December 30, 2018

Mental models

Thinking in bets

The point is: how was the decision made with the information at hand?

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I’m reading a great book, Thinking in Bets, by Annie Duke (highly recommend if you have not read it). One of the main points is to separate the process of making a decision from the outcome. I can expand if you have not read…

One example she uses is the last play in SB 49 by the Seahawks against the Patriots (the goal line interception). The outcome was horrible, but the decisionwas not flawed, if you look objectively at the data. Despite the underlying data informing this play call, virtually every pundit refers to this play as some variation of “the worst call in the history of Super Bowls.” There were countless other (much more probable) outcomes that would have made Pete Carroll (Seahawks coach) look like a genius instead of a goat, despite the fact that his decision-making process would have been the same.

This interview from 3 years ago is a great example of why this type of thinking is necessary.

It’s not the point that invading Iraq, at least in the way we did, was a bad outcome. The point is: how was the decision made with the information at hand? That is the only way we can decide if our government was competent.

– Peter

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