How to Calibrate Your Decisions Wisely
An expert on the psychology of decision making at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business helps readers calibrate their confidence, arguing that some confidence is good, but overconfidence can hinder growth.
A surge of confidence can feel fantastic—offering a rush of energy, even a dazzling vision of the future. It can give us courage and bolster our determination when facing adversity. But if that self-assurance leads us to pursue impossible goals, it can waste time, money, and energy. Self-help books and motivational speakers tell us that the more confident we are, the better. But this way of thinking can lead to enormous trouble.
Decades of research demonstrates that we often have an over-inflated sense of self and are rarely as good as we believe. Perfectly Confident is the first book to bring together the best psychological and economic studies to explain exactly what confidence is, when it can be helpful, and when it can be destructive in our lives.
Confidence is an attitude that takes into account both personal feelings and the facts. Don Moore identifies the ways confidence behaves in real life and raises thought-provoking questions. How optimistic should you be about an uncertain future? What justifies your confidence in something amorphous and subjective like your attractiveness or sense of humor?
Moore reminds us that the key to success is to avoid being both over- and under-confident. In this essential guide, he shows how to become perfectly confident—how to strive for and maintain the well-calibrated, adaptive confidence that can elevate all areas of our lives.
Praise For Perfectly Confident: How to Calibrate Your Decisions Wisely…
— Library Journal (starred review)
"In his eye-opening new book, Don Moore unravels the mysteries of confidence. He shows that too much confidence produces blunders, but too little leads to missed opportunities. So, he shows us how to chart a middle path—one rooted in honest and realistic self-assessment. If you want to make smarter decisions about the future—for yourself and your organization—Perfectly Confident is an essential read."
— Daniel H. Pink, author of When and Drive
"A masterpiece. Moore is the perfect guide to perfect confidence: himself the leading scholar on the topic of but also a storyteller and advisor par excellence."
— Angela Duckworth, New York Times bestselling author of Grit
“Perfectly Confident is a brilliant book. Don Moore has spent much of his adult life studying confidence and overconfidence, and this book beautifully reveals the wisdom he has acquired, in prose that is a pleasure to read. The book is full of great examples, both from the laboratory and from real life, and every chapter contains actionable recommendations that will enable people to make better decisions and live more satisfying lives. I am (almost) perfectly confident that you will be glad you read Perfectly Confident.”
— Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice, Practical Wisdom, and Why We Work
“In every decision you make and every goal you set, there are two easy ways to fail: having too little confidence and having too much. Don Moore has spent his career studying how to find the sweet spot, and his book is full of evidence-based guidance for making more accurate assessments of your abilities and opportunities.”
— Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take, and host of the chart-topping TED podcast WorkLife
“Don Moore sees through clichés about overconfidence, honing in on calibration as the real culprit. With great wit, deep research, and charming stories, he teaches us to place our best bets.”
— Annie Duke, author of How to Decide and Thinking in Bets
Harper Business, 9780062887757, 272pp.
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
About the Author
Don Moore is a Professor of Management of Organizations at the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where he teaches popular courses in leadership, negotiations, and decision-making. He also consults on these topics.
With Max Bazerman, he is the coauthor of Judgment in Managerial Decision Making, one of the bestselling textbooks in the field. Additionally, Moore was one of the principal investigators on the Good Judgment Project, a forecasting tournament sponsored by the U.S. government’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). The forecasters involved established an excellent record predicting the outcomes of major world events, and this project was chronicled by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner in their 2015 book, Superforecasting.
Moore has authored or coauthored columns published by The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, Fortune, Forbes Leadership Forum, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Harvard Business Review, the Harvard Negotiation Newsletter, and others. His work has been covered in The New York Times, Money, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, the Financial Times, The New Yorker, Businessweek, Forbes, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, The Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Entrepreneur, PBS’s Nightly Business Report, CNN, NPR, KCBS, PredictablyIrrational.com, Freakonomics.com, and numerous other media outlets and websites. Moore writes a blog entitled Perfectly Confident for Psychology Today.