There are only two things that determine how your life turns out: luck and the quality of your decisions – Annie Duke 

What do you do when you’re faced with a big decision?

If you’re like most people, you might take out a piece of paper and make a pro-con list: two columns, one side lists the arguments in favor (pros) of making a particular decision or action. The other (cons) are listed arguments against it. As simple as that is, many don’t even do that. And, if you’re like me, you might over-analyze with spreadsheets and spend too much time searching for that extra data point that might make you sure. But I still second guess myself.

Enter Annie Duke.

Annie is an expert on decision fitness and is the author of two books on decision making, the bestseller Thinking In Bets, and her latest How To Decide, Simple Tools For Making Better Choices, is the topic of the show.

Prior to the books, Annie used high stakes poker as her decision lab and became one of the world’s top poker players, winning her first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in 2004. That same year, she won the Tournament of Champions and 2010, the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Before her professional poker life, Annie was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship to study Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

This is the second time I’ve had Annie as a guest (See Ep. 22) and the topic of this episode follows from the first except here we shift from highlighting causes of bad decisions to discussing more of the process for making better ones. We move to the more practical as she outlines the tools and heuristics we can use to make quality decisions and second-guess yourself less.

Here are just some of our talking points.

  • A review of “resulting” and why it’s a problem
  • Motivated reasoning
  • Memory creep
  • What’s wrong with pro-con lists – and what’s better
  • Assigning probability and forecasting
  • The tree of possibility
  • The decision multiverse
  • The three-column decision map
  • Why we should embrace educated guesses
  • Factors leading up to election cycles and how predictions might be wrong yet correctly made before
  • and much more

Being a better decision-maker means being a better predictor of the set of possible futures. This podcast will hopefully help you sharpen your decision skills, getting you closer to having a crystal ball.


[Note Annie’s audio is less than optimal so listen closely, it’s a gold mine of advice you can use right away.]

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