cover image The Confidence Map: Charting a Path from Chaos to Clarity

The Confidence Map: Charting a Path from Chaos to Clarity

Peter Atwater. Portfolio, $29 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-53955-2

Confidence is key to better decision-making in the business world, contends financial consultant Atwater in his ho-hum debut. The core factors that contribute to confidence are control and certainty, according to Atwater, and he explores how understanding their influence can help readers “predict trends, generate better outcomes... and, generally speaking, make better sense of a world that too often feels chaotic.” Atwater recalls witnessing lower-level employees leave companies or jockey for position within them during periods of low certainty and low control, such as corporate mergers or acquisitions, and he recommends that leaders in such circumstances boost confidence by sharing more information than they would during times of ease. He also examines situations in which certainty is high and control low or vice versa, noting that the former often takes the form of workplaces run by “authoritarian” CEOs who take little input from others. Unfortunately, his recommendation to “be more deliberative in those we pick” to work for, and quit when necessary fails to address what to do in a tight job market where options may be limited. For every useful tip there’s an equally facile suggestion, and the anecdotal examples are sometimes of dubious relevance, as when he holds up Billie Eilish’s wins over Taylor Swift at the 2020 Grammys as evidence of “deteriorating confidence,” but it’s not clear in what or whom. This promises more than it delivers. (Aug.)