Thinking in Bets

Thinking in Bets

Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

eBook - 2018
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"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"--
Publisher: New York :, Portfolio,, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780735216365
Characteristics: c
text file, rda

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Oct 20, 2018

The primary premise of the author is that choices (decisions) are best made from a view that each outcome has associated a set of probabilities. Decisions are then made to maximize the likelyhood of a desirable outcome. A trap is that one cannot reverse the computation of the probabilities based on a single outcome. Because successful poker players use this strategy, the author parlays this model to business decisions. There are several short comings of this analogy. 1) In contrast to poker with a limited & well-defined set of possibilities with precisely defined a priori probabilities, real life presents a much wider set of ill-defined possibilities with no good basis for probabilities. The "Black Swan" was about this. 2) No discussion was made of a posterior probability (e.g. Bayesian statistics). This is perhaps because poker is played with newly shuffled deck. 3) Although the author disparages chess as a paradigm for decision making, there is a section on envisioning the future which is indeed what good chess players do.
All in all, the author compiles a number of techniques based on a literature search to aid in decision making.

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