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16 Classes I Realized From Annie Duke


Staff member
Mar 22, 2024
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I realized loads about choice making below uncertainty from Annie Duke’s new ebook, Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts.

Annie first mastered choice making within the subject of poker. She received a World Sequence of Poker gold bracelet, the World Sequence of Poker Event of Champions, and the NBC Nationwide Heads-Up Championship, and earned greater than $4 million in match winnings.

decision making under uncertainty

It seems, her method to creating choices on the poker desk interprets into making choices in enterprise and life. In poker, you don’t know what playing cards your opponents are holding and you’ll’t predict how they are going to act or what playing cards will draw subsequent. Equally, in most features of life, you don’t have all the knowledge it is advisable to decide and it’s unimaginable to foretell the longer term with excellent accuracy.

That’s what Annie’s ebook is all about: Estimating the likelihood of various futures and making choices, or “bets”, accordingly.

Determination making below uncertainty is crucial as a result of, as Annie says within the introduction of her ebook, “there are precisely two issues that decide how our lives end up: the standard of our choices and luck.”

Listed below are 16 classes I realized on bettering choice making below uncertainty.

1. The connection between choice high quality and final result is free​

The result of each choice you make supplies suggestions in your choice making course of. Nevertheless, when you’re making choices below uncertainty – corresponding to enjoying poker or beginning a enterprise – you inherently have restricted data to work with, and there are a variety of potential outcomes, every with totally different possibilities.

Due to this fact, “successful and dropping are solely free alerts of choice high quality,” Annie says.

You may make the precise choice given the knowledge you’ve gotten and nonetheless not obtain the specified outcome. And you can also make a poor choice and get fortunate.

2. Choices are bets​

It’s unimaginable to foretell the longer term. It’s vital to acknowledge that there’s a point of uncertainty in nearly each choice we make.

Treating choices as bets, I found, helped me keep away from frequent choice traps, study from leads to a extra rational approach, and maintain feelings out of the method as a lot as doable.”

3. “Our bets are solely pretty much as good as our beliefs”​

We make choices based mostly on the knowledge that we have now and the beliefs that we develop on account of that data. Due to this fact, it’s crucial that we work to enhance our beliefs if we wish to make higher choices.

A part of the ability in life comes from studying to be a greater perception calibrator, utilizing expertise and data to extra objectively replace our beliefs to extra precisely signify the world. The extra correct our beliefs, the higher the foundations of the bets we make.”

4. Our beliefs aren’t at all times correct​

“That is how we expect we kind summary beliefs: (1) We hear one thing; (2) We give it some thought and vet it, figuring out whether or not it’s true or false; solely after that (3) We kind our perception.

It seems, although, that we truly kind summary beliefs this manner: (1) We hear one thing; (2) We imagine it to be true; (3) Solely generally, later, if we have now the time or the inclination, we give it some thought and vet it, figuring out whether or not it’s, in truth, true or false.”

“As a substitute of altering our beliefs to suit into new data, we do the other, altering our interpretation of the knowledge to suit our beliefs.”

These inaccurate pondering patterns occur due to various cognitive biases that Annie touches on within the ebook.

5. Our brains aren’t nice at deciphering actuality​

These cognitive biases have profit from an evolutionary perspective.

Our brains have built-in conflicts of curiosity, deciphering the world round us to substantiate our beliefs, to keep away from having to confess ignorance or error, to take credit score for good outcomes following our choices, to seek out causes for unhealthy outcomes following our choices have been on account of elements exterior of our management, to match properly with our friends, and to stay in a world the place the way in which issues end up make sense.”

6. Considering in bets can enhance your choice making​

Annie describes the optimistic behaviors that outcome from pondering when it comes to bets (possibilities):

We will get higher at separating final result high quality from choice high quality, uncover the ability of claiming, ‘I’m undecided,’ study methods to map out the longer term, change into much less reactive decision-makers, construct and maintain pods of fellow truth-seekers to enhance our choice course of, and recruit our previous and future selves to make fewer emotional choices.”

Considering in bets offers you pores and skin within the sport motivates you to consider all doable outcomes. It forces you to ask questions corresponding to “Why would possibly my perception not be true?”, “What different proof is perhaps on the market bearing on my perception?”, and “What are the explanations another person may have a special perception, what’s their help, and why would possibly they be proper as a substitute of me?”

