Getting Better by Being Wrong with Annie Duke - Deepstash
Getting Better by Being Wrong with Annie Duke

Getting Better by Being Wrong with Annie Duke

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Getting Better by Being Wrong with Annie Duke

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  • Annie uses the example of poker, but it applies to other areas as well. There are uncertain systems where outcomes and decisions are loosely linked.
  • In poker, you can have the best hand and get crushed or a poor hand and win
  • How do you separate yourself from the outcomes and sift through the noisey feedback?
  • You have to figure it out after the fact and after memory has gotten in the way

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  • how are you constructing a model of your opponent?
  • how are you figuring out what the right strategy against them is?
  • how are you picking the signal out?

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  • Decisions --> actions --> outcomes --> rewards or pain (ie positive or negative consequences)

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  • We all have some sort of model(s) of how the world works and what's true and what's not
  • That's what we're always doing - building models so we can act in it with intention

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  • You need the pain in order for it to matter to you to learn
  • but pain can get in the way of learning
  • But when you're losing, your limbic system lights up and gets in the way of learning
  • It does not feel good to lose
  • It particularly gets in the way when you're playing a game or doing something where you can attribute learning to your own decisions
  • These are decisions you've made based on your mental model of the world and attributing loss to it is perceived by you as an attack on your identity

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  • Kanheman: we're all trying to create a positive narrative of our life story
  • Identity protective cognition
  • With the pain / loss, our identity gets attacked if we attribute it to our poor decision making
  • So instead, we attribute it to luck

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  • I'm willing to take this pain that doesn't feel very good because in the long run it's going to help me learn
  • I'm going to go in, examine my decision and see where I could have improved that would have increased the likelihood of a better outcome

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  • People are willing to take a discount to preserve their self narrative
  • They attribute the poor outcomes to luck
  • Socialised the result to the world, ie it wasn't my fault, the outcome wasn't in my control
  • You don't need to update your identity in anyway - you need to update your beliefs, or made poor choices or the outcome was something you caused
  • This choice is devastating to learning

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  • I tell a "bad luck" story
  • You sympathise and then share your own
  • We both agree it was bad luck that was the cause
  • Neither one of us learns

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  • If you really lost because of bad luck, what's the point of telling a story about it
  • There's nothing you can learn from it

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  • If you're in a group of people who attribute outcomes to bad luck, you won't learn
  • Surrounding yourself with people who constantly seek to update their mental models puts you on a very different learning trajectory

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  • Even if you are aware of the biases, you're still susceptible to them
  • Smarter people who know about them are even worse because:
  1. Once they know about the bias, they're overconfident in thinking they can avoid them
  2. The better you are at slicing data, the better you are at slicing it in a way that tells a story that doesn't sound biased

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  • It's much easier to spot someone elses' bias vs your own

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  • Groups that have a confirmatory style of thought enable one another to not learn and preserve identity
  • Instead, create a group that has an exploratory style of thought
  • The goal of the group is to create a more accurate mental model of the world
  • The group agrees:
  1. there's an objective truth in the world
  2. our beliefs are in progress and under construction
  3. our goal is to help each other to construct better models of the world
  4. We may disagree with each and that's ok. We may have different values, we may have different strategies that work for us, etc. We may come to different conclusions as a result

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  • Reasoning to be right affirms your priors
  • Reasoning to be accurate helps develop a more accurate mental model of the world

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  • Getting a respected peer to think you're good, worthwhile to talk to, an equal --> that feels really good
  • The goal of each person is to make better decisions and increase the probability of better outcomes
  • Example: I won this hand of poker, but I think I played badly
  • The group reinforces learning behavior
  • Rewards in the long-term are poor motivators (ie knowing you're a better decision maker in the future isn't a strong reward).
  • The short term reward becomes gratification / approval / admiration from the group

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  • You know a conversation about the decisions you made is going to happen 
  • You want to have interesting things to ask later

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  • The idea that you're different from other people is an important feeling you get from your tribe
  • Since most people have confirmatory thinking, having a group that you identify with that values exploratory thinking helps you feel different and that you're doing something difficult
  • It makes your tribe special and you special by association 

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  • We want to focus on accuracy, not on being right
  • We want to hold each other accountable
  • We want to disagree without being disagreeable
  • No one is defensive

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  • There's 100 learning opportunities and left to your own devices, you catch 5 of them
  • The learning pod helps you catch 5 more
  • That has a huge impact on your learning

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  • Knowing you're going to be accountable to a group helps you catch mistakes in the moment or right after making them
  • Gets you to recognize mistakes in a window that you can actually do something about it

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  • When someone disagrees with us, we can often feel it as an attack on our identity
  • That can cause disagreeableness because the information being told is perceived as a threat
  • Cause you to:
  • be defensive or angry
  • be dismissive
  • discredit the other person or decide they aren't worth listening to or they have ill intent

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  • We've agreed that our beliefs are in progress and under construction
  • You are no longer certain about your beliefs
  • You have to be willing to hear the other side in order to make progress
  • Your identity becomes about acknowledging uncertainty, how good are you at listening to the other side, how good are you at analysing
  • Stops you from having that defensive reaction
  • You become agreeable in disagreement because you view the disagreement as helpful

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