Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

by Annie Duke

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Overview

Poker champion turned business consultant Annie Duke teaches you how to get comfortable with uncertainty and make better decisions as a result.

In Super Bowl XLIX, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made one of the most controversial calls in football history: With 26 seconds remaining, and trailing by four at the Patriots' one-yard line, he called for a pass instead of a hand off to his star running back. The pass was intercepted and the Seahawks lost. Critics called it the dumbest play in history. But was the call really that bad? Or did Carroll actually make a great move that was ruined by bad luck?

Even the best decision doesn't yield the best outcome every time. There's always an element of luck that you can't control, and there is always information that is hidden from view. So the key to long-term success (and avoiding worrying yourself to death) is to think in bets: How sure am I? What are the possible ways things could turn out? What decision has the highest odds of success? Did I land in the unlucky 10% on the strategy that works 90% of the time? Or is my success attributable to dumb luck rather than great decision making?

Annie Duke, a former World Series of Poker champion turned business consultant, draws on examples from business, sports, politics, and (of course) poker to share tools anyone can use to embrace uncertainty and make better decisions. For most people, it's difficult to say "I'm not sure" in a world that values and, even, rewards the appearance of certainty. But professional poker players are comfortable with the fact that great decisions don't always lead to great outcomes and bad decisions don't always lead to bad outcomes.

By shifting your thinking from a need for certainty to a goal of accurately assessing what you know and what you don't, you'll be less vulnerable to reactive emotions, knee-jerk biases, and destructive habits in your decision making. You'll become more confident, calm, compassionate and successful in the long run.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735216358
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/06/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 74,986
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Annie Duke is a World Series of Poker bracelet winner, the winner of the 2004 Tournament of Champions and the only woman to win the NBC National Poker Heads Up Championship. Now, as a professional speaker and decision strategist, she merges her poker expertise with her cognitive psychology graduate work at UPenn. She is a founder of How I Decide, a non-profit that creates curricula and tools to improve decision making and critical thinking skills for under-served middle schoolers.

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Excerpted from "Thinking in Bets"
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Copyright © 2018 Annie Duke.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Why This Isn't a Poker Book 1

Chapter 1 Life Is Poker, Not Chess 5

Pete Carroll and the Monday Morning Quarterbacks 5

The hazards of resulting 8

Quick or dead: our brains weren't built for rationality 11

Two-minute warning 16

Dr. Strangelove 18

Poker vs. chess 20

A lethal battle of wits 23

"I'm not sure": using uncertainty to our advantage 26

Redefining wrong 30

Chapter 2 Wanna Bet? 37

Thirty days in Des Moines 37

We've all been to Des Moines 41

All decisions are bets 44

Most bets are bets against ourselves 45

Our bets are only as good as our beliefs 47

Hearing is believing 49

"They saw a game" 56

The stubbornness of beliefs 59

Being smart makes it worse 62

Wanna bet? 64

Redefining confidence 67

Chapter 3 Bet to Learn: Fielding the Unfolding Future 75

Nick the Greek, and other lessons from the Crystal Lounge 75

Outcomes are feedback 78

Luck vs. skill: fielding outcomes 82

Working backward is hard: the SnackWell's Phenomenon 85

"If it weren't for luck, I'd win every one" 89

All-or-nothing thinking rears its head again 94

People watching 96

Other people's outcomes reflect on us 102

Reshaping habit 105

"Wanna bet?" redux 111

The hard way 114

Chapter 4 The Buddy System 119

"Maybe you're the problem, do you think?" 119

The red pill or the blue pill? 122

Not all groups are created equal 127

The group rewards focus on accuracy 132

"One Hundred White Castles … and a large chocolate shake": how accountability improves decision-making 135

The group ideally exposes us to a diversity of viewpoints 137

Federal judges: drift happens 141

Social psychologists: confirmatory drift and Heterodox Academy 146

Wanna bet (on science)? 149

Chapter 5 Dissent to Win 153

CUDOS to a magician 153

Mertonian communism: more is more 155

Universalism: don't shoot the message 160

Disinterestedness: we all have a conflict of interest, and it's contagious 164

Organized skepticism: real skeptics make arguments and friends 169

Communicating with the world beyond our group 172

Chapter 6 Adventures in Mental lime Travel 177

Let Marty McFly run into Marty McFly 177

Night Jerry 180

Moving regret in front of our decisions 186

A flat tire, the ticker, and a zoom lens 190

"Yeah, but what have you done for me lately?" 194

Tilt 197

Ulysses contracts: time traveling to precommit 200

Decision swear jar 204

Reconnaissance: mapping the future 208

Scenario planning in practice 213

Backcasting: working backward from a positive future 218

Premortems: working backward from a negative future 221

Dendrology and hindsight bias (or, Give the chainsaw a rest) 227

Acknowledgments 233

Notes 241

Selected Bibliography and Recommendations for Further Reading 253

Index 267

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Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is very rare that I do not finish a book. This was one of them. Seemed to ramble and tell stories that may or may not be related to topic. I'm not sure there was a point to the book. Save yourself the money and time and pass on this one.