Ask me anything, share what’s on your mind. Let’s start a spooky discussion about decision making (or anything else!)
A few things to share:
1. I've been a college professor for nearly 30 years and my single most important role has been to teach critical thinking skills. Substance is important, for sure, but the skills to think (and communicate) analytically by collecting, evaluating, synthesizing, reconstructing, and reflecting on information is so important for individuals and for democracy. I'm so glad to see your work on decision making for young people.
2. My next life as a coach is integrally related to my training and practice in teaching critical thinking. My focus is on young adults, no surprise, and I hope I can make a difference.
3. When I decided to make a change from my previous job -- which was making me very unhappy -- I picked up Quit. Your book supported my decision to leave a toxic environment and continues to positively affect my life in so many ways. Thank you!!!!
Hi Annie! Thanks for doing this. I loved your interview with Peter Attia. I am also a physician and started a health tech company where our product is a smart band for the Apple Watch that allows people to track their personal sun exposure. I have been funding this myself, and feel very strongly about helping people in a preventive manner. 80% of health and beauty changes are attributed to sun over exposure, and I feel like technology can help people in a very significant way. Right now, we’re in a position where I would benefit from some market validation that this product will actually be wanted by consumers to get additional investors. . I have practiced dermatology for 23 years and my patients are very interested, but the investors don’t count that towards market validation, and we are pre-revenue. I know it would be helpful to have this product in the world, but I’m not sure about how to prove it. I would love your thoughts on how to decide whether to go forward with something you know can benefit a lot of people but don’t have the proof investors want. Thank you.
1)What are the best decisions that a person can make?Limiting the number of decisions to five?
2)What are some factors that are common when people make bad decisions or even stupid decisions(Like rushing to make the decision when it it not an emergency)
3)What is the best way a person who barely knows anything about decision making can learn decision making and also get better at decision making in real life?
4)What are the best resources(both free and paid) for helping to make better decisions?
5)How can we get better at making split second decisions/decisions under a short period of time and pressure.
6)What were the best decisions you made in your life(if you feel comfrotable sharing them)
7)Who do you think are some great decision makers ?
8)Who is the best decision maker you know ?
9)Who is the best decision maker in the world (living or dead) ?
Would you give us a primer on the difference between a decision and a judgment?
Thx Annie for a generous platform today... 1 idea; how does one frame acting in our own best interests into a reasonable probability description? Generically , if it possible to state it that way. Would one emphasize the lesser or even negative outcomes ( avoid pain ) or instead focus on the reward aspects. can either of those be put into mathematical terms? Thx !!!
What are good resources for teaching decision education to children of various ages in a homeschool setting?
Hi Annie. I believe part of your PhD thesis was based on knowledge transfer. I saw this research that outlined the challenges and possible methods. Curious to your views.
“ Robert Haskell’s Transfer of Learning. When Detterman began teaching…
I thought it was important to make things as hard as possible for students so they would discover the principles for themselves. I thought the discovery of principles was a fundamental skill that students needed to learn and transfer to new situations. Now I view education, even graduate education, as the learning of information. I try to make it as easy for students as possible. Where before I was ambiguous about what a good paper was, I now provide examples of the best papers from past classes. Before, I expected students to infer the general conclusion from specific examples. Now I provide the general conclusion and support it with specific examples. In general, I subscribe to the principle that you should teach people exactly what you want them to learn in a situation as close as possible to the one in which the learning will be applied. I don’t count on transfer and I don’t try to promote it except by explicitly pointing out where taught skills may be applied.”
I love your work, insight and information -- thank you so much for putting this out there so we can all benefit personally and socially. Who is your hero?
Thanks for this Q&A Annie! I've really enjoyed reading the community's questions and your replies.
I'd like to ask about your perspective on the decision-making process as an actor within various roles - professional vs. personal life. As an Employee, Parent, Academic, Activist, or Leader.
How do you work through decisions within the different roles and responsibilities of your life?
