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Thinking in Bets

Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts
Narrated by: Annie Duke
Length: 6 hrs and 50 mins
Categories: Business, Leadership
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,114 ratings)

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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 PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Annie Duke (P)2018 Penguin Audio

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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



31 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Wasn't For Me

3 hours and it's nothing new if you're familiar with behavioral economics. For a more interesting listen I'd recommend Charles Duhigg's "Smarter Faster Better" which briefly touches on Annie Duke's story while driving home many of the key points of probabilistic thinking better.

54 of 58 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.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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AHHHG this book is so crazy good.

It's narrated by the author who knows what she's talking about, doesn't pull punches, backs up her positions and does it all concisely with excellent examples and detailed discussions about how to analyze potential decisions. It should be required reading for anyone who ever has to decide anything.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Great book for people looking to challenge the way they think

If you like to convince yourself you're right most of the time, you need this book... And you won't like it.

Great book looking at the ways we delude ourselves into bad decisions, and shows ways you can get better at that. Some good stories and anecdotes, and thoughtful discussion of ways to teach yourself how to make better decisions.

Tied in very well with another book I'm reading on behavioral economics.

Would have liked a few more concrete examples tied into the discussion, but I really enjoyed and thought was valuable. You should read it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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The functional version of Thinking Fast And Slow

Easily digestible. Immediately applicable. Information was not sacrificed for brevity. Not too long like Kahneman’s book.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Sahil
  • Northern Virginia, USA
  • 08-04-18

Some food for thought not heard elsewhere

I liked the emphasis on the uncertainty of decision-making (bad outcomes from some good decisions) and the avoidance of resulting (judging decisions as good simply based on the outcome). Also was fun to hear about a poker player's perspective even though I don't play.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Required reading for all traders

Of all the books I have read, this book has made the most impact on my trading results. It takes a concept presented by Mark Douglas in Trading in the Zone and crystallizes it. For everyone who seeks certainty in trading and investing, this is a must read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jay
  • bridgeport, WV, United States
  • 02-20-18

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?

3 of 3 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.

3 of 3 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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • tarek
  • 09-30-19

Good ideas, ok execution

Good lessons and Annie Duke is a likable person in her writing and reading. However the book is a bit dumbed down to reach a broader audience . The book tries to cover important statistical topics in the shallowest way possible. It also gets repetitive in examples and concepts.

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  • Peter Lawless
  • 09-24-19

I bet you'll enjoy this..

..even though I don't have all the facts, if you do purchase this book, one of 2 outcomes, I believe if you listen to it, you will really enjoy it.

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  • Jason
  • 09-06-19

Surprising insights into the world of decision making

I really enjoyed this book, after it being recommend by a trader friend - it certainly helped me put some of previous business ‘failures’ into perspective, and to realise that the outcome is not always the result of poor decision making...

Highly recommended to anyone in business, or interested in trading in any of the markets

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  • David
  • 06-20-19

Will Read Again

A great way to view decision making, with some great original thinking and positioning. Will read it again!

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  • James
  • 02-25-19

One of my stand out books!

A truly excellent book, supubly produced. Of you only finish 1 book on decicion making... make it this one!

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  • Demetri
  • 02-06-19

Enjoyable and very practical

A fantastic guide to decision making and life in general. Extremely practical advice on how to deal with our in built cognitive biases and reduce the impact of these biases on our lives

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-20-19

thoughtful concepts but dragged on a little

definitely made me think critically about the way I make decisions. Although the core concepts probably could have been summarised into half the length

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  • AmyQuinton
  • 05-06-19

Thoroughly enjoyed this book

This book read by the author is both entertaining and thought provoking. I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in making more objective, better quality decisions in a world of uncertainty.

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  • Thomas Brotherton
  • 02-20-19

Deeper than the title suggests

Cohesively, parts of the book don't run together as well as they should, however the overall content, insights and methodologies are clear and practical. Challenging perspective but easy to understand, there is a depth to the overall narrative of thinking in bets that is quite clear and the author provides some great ways to think about decision theory with a lens of probability.
Annie delivers the performance well.
Can recommend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-01-19

Extraordinary!!

This is one of the best books I've consumed in years.

He ideas are enlightening and challenging.

Annie has an engaging style and has filed this book with relatable anecdotes and quality research.

Highly recommended.

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  • Tenma13
  • 11-22-18

Very light content from disgraced pro

Very surface level understanding of the top. Great bluff, much like her Pro status. A more interesting book, and one she'd be very capable of writing, 'Fake it, until you make it' how I stole millions. Search Ultimate Bet and EPL.

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  • Bradley Meredith
  • 10-07-18

Great Thinking Book

I thought this book was fantastic! I've been grappling with some of the concepts in this book for some time but this really help me to solidify my thinking.