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“Resulting” — How We Think Good Decisions Were Bad and Vice Versa.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | February 14, 2018

No. 1,417

When our team wins, how often do we admit it was luck?  Almost never.

But we are guilty of thinking that a decision is good or bad, depending upon the outcome.  That phenomenon is called resulting.

Professional Poker Player Annie Duke has developed a social science approach to decision-making.  She points out that high probability events sometimes don’t happen and sometimes low probability events do.  If the odds of success are 80 – 20, we must expect that the 20% probability might happen in a single trial.  Does that mean that we should decide to do it again?  Probably not.

One example she uses — if you get home safely after driving drunk, does not indicate that it is safe to drive drunk.  While none of us actually believes this if we think it over, a person who has driven drunk without consequences may decide that it worked before.  And of course,eventually the real odds catch up.

Duke says that in order to make better decisions, we must not rely upon a single trial.  Or, as Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

THINKING IN BETS: MAKING SMARTER DECISIONS WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE ALL THE FACTS, by Annie Duke.  Portfolio Penguin, New York, 2018.

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CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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