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Publisher's Summary

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 handing 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. 

Includes a bonus PDF of charts and graphs.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying bonus PDF will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Annie Duke (P)2018 Penguin Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great insights on improving decision making

Found out about this book via Michael Mauboussin discussing it on twitter - a highly credible source on decision making material - and the book did not disappoint.

'Think like a bettor. Think less about whether we are confident or not and more about how confident we are.'

Few key concepts that I think this book nailed:

Importance of accurate outcome analysis rather than 'resulting' and drawing too tight of a relationship between outcome quality and decision quality in a very uncertain world in which almost everything is a result of a combination of both luck and skill.

Biases she explains greatly - motivated reasoning, hindsight bias, self serving bias, internal conflicts of interest, knowing outcome when analyzing decision, temporal discounting + more.

Making decisions via explicit bets - thinking through wanna bet lens to better recognize there is always a level of uncertainty. Leads to tempering our statements as we stop to quantify the level of risk in our statements/beliefs which ultimately leads us closer to the truth.

Short term vs long term thinking - overestimating impact of momentary events on our happiness leads to irrational and emotional thinking which can degrade the quality of our bets and increase chance of bad outcome. Love the insight on the importance of this concept as she touches on temporal discounting, emotional decision making, and importance of accessing our past and future selves to put in the moment events in better perspective.

-Marcus



13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Want to bet you will enjoy this book.

Would you listen to Thinking in Bets again? Why?

Yes, because I want to hear the many ideas and suggestions by Ms. Duke I missed the first time.

What did you like best about this story?

Ms. Duke takes complex areas of behavior science, decision making processes, and the pursuit of truth and couples those principles of sciences to the methods used by a professional poker player.

What about Annie Duke’s performance did you like?

Calm, upbeat, friendly narration.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I immediately locked into the theme of the book because of my experience as a professional and an amateur card player.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Great book!

Great analogies! Will be re-listening to this in the future. Money is a great motivation for assessing risk!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Love it!

I m so glad Annie Duke so decided to be the narrator. Love every bits of it. Now I do hope to have a workbook which I can step by step in ironing out my thinking flaws and patterns.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Very interesting read

Annie has a very interesting perspective on how to make decisions. I enjoyed her insight. It is a good book. What to bet on it?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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wonderful book

I really enjoyed this book. it offers a practical view on decision process and summarize multiple bias everybody has.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very basic, wide survey, well composed and told

This is a walk-through of big ideas in decisions-under-uncertainty. It is low-math, but about as useful as one can get without equations. It is top-level as an absolute entry-level walk-through. It touches very shallowly on game theory, probability, and behavioral economics. It is composed almost across the board of others' ideas and quotes, but it is a nice plain-English synthesis. It is easy to acquire some sensible ideas here. Anyone who has been rooting through this stuff knows it all already, but I am enjoying it as a light refresher. The author narrates it. She has a fresh, youthful, non-professional voice, with no gravitas whatsoever. It was a bit distracting but I got used to it. I came to appreciate her sparkle and verve. I find myself enjoying myself, as I did with, say, Taleb's Fooled by Randomness. As with popular math books, it is easy for an author to promise a lot of easy understanding but to get plodding and dense and unlistenable in a hurry. This author did not fall into that trap. But those looking for serious analytical math-tools may aim for a more advanced level.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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would have been 5 stars but too much poker

in short, the book is fantastic and definitely worth the read. I was a little put off by the massive number of Poker references and quite frankly, almost called it quits after the first few chapters. If you power through all of that stuff, it gets particularly good towards the end. In fact, the two last chapters are by far the very best.

I realize the author was a professional poker player but she Begins the book stating that it is not about poker. you will question the statement as you go through the first few chapters.

I've read a lot of books similar to this and I have to say that this one has thus far had the greatest impact on my day-to-day decision-making by a long shot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great way to adjust your thinking

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The book is easiest the best personal development book I've read in the last year. It gave me great new insights on how to view the world and frame situations differently.

Not many books have done that - I confess I tend to have my biases confirmed in most of my books. This one changed the way I viewed the world

Who was your favorite character and why?

I won't go character here, but I'll go with the reference - and it's the WKRP in Cincinnati Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway

Which character – as performed by Annie Duke – was your favorite?

I'll go with herself. Her experiences were very informative.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"Poker > Chess"

Any additional comments?

Great introduction into probabilities in places where you don't think of probabilities.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Decision Making Taken to the Next Level

Would you listen to Thinking in Bets again? Why?

Yes, I expect to take eve more away from this book and audible down the line when I have had the opportunity to apply her principles. Learning a new way to think of something we all deal with each day needs some time to sink in.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Thinking in Bets?

Throughout the book Annie refers to the Pete Carroll decision and from a rational perspective you can entirely understand how he made a great call that simply wen a bad way.

Which scene was your favorite?

The thought of dissecting a situation for the potential bad outcome before the event has occurred made so much sense but was something new to me.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was extremely impressed that a poker player writing their first book could put together something so complicated in a way that the average person could consume it was amazing. And to do the narration and kick butt at that too, is very impressive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-16-18

Actionable advice between some awkward padding

Thinking in Bets contains a multitude of actionable advice with which to make real changes to the ways we think about decisions and future planning. It makes very clear the benefits to be gained from acknowledging the way your mind works, through a comprehensive review of several concepts within the fields of behavioural psychology and decision economics. By simply taking the view of life as a game of poker, decisions can be made in more robust, rational, and healthy ways. Between the many useful pointers however there were a few areas where the same points were repeated or longer was spent on a particular topic than perhaps was necessary for concision. This detracted slightly from an otherwise very useful book. Recommended for those looking for useful ways to restructure the way we think about decisions

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ShopMyStyle
  • 04-24-18

Great insight

loved it...going listen again and recommend...good for any strategy or people who want better outcomes

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-07-18

Excellent

Excellent book with a ground breaking thought process, already using it for my day trading.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-03-18

Simply stated meaningful guidance

Whilst much of the advice in this book looks obvious with hindsight bias, the level of self knowledge needed to get the most out of this excellent book will tell you that it isn’t.

Thinking in bets is a great way to narrow the uncertainty window we know we can never elongate in a dynamic world.

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  • mr p
  • 04-02-18

Surprisingly boring

I'm really unsure of the purpose of this book other than fulfilling the authors legacy of writing a book. It wouldn't be fair to say it lacks substance, because it did have substance that was often backed up by facts and research. But it did black something; if anything, it failed to be entertaining in the slightest.

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  • Chris Cox
  • 03-15-18

Absolutely dire, avoid at all costs.

I downloaded Thinking in Bets expecting to listen to an interesting take on decision making in the personal and professional world from the perspective of a high stakes poker player. If you’re thinking the same let me save you seven hours and an Audible credit.

Uncertainty is a thing.
Sometimes things work out.
Sometimes things don’t work out.

Complete and utter bilge. Avoid at all costs.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful