Peter Zhang

Perfectly Confident

Review

Dan Moore’s Perfectly Confident is a decision-making book that dives into the literature behind confidence. As the title suggests, Moore takes the stance that some confidence is good, but over-confidence is dangerous. In plotting out this middle ground. The book succinctly summarizes the existing literature and draws on a broad array of real world examples.

Here’s the paperback and audiobook.

Utility: ★★★★✰ (4/5)

Writing: ★★★★★ (5/5)

The writing is fantastic. It’s engaging and clear, replete with interesting case studies. The ideas overlap with a lot of existing psychological literature, but it certainly sharpened my understanding of confidence.

Notes

Five key ideas:

  1. You’re overconfident. People—from researchers to game show contestants—tend to overestimate accuracy. It has ramifications for everything from personal financial decisions to stock markets to White House policies.
  2. Correlation, not causation. While Elon Musk might confident, there are many more disappointed, once-confident entrepreneurs. Confidence and optimism don’t cause success. Instead, people with a greater capacity to be successful tend to also be confident.
  3. No wishful thinking. Are you personally invested in something being true? You’ll overestimate how likely it is. Adjust your forecasts accordingly.
  4. Quantify. Put a number to your beliefs. Forecasting events in numerical terms turns a subjective assessment into something we can assess and improve over time.
  5. Change perspective. Backcast from the future to figure out what you need to do now. Conduct pre-mortems to see how your plans can go wrong. And, invite the perspectives of those who disagree with you.

Since I needed to binge the book over a weekend, I pulled it up on Audible and listened to it whenever I was free. I quite recommend it!

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