Support The Podcasts

Think Bigger Think Better is a 100% user-funded podcast that brings together the most inspirational and important thinkers of our time, such as Steven Pinker, having the conversations that matter most, on topics such as fake news, populism, climate change, and blockchain. Your generous support through Patreon helps fund the production of these podcasts and entitles you to monthly Live Ask-Me-Anything dialogs with NewYork Times best-selling authors.

Making decisions in VUCA times – lessons from top poker pro Annie Duke

Paul Gibbons and Annie Duke on VUCA

Interested in decision-making in VUCA times?

Join the Think Bigger Think Better Podcast
Subscribe

Get the latest provocations in science philosphy and business from Paul.

We respect your email privacy

Listen to our podcast on decision-making, self-analysis, risk, and how to extract lessons from our victories and defeats!


How is poker relevant to decision-making in business and life, and to thinking better?   Why is a former poker professional in great demand as a consultant to investment banks, hedge funds, and venture capital funds?  In one line: poker is about decisions that are probabilistic and made with imperfect information. This is what life and business strategy are about – making good decisions in VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) environment.

To make those decisions, you need to understand risk.  But humans don’t – cognitive biases mean our risk assessments are flawed, and we simply aren’t properly educated to understand a probabilistic world.  See the following article excerpted from my book, The Science of Organizational Change.

The trap we fall into is focusing on results.  Because, in poker, business, and life,  you can make the best decision, but volatility can upend the results.  And focusing on results, we attribute good results to our infinite wisdom and judgment (called the self-serving bias), and bad results to luck (whereas good results may be the result of simply good fortune.)

My guest this week is Annie Duke. Annie started life as an academic, but moved to Montana to start a family and started making money in smoke-filled poker rooms. Soon she got good… really good! For two decades, Annie was one of the top poker players in the world. In 2004, she bested a field of 234 players to win her first World Series of Poker bracelet.

Now she combines her academic career in cognitive science with her prowess as a poker player and is in great demand by hedge funds and venture capitalists to consult and speak on decision making under uncertainty. On top of that, her passion for making a difference has helped raise millions for charitable causes.

Join us on this episode to hear Annie elaborate on her book Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts. The book, surprisingly, features very little poker but is all about risk, analysis, results, decision-making, politics, and leadership.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why life is more like a game of poker than a game of chess.
  • The mistakes most people make when assessing risk.
  • How business people can learn from the way poker players learn.
  • The disconnect between our decisions and our outcomes.
  • Why results-based analysis alone doesn’t help make decisions that yield results.
  • Where game theory affects your life.
  • How to avoid falling into a biased self-serving personal analysis.

I’m raffling off books every week for people who leave the podcast a review on iTunes. Let me know the title of your review to be entered to win by emailing me at paul@paulgibbons.net

Featured on the Show:

Enjoy The Show?

4 Shares

2 thoughts on “Making decisions in VUCA times – lessons from top poker pro Annie Duke

    1. Why thank you! I know Snowden and he is pretty awesome. Used a lot of giggy’s work in Science of Org Change. Good ideas!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect With Paul

Join Paul's newsletter for the latest provocations on philosophy in business.

Sign Up

Get the latest provocations in science philosphy and business from Paul.

We respect your email privacy

Close

Connect with Paul

On Twitter

On Youtube

On Facebook

RSS

Contact

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website

Download Media Kit

View Media Kit