Perfectly Confident Book Summary - Perfectly Confident Book explained in key points
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Perfectly Confident summary

Don A. Moore

How to Calibrate Your Decisions Wisely

4.1 (842 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

Perfectly Confident by Don A. Moore is a psychology book that encourages readers to embrace the benefits of self-doubt and cultivate a healthy balance of confidence and humility. It provides insights and real-life examples on how to avoid overconfidence traps and make better decisions.

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    Perfectly Confident
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    Contrary to what many think, overconfidence isn’t harmless.

    “Think you can or think you can’t – either way you’re right.” This quote, commonly attributed to Henry Ford, offers one way to think about confidence. It suggests that confidence is everything, and that your ability to succeed depends only on the amount of confidence you have. 

    But is this true? Well, yes and no. Make no mistake, belief in your own ability is important for success, and underconfidence can result in missed opportunities. But it’s not true that success comes down to simply believing in yourself. In fact, there are plenty of cases where overconfidence can be more harmful to your chances at success than underconfidence. 

    The key message in this blink is: Contrary to what many think, overconfidence isn’t harmless.

    Overconfidence is dangerous because of how people make decisions. Decision-making is hard. People rarely have enough information to make a truly educated decision, and so they depend on their intuition to make choices, even important ones. But intuition can – and often does – lead to mistakes. 

    History is full of tragic accidents that came about because people made snap decisions that vastly overestimated their own ability. Take the 2008 financial crisis, for example: everyone was overconfident that they knew the value of the subprime mortgages they were buying. The fallout when people realized they didn’t? A global economic crisis.

    In fact, research shows that too much confidence can sometimes lead to inferior performances. Psychologist Gabrielle Oettingen has studied the effect of confidence on outcomes and found that people who fantasize more about future successes are actually less likely to accomplish them. This effect can be seen on scales both large and small. A student who thinks he’s already prepared for a test might not study enough and doom himself to a bad grade. Or imagine two companies – one that anticipates great results in the next quarter and one that expects to be in the red. The second one will be more motivated to make changes for the better.

    The lesson here is to use confidence to help you start the work you need to succeed, not bypass it. Confidence alone won’t let you finish a marathon if you’ve never run before. But confidence can give you the push to start training, one mile at a time. 

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    What is Perfectly Confident about?

    Perfectly Confident (2020) is an in-depth exploration of what confidence is and how we can leverage it effectively. Having too much confidence can be just as bad as having too little. But how do you strike the right balance and become perfectly confident? Drawing on psychology, economics, and his own research into business leadership, author Don A. Moore offers some insightful answers.

    Perfectly Confident Review

    Perfectly Confident (2018) by Don A. Moore offers valuable insights into the science behind confidence and how it affects our decision-making and interactions. Here's why this book is definitely worth a read:

    • With its research-based approach, it provides practical strategies for developing and maintaining confidence, helping readers navigate various aspects of their lives more effectively.
    • The book explores the connection between overconfidence and harmful biases, enlightening readers about the pitfalls of unchecked confidence and offering ways to mitigate them.
    • Through a range of real-world examples and relatable stories, the book keeps readers engaged, making the topic of confidence both engaging and relevant.

    Best quote from Perfectly Confident

    ... if you want to avoid being swindled, you should look beyond the confidence and try to assess the substance.

    —Don A. Moore
    example alt text

    Who should read Perfectly Confident?

    • Leaders lacking confidence
    • People who want to get better at making decisions
    • Anyone who’s heard “fake it till you make it”

    About the Author

    Don A. Moore is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business. He lectures and consults on leadership, negotiations, and decision-making. Moore has coauthored a textbook on managerial decision-making and has published columns in several prominent publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and the Harvard Business Review.

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    Perfectly Confident FAQs 

    What is the main message of Perfectly Confident?

    The main message of Perfectly Confident is to understand and navigate the complexities of overconfidence and self-doubt.

    How long does it take to read Perfectly Confident?

    The reading time for Perfectly Confident varies, but it can be read in a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Perfectly Confident a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Perfectly Confident is worth reading to gain insights into the psychology of confidence and make better decisions.

    Who is the author of Perfectly Confident?

    Don A. Moore is the author of Perfectly Confident.

    What to read after Perfectly Confident?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Perfectly Confident, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
    • The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins
    • Rising Strong by Brené Brown
    • The Courage Habit by Kate Swoboda
    • Resilient by Rick Hanson with Forrest Hanson
    • The High 5 Habit by Mel Robbins
    • Get Out of Your Own Way by Dave Hollis
    • Weird by Olga Khazan
    • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
    • Read People Like a Book by Patrick King