Behavioral Scientist: Editors’ Picks for 2018: Captivating Behavioral Science Pieces

Thinking in Bets
By Annie Duke
Penguin Random House

How often do you berate yourself for making the wrong choice? I did it just this weekend, mentally kicking myself myself for choosing the slowest checkout lane at Acme. I should have known! What’s worse is that this decision regret often sneaks into my decision-making, freezing me as I preemptively rue imagined mistakes. But, mid-eyeroll in the checkout line, I remembered an insight from Annie Duke’s book Thinking in Bets: just because our choice didn’t “win” doesn’t mean we chose wrong. Sometimes we can lose even if the odds are stacked in our favor; that’s how probability works. Duke’s book, an engaging window in the world of poker (an excerpt of which we published), stuck with me this year and helped me let myself off the hook for living in a stochastic world: No, I couldn’t have known.

-Cameron French, Editor