This book was a really good read and I highly recommend it. Annie Duke goes into the principles of Truthseeking; suggesting to view your confidence in your beliefs as separate from your identity and viewing them instead as percentages that you place your confidence in. For example, my belief in a certain show I was watching being a good show was at 50 percent. After watching the latest season, it has dropped down to 35 percent and I will no longer watch the show. Using percentages removes the idea of all-or-nothing thinking where the belief is either 100 percent or zero percent with no in-between, potentially causing you to stick to a bad belief when it could be harmful to you.
She encourages readers to Think in Bets for the sake of Truthseeking in order to more efficiently reach our goals in life. She generally uses poker metaphors, but the lessons are indeed useful and fascinating. Think of your decision-making on future possibilities as bets for your future with the different choices that you make as alternative bets for alternative futures. The key to making the best bets is to be as objective, impartial, and honest with ourselves regardless of how painful it’ll be for us. Moreover, it’s best to avoid outcome-focus / Hindsight bias. A psychological bias in all humans where we perceive an event as inevitable after it has happened. It’s a way of making a personal narrative in our minds of our own story and it is a powerful psychological bias that can often cause us to make costly mistakes or confuse our luck with our skill.
One of the most interesting and surprising bits of information was learning that study after study shows that motivated reasoning and confirmation bias effect intelligent people more than average people. In fact, the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be afflicted with a biased outlook because you can process information and reasons for your conclusions from a greater array of fallacious reasoning. This might sound puzzling, but essentially, when a person is emotional and wants to believe something to be true, they’ll find better excuses for it. Intelligent people’s excuses happen to be better so this is particularly impactful the smarter an individual is. They could find more reasons that sound plausible, but they wouldn’t necessarily be objective and impartial. If the focus isn’t on objectivity, then it can become self-damaging.
Mrs. Duke recommends forming a team among your friends who are also interested in Truthseeking. The key is not to complain or to speak about bad luck, but rather to focus on what you can do to learn from your decision-making. Which bets on your future are good? Which are bad? Be honest about your shortcomings and your strengths; do not bias your story to make yourself look better when analyzing your decision-making with friends. When they point out your shortcomings, don’t get angry. The point is learning from our mistakes in order to improve. Friends who are brutally honest will have less rose-tinted glasses than we ourselves do about our own decision-making and vice-versa.
Believe it or not, this is all just the tip of the iceberg. I highly recommend this book. It’s very good; I couldn’t give it a perfect score because the latter-half tends to drag on with different anecdotes. However, some of the most interesting concepts are also developed and expanded in the latter-half too.
Definitely check this book out, if you’re even slightly interested.