In the introduction to her book “Thinking in Bets,” Annie Duke describes how she was completing her PhD at Penn when her personal life took a sudden and unexpected turn. Before she knew it, she became a professional poker player, winning millions of dollars in high-stakes competitions around the globe. So far removed from the Ivory Tower, she abandoned her formal studies and was never awarded her doctoral degree. Accordingly, I wish to conclude my review of Duke’s beautiful book by writing a Platonic love letter to her.
Dear Miss Duke, if you are reading this, I have an idea. In lieu of a formal academic dissertation why don’t you ask your publisher to mail a few extra copies of “Thinking in Bets” to the pompous academics at Penn. As the notes on pages 241 to 252 of your book amply attest to, you have more than earned your doctoral degree! More importantly, you are an intellectual inspiration to us all. One of the reasons I love your work so much is that I too have become over the years a hardcore proponent of probabilistic thinking, and your enchanting book not only lays out in plain English the virtues of thinking in probabilistic terms; it also provides a plethora of practical tips and recommendations for thinking probabilistically in one’s own life. Thank you, and keep betting!