The cover of Thinking in Bets

Thinking in Bets

Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts

by Annie Duke

I bought this book in a stupor after finishing another. That’s the best and worst part about the Kindle: I end up buying a book when I’ve just finished another, purely out of despair and loss aversion.

I didn’t think this book would be good, even after reading the first few chapters. Annie Duke is an academic-turned-poker-champion; she’s won a few big tournaments, but now makes her living on the speaking circuit. I’m pretty skeptical of anyone who makes a living telling people what they think, so I was mostly reading it out of a desire to not waste 10 bucks.

I was pleasantly surprised by the core material of the book. It boils down to this: the quality of your decisions and the quality of the results of your choices are not perfectly correlated. You can make a great decision that turns out poorly, or a poor decision that turns out favorably. Learning the difference between poor decisions and poor outcomes is the key to improving your decision making skills.

This core is well-supported by lots of allusions to sports and betting, which I found entertaining enough to carry my attention. If you can get this one on sale, used, or from a library, it’s worth it. Otherwise, no real mind-blowing wisdom here.