Perfectly Confident - Book Summary

Don A Moore



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.


What will you learn from this book

  1. Confidence is not always correlated with accuracy: Despite popular belief, being highly confident does not necessarily mean being highly accurate. People often overestimate their abilities and the certainty of their judgments.

  2. Confidence can be manipulated: External factors such as praise, feedback, and past successes can influence a person's confidence levels, sometimes leading to unwarranted overconfidence or crippling self-doubt.

  3. The Dunning-Kruger effect: This psychological phenomenon refers to the tendency of people with low ability in a particular domain to overestimate their competence, while those with high ability may underestimate theirs. Recognizing this bias is crucial for making more accurate self-assessments.

  4. Feedback loops of confidence: Confidence can create a feedback loop wherein initial confidence levels influence performance, which in turn affects future confidence levels. This cycle can either reinforce overconfidence or help individuals calibrate their confidence more accurately over time.

  5. The importance of calibration: Calibrated confidence involves accurately assessing one's abilities and understanding the limits of one's knowledge. It requires balancing self-assurance with humility and being open to feedback and new information.

  6. Managing risk and uncertainty: Confident decision-making often involves navigating complex situations with incomplete information. Understanding how to assess and manage risk, as well as embracing uncertainty, is crucial for making informed and effective decisions.

  7. The role of context: Confidence levels can vary depending on the context and the specific tasks or challenges individuals face. Being mindful of these contextual factors can help individuals adjust their confidence levels accordingly.

  8. Embracing failure: Failure is an inevitable part of life, but it can also be a valuable learning experience. Embracing failure and viewing it as an opportunity for growth can help individuals develop resilience and adaptability, ultimately leading to greater confidence.

  9. Cognitive biases: Various cognitive biases, such as confirmation bias and hindsight bias, can distort perceptions of confidence and decision-making. Recognizing these biases and actively mitigating their influence can lead to more accurate assessments and better outcomes.

  10. The power of self-awareness: Developing self-awareness regarding one's strengths, weaknesses, and biases is essential for cultivating genuine confidence. By understanding oneself more deeply, individuals can make more informed choices and build confidence grounded in reality rather than illusion.

Language English
No of pages 20
Book Publisher i-Read Publications
Published Date 24 Apr 2024

About Author

Author : Don A Moore


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