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.
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.
Five key ideas:
- 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.
- 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.
- No wishful thinking. Are you personally invested in something being true? You’ll overestimate how likely it is. Adjust your forecasts accordingly.
- 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.
- 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!