In the end, “Considering in bets embodies skepticism by encouraging us to look at what we do and don’t know and what our degree of confidence is in our beliefs and predictions,” Annie writes.

making decisions

7. We nearly by no means have all of the information we’d like​

“The choices we make in our lives – in enterprise, saving and spending, well being and life-style selections, elevating our youngsters, and relationships – simply match [John] von Neumann’s definition of ‘actual video games.’ They contain uncertainty, threat, and occasional deception, outstanding parts in poker.”

We’re going to do higher, and be happier, if we begin by recognizing that we’ll by no means make certain of the longer term. That modifications our process from making an attempt to be proper each time, an unimaginable job, to navigating our approach via the uncertainty by calibrating our beliefs to maneuver in the direction of, little by little, a extra correct and goal presentation of the world.”

8. Use uncertainty to your benefit​

“I’m undecided” and “I don’t know” are sometimes statements of truth, and may, subsequently, assist with choice making below uncertainty.

An important choice is the results of an excellent course of, and that course of should embrace an try to precisely signify our personal state of data.”

It’s okay if that data is proscribed. “Now we have to make peace with not figuring out,” Annie writes. It’s step one to studying.

9. Measure your confidence​

“We might be higher served as communicators and decision-makers if we thought much less about whether or not we’re assured in our beliefs and extra about how assured we’re. As a substitute of pondering of confidence as all-or-nothing (‘I’m assured’ or ‘I’m not assured’), our expression of our confidence would then seize all of the shades of gray in between.”

“Incorporating percentages or ranges of options into the expression of our beliefs implies that our private narrative not hinges on whether or not we have been unsuitable or proper however on how properly we incorporate new data to regulate the estimate of how correct our beliefs are.”

10. Wager on the likelihood of various futures​

“Enhancing choice high quality is about rising our probabilities of good outcomes, not guaranteeing them,” Annie writes.

She recommends fascinated about all doable outcomes, estimating the likelihood of every final result, and having a bet (choice) accordingly.

11. Don’t equate the standard of a call with the standard of its final result​

You may have management over the standard of your choices. You don’t have full management over the outcomes of your choices.

For instance, a soccer coach can go for it on fourth down as a substitute of punting, fail to attain the primary down, and nonetheless have made the proper choice. There are a number of potential outcomes of going for it on fourth down (first down, interception, landing, and so forth.). Every a type of outcomes has a likelihood of being realized. The choice to go for it on fourth down could have been an excellent choice, even when it fails to attain the specified outcome.

Ensuing, assuming that our decision-making is sweet or unhealthy based mostly on a small set of outcomes, is a fairly affordable technique for studying in chess. However not in poker – or life.”

12. Don’t succumb to hindsight bias​

In line with Annie, “Hindsight bias is the tendency, after an final result is understood, to see the end result as having been inevitable.”

In case you have a very tight connection between outcomes and choices, you would possibly succumb to this bias. In actuality, you may solely make an estimate about what is going to occur sooner or later – you may’t know with certainty.

13. Get suggestions and replace your beliefs​

“Studying happens if you get a lot of suggestions tied carefully in time to choices and actions.”

Annie recommends constructing a group or mastermind group to investigate choices you’ve gotten made or must make.

14. Analyze choices earlier than the end result is understood​

As mentioned above, outcomes should not an excellent sign of choice high quality. That’s why Annie recommends analyzing the standard of a call earlier than figuring out the end result.

Her poker mastermind group mentioned the choice making strategy of a hand however typically by no means shared the end result of the hand. It doesn’t matter should you win or lose the hand. The choice making course of is extra vital.

15. Time journey​

We are likely to favor our present-self on the expense of our future-self. For instance, your present-self is happier should you push the snooze button in your alarm clock within the morning. Nevertheless, your future-self will likely be happier should you get off the bed earlier to work in your aspect enterprise.

“Bringing our future-self into the choice will get us began fascinated about the longer term penalties of these in-the-moment choices,” Annie says. Take into consideration how your future-self will really feel 2 years from now should you hit the snooze button.

16. Work backwards from the end result​

“Imagining a profitable future and backcasting from there’s a helpful time-travel train for figuring out obligatory steps for reaching our objectives.”

Imagining success can assist you see all of the issues that it is advisable to go proper on your choice to work out. Imagining failure can be useful. It forces you to consider potential causes of failure after which discover methods to resolve for them.

These have been my most impactful takeaways, however Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts is full of good methods for choice making below uncertainty, a crucial however generally missed ability. I extremely advocate shopping for the ebook and studying the entire thing.
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