Sunday, March 30, 2014

Read: Dance with Chance

Title: Dance with Chance: Making Luck Work for You
Author: Spyros Makridakis, Robin Hogarth, Anil Gaba
Publisher: OneWorld Publication, 2009

This book was on a list of recommended books to read. When I was at the library, I decided to borrow this book. It took me close to two weeks to finish reading this book.

I find this book quite interesting to read. My favourite chapter is that of "The inevitability of decisions".

In the preface, the authors stated that the goal of the book was to help people make better decisions in situations where accurate forecasting is just not possible. There is uncertainty and limits to predictability. When we can recognize what exactly can and cannot be predicted, can we manage realistically the uncertainty in our lives.

This book seems to discuss partly on risk management. The authors pointed out two kinds of risks: subways and coconuts. The former is predictable most of the time whereas the latter cannot be predicted and planned for. It seems like there are some things we cannot predict. The authors suggested a "Triple A" strategy to handling uncertainty:
1) Accept that there are things beyond our control in an uncertain world.
2) Assess the level of uncertainty that we are facing using the available inputs, models, data.
3) Augment the assessment of the level of uncertainty that we are facing. This can be done in two ways. One way is by exploiting the hindsight to imagine what could be a realistic-sounding situation if we were to fast forward into the future and look back at what had 'happened'. The second way is to obtain the data and double the range that is obtained.

For myself, the concepts of the use of sminking (for repetitive decisions), effective thinking (for unique decisions), using experts, blinking, use of emotions so as to make better decisions were pretty intriguing.

In a world filled with uncertainties, this book lends us insights on the illusion of control and the issue of how luck operates. I am pleased with this read.

Also read: The illusion of control: dancing with chance by Cynthia Owens, 4 May 2009

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