Why this book?
I never realized it, but purchasing a house is a bet. Sales negotiations and contracts are bets. Job and relocation decisions are bets. This fascinating book claims that even ordering the chicken and not steak is a bet. Yes, everything is a bet. Thinking in Bets helps us re-examine our view of the world, and enhance all facets of decision-making in our lives.
The author says that we are overly biased in our decision-making. We con ourselves into accepting our beliefs, whether or not they're even worthy of our trust. Worse, our biases invariably hamper our decision-making. And gosh, we're so quick to develop beliefs, we gravitate towards absolutes ('this is wrong, that is right'), and fall prey to “motivated reasoning,” searching for confirmation while all but ignoring contradictory evidence.
I didn't know that believing is so easy – we are hardwired to believe. Our beliefs then impact how we regard the world, our actions, and our plans for the future. What's more, we are reticent to update our beliefs, particularly when changes would conflict with our 'self-narrative.' Our decision-making, it turns out, is only as valid as the accuracy of our beliefs, which are biased and usually wrong. Our beliefs are based on our past experiences and inputs, so going forward it's prudent to be purposeful, as that will help guide our 'future selves.'
When a likely event doesn't occur, the situation could represent bad luck and not necessarily a bad choice. This insight alone helps us move away from right-wrong thinking, and more towards a probabilistic way of assessing outcomes, just like betting in poker. My biggest takeaway? Judge decisions on how they were concocted and not how they turned out. You sometimes can score with a bad decision and fail to score with a good decision. Long-term, the decision-making process is what counts.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
A Wall Street Journal bestseller, now in paperback. Poker champion turned decision strategist Annie Duke teaches you how to get comfortable with uncertainty and make better decisions.
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's always information 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%…