Weeks 21 and 22: Thinking in Bets 🎰



It’s time to read…
Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke

This is the forth book we’ve read that was recommended by Derek Sivers founder of CD baby. So, I thought I’d share his site, which has a page dedicated to his favourite books.


Around 1/3 of the book and I suddenly want to learn Poker…


Aand done!

I think I liked it, but after chapter 2 I stopped taking notes and just read the whole thing first. I plan to revisit it in the coming days and take some notes and see how I can apply this at work.

I must say by the end it still wasn’t very clear to me how exactly I can “think in bets”. It seems the entire gist of the book is “the world isn’t black and white, acknowledge it, then deal with it”. So our task now is, to not evaluate decisions based on a black and white world view, but to envision all possible futures and bet on the most probable one.

It reminded me a lot of Ray Dalio’s Principles and all of Taleb’s books. Annie Duke would probably make a great options trader.

And I must say, the book is incredibly repetitive. In most chapters the basic idea is laid out bare in the first few paragraphs and then the entire rest of the chapter is just repeating and rephrasing that idea.

Lot’s of cool references in this book for further reading.


Loved the references as well! And you’re right it looks a lot like Taleb. After all: poker and trading are both gambling.


To be very honest, I found the book very repetitive (and therefore quite boring for me). I almost left the book just around the halfway-mark! I’d rate it the lowest among the ones I’ve read so far. It could have been a shorter read, with the main points being:

  1. When someone challenges us to bet on a belief, signaling their confidence that our belief is inaccurate in some way, ideally it triggers us to vet the belief, taking an inventory of the evidence that informed us.
  2. It’s great to get approval from people we respect, but we crave approval so badly, we’ll still work to get it from a stranger.
  3. Knowing how something turned out creates a conflict of interest that expresses itself as resulting. A bad result does not mean a bad decision.
  4. Our problem is that we’re ticker watchers of our own lives. Happiness (however we individually define it) is not best measured by looking at the ticker, zooming in and magnifying moment-by-moment or day-by-day movements. We would be better off thinking about our happiness as a long-term stock holding.
  5. Life, like poker, is one long game, and there are going to be a lot of losses, even after making the best possible bets.


Agree it could’ve been shorter, but that’s something we can say about many books. For me, it was still very good: at the same time informative, inspirational, and entertaining.


I just started reading “The Culture Code” and it has very similar topics. That whole “having a group of truth-seekers to gather brutally honest feedback” kind of thing. If anyone here enjoyed this one, I can highly recommend “The Culture Code”, I think it is much bettet than “Thinking in Bets”.


Out of curiosity: have you tried participating in such a group?


Yes I just came back from a three-day retreat with the upper management of my company (three people) and “thruth-seeking” and relentless brutally honest feedback was on the menu basically every day. Was one of the best weekends I had in a very long time, super inspiring.