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Phishing Dark Waters: The Offensive and Defensive Sides of Malicious Emails by Christopher Hadnagy, Michele Fincher, Robin Dreeke

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Chapter 2The Psychological Principles of Decision-Making

“I immediately regret this decision!”

—Ron Burgundy (after leaping into the bear pit at the San Diego Zoo)in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

This chapter delves a bit into decision-making. Why do we do the things we do, even when it seems like the outcome will surely be bad? What do other people observe or experience that guides them to make a different decision than you would?

I have a relevant story about decision-making that still makes me laugh. When I was 17, I embarked on my college career at a military school. It was one of those places where smiling was discouraged, and you never had to worry about what to wear—the command staff let you know every morning. Attendance to class, meals, and other events was mandatory. My freshman year, I was fortunate enough to be selected to be in the cadet contingent at an away football game at the University of Wyoming. It was policy that freshmen were to be in uniform at all times, and when leaving the installation, we had to wear a special outfit called a service dress. This was a more formal uniform that included a jacket and billed hat—basically the outfit you've seen on military men in every movie containing enemy threats and secure bunkers.

As we filed into the stadium and found our seats in an orderly fashion, I realized a few things:

  • It was a bright and sunny day—it felt like it was about 10,000 degrees—and we would be staying in full service dress the entire game. ...

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