Saturday, August 09, 2008

Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear by Dan Gardner

Risk is an important work given the current climate of misdirected fear. It is a thoughtful analysis of decision-science research mixed with important knowledge of our evolutionary heritage. Gardner consistent attacks our preconceived notions of what we fear and provides tenable explanations as to why it is so.

I’ve read popular books on stats (Struck by Lightning, A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper) and other works about psychology (Stumbling On Happiness, Blink) and encountered some decision science literature before, but Risk does a wonderful job of bringing it all together.

One of the best lines was that the media "report the rare routinely and the routine rarely."
This makes one think about what 'news' is, as it has to be 'new.' I think much of the news encourages misunderstandings of the world by confusing people about how often things happen (base-rate neglect).

I HIGHLY recommend this book.


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