Two models for decisons : 1) Science = facts > calculations >- logic = answer certainty - surety. 2) Rest of the world = interpretation > assessments > judgment = opinion - uncetain - confidence (to varying degrees). So many leap to apply science (mistakenly) to the rest of the world rather than master the process of thinking?
With the prevalence of phrases like: “I hate that, or I hate them, or I hate it” ... is it possible people have completely misinterpreted a term like “critical thinking?” Laughs. And do you think the term confirmation bias is now over-used and/or often misused?
Haha. That’s pretty scary. Anyways. Fun stuff. Thanks for the post.
Thinking on long time horizons... Will AI eventually turn us into expected value machines? And will there be expected value haves and have nots that are based on limited access to data and technology? I realize the latter is probably already the case (as an example I'm thinking of what the volume of transaction data tells Visa). So I guess the question is, Will it get more extreme?
I see a gap in the decision making process that needs some attention. Say for instance that you have a decision to make and you triage it to determine if it is impactful enough to warrant a formal decision science approach. I assume that about 80% will fall into the important but not needing a formal decision. It seems to me that simply going with your gut for the rest of your less consequential choices leaves a lot on the table. For my decisions, I add some well-curated “rules of thumb “ to the decision process to help boost the chances for creating better positions. For example, no decisions when tired, angry, or under undue pressure. Sleep on it. Test the waters before you commit. If most decisions are small, making broad improvements across all of your small choices can only result in better positioning over time.
In Thinking In Bets, you spend some time talking about self-serving bias. I am familiar with this, and in particular in a business decision context. In my working life, I worked for a global Fortune 50 company, and had responsibility for a global staff. As part of my ongoing education, I took a course on international relations at Thunderbird, which opened my eyes to the existence of self-effacing bias in collectivist cultures. As I think about your book, it brings about this question: Is there some difference in approach for those who may have self-effacing, rather than self-serving bias?
Thinking in terms of gambling, I expect the success of Macau says that self-effacing bias does not make you immune to the mental traps and challenges of gambling. Is there some "style" difference (for lack of a better word) or something else you would say to an audience from a self-effacing culture when thinking about better decisions? Would a mix of people from self-serving and self-effacing cultures have an advantage, as part of a decision pod?
So a biotech company has 400 K euros cash left that will run till Feb 2024. The idea was to raise money after the next inflection point ( phase 2a supposed to be finished by now). Unfortunately, things take more time than required, there was delay in recruiting 6 patients out of 12, it means that the Phase 2a clinical trial may not even end by Feb 2024, even if it ends, all take time to get the data etc. However cash will end. what thought process should we use to make decisions - 1. I can't convince investors to raise large amount as we won't have study finished, so we can't claim success and a good inflection point 2. raise small amount of money to move forward till study completes ( may be a convertible) as equity can be expensive as investors know we miscalculated and we dont have good buffer. What would you do to make a decision that could have positive asymmetry
I have two business model options for a new online subscription product... neither of which has anything except third party research. The data is not great on either option. I've started framing our options differently just to increase our luck surface area... but I still need to pick a route. it sucks
I've been making decisions for a long time but never studied how to do it. I tried poker but gave up. I'm going to try again. My wife and I are taking our boys - 6 and 4 - trick or treating. How much autonomy - how much "helicoptering - how far do we go - how much do we check their candy / takings before letting them - how much do we give them - parenting is causing decision fatigue! Lol!
I think of scary as I don't know the odds and think they might be unfavorable or at least have a nasty tail.
are people drawn to the thrill of scary or do they avoid it? any thoughts on how people learn from scary events?
I've spent my afternoon reading through Biden's AI Executive Order. It actually looks ok, much better than what I expected with several concrete things baked into it, like compute size above which models and datacenters should be reported to the gov and the idea that models will be considered dangerous even if they are depoyed with technical guardrails which (theoretically) prevent users from utilizing their dangerous capabilities