We all make many decisions every single day. From little ones like what to eat for breakfast, to big ones like whether to take a new job. Given how regularly we’re deciding, we certainly have a vested interest in getting better at this skill. But how do we do so? How can we get better at making big choices, and spend less time dithering over the insignificant minutiae that often overwhelms our mental bandwidth? And why didn’t anyone teach us how to do this stuff to begin with?
My guest today has written a book that offers an education in a subject matter many of us missed out on. Her name is Annie Duke, she’s a former professional poker player and decision-making expert and strategist, and her latest book is How to Decide: Simple Tools for Making Better Choices. Today on the show, Annie shares many of those practical tools, beginning with how to overcome hindsight bias and “resulting” — our tendency to judge decisions based on their outcomes — by doing something called “knowledge tracking.” We discuss how to figure out the probabilities for things that seem difficult to predict and the importance of embracing an “archer’s mindset.” When then get into when you should make decisions slowly, when you can speed up, how to employ the “only option” test when making a choice, and why when a decision is hard, it’s actually easy.
If reading this in an email, click the title of the post to listen to the show.
- Why don’t we teach decision making to kids and students?
- What is resulting? How does it get in the way of our making better decisions?
- How to fight hindsight bias with “knowledge tracking”
- Making a decision tree that actually works
- How to assign probabilities and make predictions when you have little to no information
- Why you need an archer’s mindset — or, why hitting the bull’s eye is overrated
- How better decision making can make you more resilient against poor decisions
- Applying the “only option” test as a way to choose between choices that don’t fundamentally matter
Resources/Articles/People Mentioned in Podcast
- My first interview with Annie on how to think like a poker player
- What Poker Can Teach You About Luck, Skill, and Mastering Yourself
- The Role of Luck in Success
- Can You Learn to Be Lucky
- 5 Tools for Thriving in Uncertainty
- Meditations on the Wisdom of Action
- How to Make Better Decisions by Thinking Like a Rocket Scientist
- How to Get Better at Making Life-Changing Decisions
- Using Mental Models to Make Better Decisions
- Assault Your Assumptions Through Red-Teaming
- How to Wrestle With a Difficult Decision: Advice From Sergeant Alvin C. York
Connect With Annie
Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code “manliness” at checkout.
Read the Transcript