Magazine article Talent Development

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

Magazine article Talent Development

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

Article excerpt

By Annie Duke

Portfolio, 288 pp., $15.54

Wanna bet?" Many people respond with that phrase when they think someone else is wrong. Reading Thinking in Bets brings new meaning and insight to that question.

While this book's title initially drew me in, it revealed so much more than expected. Duke, a world-renowned former professional poker champion who is now a strategy consultant, provides a multifaceted read that uses a variety of stories to reinforce her points.

For example, she opens with a re-examination (or perhaps deconstruction) of Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll's so-called "worst decision in NFL history" during Super Bowl XLIX. After Duke's analysis, readers may wonder if Carroll's controversial goal-line pass wasn't one of the best calls in the National Football League's history. Here, she drives home the main idea of her book: We should judge our decisions not on results but on probabilities. Good results don't necessarily mean good decisions were made. And bad results don't necessarily mean bad decisions were made.

"Thinking in bets starts with recognizing that there are exactly two things that determine how our lives turn out: the quality of our decisions and luck. Learning to recognize the difference between the two is what thinking in bets is all about," Duke explains. The underlying premise is that we can all learn to make better decisions--even in environments of uncertainty. Applying Duke's suggested strategies can help us improve the odds in these situations and alleviate the pressure "to be right every time. …

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