In the current climate of uncertainty, mainlining Twitter while trying to forecast impossible economic (and health) scenarios is not going to lift you from the morass of anxiety. Nor is it particularly useful. In fact, it’s a constant reinforcement of “negativity bias,” the hardwiring of our brains to seek out information that scares us. Bibliotherapy, however, uses reading to facilitate psychological healing, a growing field of research that actually dates back more than a century.
Whether you’re contemplating how to save your startup, raise money during a financial crisis, or what your “Covid-19 war room” should look like, this collection of books will shift how you think about and tackle uncertainty head-on.
In 2004, Annie Duke won the World Series of Poker and raked in some $4 million before retiring to become a business consultant. High-stakes card players have to accept a level of uncertainty because you can never totally know when to hold or fold ’em. In Thinking in Bets, Duke shares tools to help shift away from a goal of certainty to a more accurate assessment of the variables of knowns and unknowns for better decision-making. One tip from the book: Before executing any plan, undertake a “premortem,” that is, imagine what failure will look like, then work backward to understand how to avoid it.