans of Matthew Syed, this is a great sports book about leadership, judgement and decision-making – rooted in the theory that helped Ed Smith lead England cricket to sustained success. And to help us all win more.

‘An absolutely fascinating book’ THE GAME, The Times football pod

  • How do you spot the opportunities that others miss?
  • How do you turn a team’s performance around?
  • How do you make good decisions amid a tidal wave of information? And how can you improve?

As chief selector for the England cricket team, Ed Smith pioneered new methods for building successful teams and watched his decisions tested in real time on the pitch. During his three-year tenure, England averaged 7 wins in every 10 completed matches, better than they have performed before or since.

Making Decisions reveals Smith’s unique approach to finding success in a fast-changing and increasingly data-reliant world. The best decisions, Smith argues, rely on a combination of differing kinds of intelligence: from algorithms to intuition. This is a truth that the most successful people know: data cannot account for everything, it must be harnessed with human insight. Whatever the power of data, humans aren’t finished yet.

Sharing for the first time the tools he introduced as England selector, Smith’s book captures the immediacy of life at the sharp end, while also exploring frameworks from the top levels of sports, business and the arts. Decision-making is revealed as a creative enterprise, not a reductive system.

Making Decisions offers an invaluable guide for those who want a better framework for developing, explaining and implementing new ideas.

Format: Audio-Book
Release Date: 15 Sep 2022
Pages: None
ISBN: 978-0-00-853017-4
Detailed Edition: Unabridged edition
Ed Smith is renowned thinker on the history and culture of sport and leadership.He is Co-Founder and Director of the Institute of Sports Humanities.He has written four books, including What Sport Tells Us About Life (Penguin, 2008).He played cricket for Kent, Middlesex and England and was Chief Selector for England cricket from 2018 to 2021, a period of unprecedented success for England’s men’s teams.Ed is a Contributing Writer for the New Statesman.


”'Sincere and often self-reflective… offers genuine searing insight, making points you feel have never been made before. A learned and engaging study of decision-making.” - New Statesmen

”'A WONDERFUL book” - Stumbling and Mumbling Economics blog

”'An excellent read… based on his years as England’s chief cricket selector, but drawing on much broader thinking on decision-making” - Simon Kuper

”'A masterful combination of analysis and personal experience of decision-making at the highest level. Full of insights, wisdom and highly entertaining” - Mervyn King

”'In this fascinating and highly readable book, Ed Smith explores how the human and the machine can work together” - Matt Ridley


‘There's hardly a sentence here that isn't clear, thought-provoking and beautifully expressed. Sport bores me rigid. Inspirational books repel me. But Smith on sport, life and luck brings fresh ways of looking at things on every page and, despite myself, I read on’Matthew Parris -

‘Smith is a beguiling and skilful writer: good-humoured, anecdotal, discursive and often fascinating. You'll probably read his book in an evening but think about it for weeks, even years, afterwards’New Statesman -

‘Book of the week … Elegant and absorbing … Smith is excellent at exploring nuances … The writing on sport is superb … Smith moves beyond sport with great effect’The Times -

‘Funny and honest … like one of Smith's well-crafted innings in his playing career, it leaves you wanting more’Sunday Times -

‘Blends personal experience, sporting insight and a broad knowledge of history with the journalist's talent for storytelling to fashion an original and thought-provoking book … not only refreshing but uplifting’Spectator -

An exceptional book: lucid, thought-provoking, informative and fair. Outstanding’The Times -