Allison, Graham T., and Philip Zelikow. Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Longman, 1999. This splendid book offers three models for interpreting the Cuban Missile Crisis, and these models serve as a helpful way to consider all government decisions.
Haass, Richard N. The Bureaucratic Entrepreneur: How to be Effective in any Unruly Organization. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1999. This handbook provides guidance on how to work well within bureaucracies, and in the process offers valuable insights on the intricacies of government decision making.
Halperin, Morton H., Priscilla Clapp, and Arnold Kanter. Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2006. No one has shown the distorting effects of systematic flows of partial information in a government (or any) bureaucracy better than Mort Halperin did in this book.
Heclo, Hugh. A Government of Strangers: Executive Politics in Washington. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1977. In this interesting book, Heclo considers the nature of career civil servants and political appointees and finds that their relations have a large impact on many government decisions.
Heymann, Philip B. The Politics of Public Management. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1987. In this book, I consider how political appointees chosen to head government agencies deal with the powerful political forces that surround them.
Janis, Irving L. and Leon Mann. Decision Making: A Psychological Analysis of Conflict, Choice, and Commitment. New York: Free Press, 1977. Using a psychological model that envisions a decision maker as beset by internal doubts, this interesting book relies upon scientific experiments to consider a wide array of factors in decision making.
(p.366) Kingdon, John W. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. New York: Addison-Wesley, 2003. Kingdon's work, which was first published in 1984, remains an authoritative study on how issues land on government officials’ agendas.
Moore, Mark H. Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995. Moore argues that public managers should do more to seek out creative ways to benefit the public. He illustrates his argument with numerous detailed case studies showing how public managers have tried to do this.
Neustadt, Richard E. Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents. New York: Free Press, 1990. Neustadt's book, one of the most important studies of the American presidency, explores how the President's ability to influence policy comes not from the Constitution, but from his ability to negotiate effectively with other decision makers.
Porter, Roger B. Presidential Decision Making: The Economic Policy Board. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1982. Porter, a White House veteran, uses case studies from 1970s economic policy to analyze how the President receives advice and makes decisions. The appendix is an especially readable and valuable essay.