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Article: 10 Books that Have Helped Me Feel More In Control of My Life


Humans are very bad at being wrong, which makes sense: it feels great to be right. So we generally default to assuming we know what we’re talking about. But years of playing professional poker taught Annie Duke that, in a game of cards, assuming you’re right is a sure path to losing all of your money. She learned quickly to be more open-minded, to question what she thought, and to accept that, ultimately, luck and risk would play a role in any decision she made at the table. She’d go on to win $4 million. In Thinking in Bets, she channels those lessons in an effort to help readers fix a fundamental problem with human cognition: “our inability to change minds, to not be open-minded, to believe you’re right, and to not listen to dissenting voices.” Self-righteousness might feel good, and admitting you’re wrong might feel bad—but it’s only the latter that gets us closer to an accurate view of the world. Getting better at being wrong won’t just help you acquire more knowledge; it’ll also help you be less defensive (you’re not so worried about proving your point) and more compassionate (you’re less dismissive of beliefs that discredit your own), and get you accustomed to the reality that, in poker as in life, uncertainty always plays a role. So if you’re looking for a challenge to complete in isolation, how about this: learn to be critical not just of others’ thoughts, but of your own, too.

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