It arrived today. I found it waiting by my door when I got home from school. “How Risky Is It, Really?” by David Ropeik. The Friday class reminded me of that podcast where he talked about his most recent book. I remember it made me laugh. I found a guest blogpost he did on sciam.com, then his website and then his books. Five days later, voilá! The first of the two books I ordered has arrived.
“How Risky Is It, Really?”came out last year. The book starts off by describing the neurobiology of fear. My old friend, the amygdala was mentioned, as was epinephrine. Then, Ropeik explains how we rationalize our assessment of risk. Spoiler alert: we are lousy with numbers.
There are risk assessment “quizzes” throughout the book. These quizzes cover things like probability, framing, or how we perceive numbers. For example, Ropeik presents two sequences of coin flips (THTHTHTH & TTHTHHHT), and asks the reader to guess which one is more likely to happen. Well… turns out both are equally likely to happen! Still, people think that the one that seems more “random” is more likely to happen.
Go read this book. You’ll laugh and you’ll learn.
I wish I could read it now… but alas, I already have too much on my plate.