Annie Duke – Improving Decision Making (EP.39)

Annie Duke – Improving Decision Making (EP.39)

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Annie Duke is a renown public speaker and decision strategist. For two decades, she was one of the top poker players in the world, including winning a World Series of Poker bracelet and the $2 million winner-take-all WSOP Tournament of Champions. Her study of the science of smart decision-making began with a National Science Foundation Fellowship, which she used study Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.  Among her charity work and television appearances, Annie was a runner-up to Joan Rivers on Celebrity Apprentice, during which she raised $700,000 for Refugees International. She is a natural teacher and storyteller with an active mind that constantly searches for accurate truth.

I highly recommend Annie’s new book, Thinking in Bets, which comes out this week. In her life after poker, she is a featured speaker, writes a newsletter and a blog, and advises companies on improving their decision-making process. Have a look at her website,, for more information.

Our conversation discusses Annie’s path from an Ivy League education to professional poker, the nature of a bet, how we form beliefs, why we make bad decisions, and what we can do to improve our decision-making process. Towards the end, we also talk about bankroll management, poker faces, and advice she would give the President on how to make better decisions.

Show Notes

2:30 – Annie’s path through the poker world

6:05 – Her transition into teaching and the lesson of tilt

11:57 – How do you apply the concepts of betting and gambling broadly to decision making

13:35 – What is it about the science of the brain that prevents us from making good decisions

14:17 – Stumbling on Happiness

14:19 – Dan Gilbert Ted Talk

15:44 – Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind

18:50 – Motivated reasoning

21:10 – Is there anything we can do to fix our decision-making biases (wanna bet)

28:05 – Other devices to improve our decision-making

32:29 – Value of a decision group

33:16 – Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

34:00 – Mertonian Norms, CUDOS

40:27 – Mental time travel (Marty McFly from Back to the Future)

42:55 – Jerry Seinfeld – Night Guy vs Morning Guy

44:55 – Applying these tools and the parallels between poker and investing

48:59 – Reading poker faces

49:21 – Joe Navarro books

49:34 – Joe Navarro Psychology Today

52:50 – What advice would Annie give President Trump in terms of improving his decision-making process

53:52 – Favorite sports moment

55:45 – What teaching from Annie’s parents has most stayed with her

56:08 – What information does Annie read that a lot of people might not know about that is valuable

56:18 – The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

56:19 – Why Evolution Is True

56:58 – What life lesson does Annie wish she knew earlier in life

58:28 – Looking ahead, what advice would Annie give herself today from a ripe old age

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We currently have enough time before the event to potentially proceed as planned.

We are monitoring the news and will make changes as necessary.

Join us for our inaugural live event

Podcasts with Michael Mauboussin, Morgan Housel, André Perold, James Clear, and Annie Duke

June 18th, 2020 in NYC

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