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Perfectly Confident

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Perfectly Confident

How to Calibrate Your Decisions Wisely


15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Overconfidence and underconfidence are destructive. Here’s why and how to find the sweet spot in between.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples


Confidence is a Goldilocks trait: The right amount serves you well; too little or too much can hurt you. UC Berkeley management professor Don A. Moore introduces three forms of confidence and provides examples that illustrate why well-calibrated confidence is desirable. He offers valuable advice on how to develop and project a healthy sense of confidence that will reap benefits in your personal and professional life.


Overconfidence and underconfidence are common and problematic. To calibrate them, weigh seven factors.

Most people have more confidence than the facts justify. Overconfidence is one of the most common cognitive biases. It is a “gateway bias” that leads to other biases – such as anchoring, representativeness or availability – that undermine decision-making. Overconfidence can adversely affect performance by reducing effort, inducing complacency or prompting embarrassing self-aggrandizement. Promoting overconfidence in children, for example, can make them fearful of risking failure. Collective overconfidence leads to disasters such as the 2008 financial crisis. 

Too little confidence means missing out on life. Lower-income high school graduates, for example, don’t apply to college because they don’t think they will get in; good writers don’t write because they think they are bad writers. Underconfidence is common, especially regarding difficult tasks where success is rare, and it’s easy to overestimate the competence level of the other people performing them.

Calibrate your level of confidence...

About the Author

Don A. Moore, PhD, an expert on the psychology of decision making, is a professor of management at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and co-author of Judgment in Managerial Decision Making.

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    J. M. 7 months ago
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    M. W. 2 years ago
    Not the insights that were expected from the title of the book. Interesting to note that there are several ways into improve your objective decisions. Thanks for sharing.