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5 tips for calibrating your confidence from Prof. Don Moore’s new book

05.15.20

5 tips for calibrating your confidence

Professor Don Moore with microphone in hand speaking

Originally published on Berkeley Haas Newsroom

When he was a high school kid in Pocatello, Idaho, Prof. Don Moore devoured self-help books and listened to motivational cassette tapes that promised him more confidence, more friends, and a rise in the social hierarchy.

They had no discernible effect on his popularity at the time, but Moore went on to build a successful academic career studying the psychology of decision making and overconfidence. Along the way, he bumped up against his own occasional bouts of overconfidence—including an ill-fated fire walk egged on by Tony Robbins—and learned through research how often people overestimate their chances of success.

“Chances are that you are thinking about confidence wrong. If you have spent any time reading self-help books, you could be forgiven for coming away thinking that more confidence is better,” writes Moore in the opening to his new book, Perfectly Confident: How to Calibrate Your Decisions Wisely (HarperCollins, 2020), available May 26. “Decades of research demonstrates how often people have an overinflated sense of their own wisdom…But minimizing confidence is not the solution either.”

“Perfectly Confident” brings together studies from psychology and behavioral economics to explain exactly what confidence is, when it can be helpful, and when it can be self-delusional and destructive. It’s a lively, self-aware guide—replete with anecdotes, scientific research, and provocative questions—that can help anyone, from business leaders to high school students, find what Moore calls “the middle way between having too much and having too little” confidence.

Read more about Don Moore's book in the Berkeley Haas Newsroom.