Risk Savvy: How To Make Good Decisions Paperback – 17 Apr 2014
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About the Author
GERD GIGERENZER is director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, and lectures around the world on the importance of risk education for everyone from children to prominent doctors, bankers, and politicians. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is all persuasive and I learned a good deal from this book. That relates particularly to understanding risk and the role that presentation through natural frequencies and 'icon boxes' and the like can play. The book is also excellent as a guide to understanding medical risks.
If I didn't find it griping throughout, I think there are two main reasons. First it's a bit repetitive, especially when it comes to the North American healthcare system and its shortcomings. Secondly it's a bit optimistic about the impacts of education in risk understanding and in catching students young - pre adolescence. I just can't believe thus will turn out to be, for example, a way to stop young people texting and driving, as Gigerenzer hopes...
Successful managers base all their decisions on reason, or so we have been led to believe. Wrong again, says Gigerenzer. Although they are reluctant to admit it, the higher up the hierarchy managers are the more likely they are to rely on gut feelings.
So why do many of us make bad decisions? Because we have not been educated to understand risk. We are unable to distinguish between between known calculable risks and uncertainty. We are very uncomfortable with uncertainty, preferring to accept the illusion of certainty offered to us by people in authority. The hunger for certainty is what prevents us from being risk savvy.
Heuristics are smart rules of thumb which can simplify decision making. They can be safer and more accurate than a calculation, yet are frowned upon by many. This book gives examples of heuristics ranging from the gaze heuristic of pilots to the aspiration rule which can prevent us wasting time and feeling restless and dissatisfied when shopping.
This is a book which encourages us to take more control of our lives. It allows us to see when we are being offered second or third best solutions because someone feels it necessary to engage in defensive decision making. Although it does contain repetition, it is a book well worth the time taken to read it.
Understanding and dealing with risk is essential in almost every aspect of the modern world; medicine, transportation, education, public policy, even game shows. Most of us do pretty badly at it; despite the fact that you’re more likely to die driving 12 miles than flying from New York to Washington, we feel more worried in the airplane than on the drive to the airport. The response of policymakers has been to argue the need for experts to save us from our biases. Risk Savvy disagrees: what we need, Gigerenzer argues, is risk education. Understanding probabilities is something that can be learned, and must be if we are to function in the world.
Gerd Gigerenzer is best known for his work arguing that though it’s easy to criticize instinct and human decision making as being biased and flawed, in reality those biases actually work better than being unbiased would in the majority of situations. We aren’t broken, leaky beta versions; rather, we operate with a well-designed and effective ‘adaptive toolbox’ one that allows us to successfully navigate a wide variety of situations with considerable success and a minimum of effort.
Gigerenzer is a top academic doing very interesting work in psychology, and I think his academic work makes some great reading. Unfortunately, this book is not that. He’s oversimplified his work, and as a result it often feels like a linear combination of other pop behavioural economics books, rather than a new addition to the field. He has some great examples of his points and some great stories, but nothing new to add to them. Still, some of the facts are really good.Read more ›
Whenever presented with a bald probability, say, a 30 percent chance of rain tomorrow, we should always ask, 30 percent of what? Time? Geographical area? The number of weather forecasters? The absence of a reference class creates a confusion that's not just limited to rain, "but occurs whenever a probability is attached to a single event." One way out of this muddle is to use frequency statements that make the reference class clear ("it will rain on 30 percent of the days for which this announcement is made"). Gigerenzer calls these "mind tools" and he shows how relatively easy they are to learn and apply. (For more thinking tools, see Daniel Dennett's Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking.)
Being confused by a weather forecaster is one thing, but what if your doctor doesn't understand Bayesian inference? In one study, Gigerenzer switched from conditional probabilities to natural frequencies and discovered that how the information was presented was critical to accuracy. If you're a woman whose mammography screening is positive, there's a difference between being told you've got a 9 or a 90 percent chance of having breast cancer.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A balanced exploration of fact based decision making who takes you through a host of different environments to put a case for how to deal with risk and uncertainty using simple... Read morePublished 14 days ago by ace
Very good book and should be a mandatory read for anyone needing to make risk benefit analysis and in particular explain it to others.Published 4 months ago by David Heyburn
Many books are rising out of the field of behavioural science that are a delight. Kahneman, Taleb, Thaler, Sunstein, Halpern etc - but rarely do the authors actually offer us... Read morePublished 5 months ago by T. C. Hole
This book should be compulsory reading. Gradually society is becoming less reliant on authority figures and able to make better choices on a personal level. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mark D
Love this book. If everyone could be 'risk savvy' then the alarmist nature of the media would have very little impact and I believe everyone would lead far happier lives.Published 7 months ago by Happyshopper
This book is something of a revelation. Coming as it does from someone with a solid reputation in the field it casts light into some rather dark and obscured corners of our lives. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mike Partner