Risk Hardcover – 16 Feb 1995
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Top Customer Reviews
I recommend this book unreservedly. Its one of the very few I have come across which has a supremely important point to make and makes it in a clear, well-argued and compact way, supported by lots of interesting data; a revelation. Buy it now, it is every bit as relevant now as it was when it was written.
Of particular interest is the chapter on seat belt laws. Once you've read that, I guarantee you will be hooked.
"Risk" Adams contends is a word that refers to a future that exists only in the imagination. It is inescapably subjective. Taleb, who is a New York trader, is especially [...] those who are fooled by randomness - deluded souls who believe that luck can be managed, that future prices can be divined by a study of past prices - and that such divinations will make them rich. The iconic case, with which Taleb has great sport, is the collapse of Long Term Capital Management. Two directors of LTCM, Merton and Scholes, received Nobel prizes for their development of the luck management methods that produced the collapse.
Adams, writing before the fall of LTCM, puts his finger on its cause. Merton and Scholes were not detached scientists observing something that could be objectively measured, they were players in the game, influencing, and being influenced by, all the other players.
Adams' most interesting, and sadly neglected, case study of the interactive nature of risk management is his demolition of the myth of the efficacy of seat belt legislation. Nowhere in the world, he shows, have seat belt laws saved lives. Everywhere they have resulted in a transfer of the burden of risk from those best-protected in cars to the most vulnerable outside cars, pedestrians and cyclists.
Five stars to both Adams and Taleb!
PS Your previous reviewer, Leitch, is wrong on his two "fundamental" points.
1.Read more ›
I would encourage you to read it, especially if you have no previous statistical training. There is very little math, and while some of the concepts are at first hard to grasp, Adams' style is always clear, never patronising and he rarely lapses into the professional jargon that disfigures more technical tomes.
If you've ever played backgammon, you'll understand Adams' notion of risk compensation. If you are unsurprised that young men in slow cars pay higher insurance premiums than older women in fast cars then you have already understood the concept of the risk thermostat.
These two concepts, plus a somewhat reductive typology of personalities, form the basis of the discussion, and show why most risk modelling is tripe.
The book was published over a decade ago. Since its appearance, there has been an explosion of research into risk, much of it funded by banks. Has any of this research yielded greater security for the banks that funded it? I wonder.
The book is slowly dating with the facts and figures used being from at the latest, the 90s. This said, the point and drive of the book is still just as valid as when it was written.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written readable informative good read well worth the money would recommend it to anyone well worth buying and readingPublished on 5 Dec. 2013 by wilson goko
This book is not the easiest of reads with small print and numerous graphs and charts, however it does review risk in society and
looks at U.Beck and A. Read more
I attended a lecture of John Adams recently which led to me reading the book. It is really brilliant. Read morePublished on 12 Feb. 2009 by Luke says
I read "Risk" a couple of weeks ago and quickly realised that it had a lot to say about the author's personal battles down the decades with people who disagreed with him. Read morePublished on 22 April 2007 by Matthew Leitch
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