I am Perfectly Confident that this is a book that will influence my future decisions. Don A. Moore has done the enviable job of writing an instant classic, a highly readable book that should set him up well as a thought leader.
Having read this work, though, it makes me wonder whether having read it might convince someone - though surely not me, ho ho - that they are now making wiser decisions than they were before, without actually doing anything differently.
I have reason to question my own judgment after the way this year has gone. I made a series of errors in planning around this pandemic, the worst of which was the stupendously bad risk that ended in my nearly dying of COVID-19. While it can be hard to tell whether something was risky when the outcome is good, it’s easy to tell when the results are terrible. I’d really like to get better at avoiding more bad outcomes, especially since we’re all now facing the kinds of risk that can kill.
“What are you wrong about right now?” This is one of the questions that arose in Perfectly Confident that stopped me in my tracks. There is probably something I’m wrong about at all times. My brother might tell you that it’s my belief in his dog Penny’s ability to speak the word ‘hello’ - but then that’s a zero-sum argument and if I’m not wrong, then he is. I’m willing to be wrong about certain things, like whether a friend will repay a loan or whether a recipe is worth trying. But what am I seriously wrong about, in terms of blind spots and strategy and errors in judgment?
I started keeping a page in my day planner called ‘Decisions.’ In it I write down pending decisions that we haven’t acted on yet (usually things that include my husband, since I don’t tend to get stuck often on purely personal decisions). When the decision is made, I write down what it was and a brief rationale of why. It has been pretty interesting to be able to scan that list over the course of a year. Writing down your decisions and your estimate of how they are likely to turn out is a very intriguing exercise recommended by Moore. I’m going to take him up on it and start estimating my outcomes as well.
Perfectly Confident is a wonderful and compelling read. It’s short enough that it could be shared with a reading buddy, and if you’re married, I definitely advise having a conversation about it with your partner. It’s also an excellent choice for work teams. I liked this book so much that I will read anything Don Moore writes, and I’m perfectly confident that will be just as fun and informative.
Is it wise to believe that you, blessed among the many, will beat the odds and get lucky?
Document your reasoning for making a decision, based on its expected value.
...self-fulfilling expectations of your success are not overconfident. They are accurate and they are wise.
Ask yourself why you might be wrong.
Please do savor the anticipation of a bright future. ...We live in a time of outrageous plenty.