A groundbreaking framework for making better decisions by understanding – and mastering – confidence.
What does our desire for certainty and control have to do with our decision-making? According to behavioral economics pioneer Peter Atwater, the answer is simple: everything.
In The Confidence Map, Atwater explores the hidden role of confidence in the choices we make, and why events described as being unprecedented are often entirely predictable—if we know what to look for.
Using compelling stories from the past and present, Atwater shows readers how to apply the same tools he teaches the world’s leading institutional investors, corporations, and policymakers to help them make sense of complex situations and optimize strategy.
You will learn: • How psychological distance consistently affects the choices we make • Why "Me-Here-Now" decision-making is such a powerful force • What happens at confidence peaks that leads to our downfall • The five ways we respond to extreme vulnerability • When consumers' feelings of certainty and control - not price - drive demand
The Confidence Map is a book about why we do what we do, where we can and cannot trust our natural instincts, and how we can make sense of a world that too often feels senseless.
Whether you’re investing in technology stocks, designing menu items for a fast-food franchise, or running an emergency room, Atwater offers an all-weather guide to avoid psychological traps, spot opportunities, and navigate the road ahead with clarity and purpose.
About the Author
PETER ATWATER is an Adjunct Professor of Economics at William and Mary, and President of Financial Insyghts, a consulting firm that advises institutional investors, FORTUNE 500 executives, and global policymakers on how social mood affects decision making, the economy, and the markets. A pioneer in securitization and a long-time financial services executive, Peter’s work on social mood and decision-making has been featured in The Socionomist, Time Magazine, and The Financial Times.
“A rare and beautiful look at what happens in our heads when we try to make sense of the world.” — MORGAN HOUSEL, author of The Psychology of Money and Same as Ever
“Insightful and original, The Confidence Map explores how our feelings of certainty and control affect every choice we make and every risk we take. Atwater has made an important contribution to understanding the underappreciated influences that affect our decisions. Readers will use this fresh perspective to become more resilient in the face of uncertainty.” — MICHELE WUCKER, author of The Gray Rhino and You Are What You Risk
“Atwater’s way of thinking and plotting the world in The Confidence Map is highly contagious. It’s easy to use it to make sense of new shocks and opportunities.” — MICHAEL P. REGAN, Senior Markets Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek
“While Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink powerfully argued that intuitions are important, it doesn’t offer much guidance on how to hone them. Atwater fills that gap.” — BENJAMIN HO, professor of economics, Vassar College; author of Why Trust Matters
“Soldiers and explorers are counseled to ‘navigate from where you are, not from where you wish you were,’ and it remains valid to leaders in every endeavor. The Confidence Map provides an exceptionally clear view of where we are, and how to move forward with real confidence. An approachable, entertaining guide to the daunting challenge of leadership.” — GENERAL STANLEY A. McCHRYSTAL, U.S. Army Ret., author of Team of Teams and Risk
“Simple and complex at the same time. I encourage anyone struggling with decision making to read it and use it.” — ROD WOOD, president and CEO, Detroit Lions
“Since Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize for behavioral economics, there has been a revolution in understanding the role of human emotions in decision-making. Peter Atwater has now added to our understanding with his superb insights on the role that confidence plays in predicting outcomes.” — MICHAEL POWELL, former FCC chairman, CEO of NCTA—The Internet & Television Association
“Mind-blowing. It’s hard to believe that such profound insights have been hiding in plain sight for so long. Now that he’s switched on the light, it’s impossible to unsee the vital role that confidence plays in, well, everything.” — LYDIA SAAD, director of U.S. social research, Gallup
"There are economic numbers, and then there is how people really feel about what's going on in the economy. Peter Atwater connects both, helping us to find the signal in all the market noise in ways that give us insight not only about business, but about politics and society too. Atwater is one of my most important "finger to the wind" sources for understanding the global economy today." — RANA FOROOHAR, author of Homecoming, and global business columnist and associate editor for the Financial Times