Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear Hardcover – Apr 15 2008
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"An overdue rational antidote to those of us who fear becoming a victim of the next terrorist attack, a fiery plane crash or some exotic killer disease." — The Ottawa Citizen
"Entertaining....A breath of fresh air and common sense." — Publishers Weekly
"Compelling ... an invaluable resource for anyone who aspires to think clearly" — The Guardian, UK
"A fascinating insight into the peculiar and devastating nature of human fear" — Sunday Telegraph, UK
“An excellent work… his take on terrorism in the book’s penultimate chapter is refreshing ... a cheery corrective to modern paranoia.” — The Economist
“A beautifully observed study.” — The Observer, UK
“Terrific… As a writer, he’s exceptionally good.” — The Evening Standard, UK
About the Author
Dan Gardner is a columnist and senior writer for the Ottawa Citizen, specializing in criminal justice and other investigative issues. Trained in history and law, Gardner worked as a senior policy adviser to the premier and the minister of education before turning to journalism in 1997. His writing has received numerous awards, including the National Newspaper Award, Amnesty International’s Media Award, and others. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and two children.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
While the first two are written by economists for the masses and fail (in different ways) to deliver content that goes beyond "interesting" to "generalizable to the human condition", Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear is exceptionally interesting and illustrative. Gardner, a reporter not an economist, has researched his topic to depths atypical of modern texts. He provides historical and visceral examples of his topics, then extends the understanding to current happenings in the world and goes so far as to show the implications (practical and irrational) of such understanding.
Like Naked Economics, this book is powerfully educational without being dry, preachy, or esoteric. A particular sign of quality is Gardner's highly insightful treatment of the modern media and those who wield it. While I won't say I sympathize with media editors and producers, I have a greater appreciation for how they are swayed by the "current story" - zeitgeist or meme if you will - almost as much as consumers of media.
If you want to enjoy a book which may expose your own consistent (yet mistaken) views on risk, and if you're ready for the challenges posed by this newfound knowledge, you will find Gardner's book well worth the time invested in reading it.
For millions of years animals relied on quick responses for survival. Reaction to potential danger or a possible meal left no time, nor need, for reflecting. Act fast or expire. That kind of brain is now called the limbic system, or "lizard brain". Evolution granted humans a chance to build on that foundation to produce a "thinking" part of the brain. The limbic system is still in place, however, and issuing commands we are rarely aware of. Psychologists, says Gardner, call these System One and System Two. The author, in the best journalist's style, calls these The Gut and The Head. The Gut reacts to crisis situations quickly and effectively. The Head follows along later at a more deliberate pace - if it gets any voice at all.
Gardner is eager to have us understand how these Systems work. He contends that we are carrying a reaction system founded on our ancestors' time on the African savannah.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A must read for anyone. Key insights into our behaviours and our errors. Should be mandatory for politicians and journalists.Published 11 months ago by Bill
An insightful analysis of how the non-rational dominates in human decision-making.Published 14 months ago by Johnston C. Smith
Coming from a science background, one of the basic concepts is the idea that one needs to look at the evidence and then use it to prove or disprove a particular theory and that... Read morePublished 22 months ago by ATC123
Very interesting read.. But what else can you really expect from Dan Gardner?
If you have the time, i would recommend giving this a quick read.
The author does an excellent job laying out how we perceive risk, and all of the troubles that come from that inherently flawed process.Published on Nov. 21 2013 by Cameron Moser
I really enjoyed this book. It not only stripped away the illusions of how we see events and people but also helped me to understand how we think and how I can better get a more... Read morePublished on April 11 2011 by R. Kilpatrick
Why is there so much fear in society these days? In an age when the advances of technology are such that we should be driving safer, eating healthier and living longer and more... Read morePublished on April 3 2011 by Ian Gordon Malcomson
At the time I write this review there are 7 reviews showing 5 stars and 2 reviews showing 1 star - nothing between. Read morePublished on Aug. 23 2010 by Amazon Customer
I was pretty happy with this book. Most books (and movies for that matter) have great titles and promise much but end up falling (very) short of delivering any real value to the... Read morePublished on April 3 2010 by P. Kudsieh
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