Risk Savvy

a book review

sub-title'How To Make Good Decisions'
authorGerd Gigerenzer
date reviewed2016.03.20
genreBusiness (Management)

I read this book on decision making as part of my on-the-job studies of the field of risk management. It is a superb examination of many current practices in risk that aims to find a sort of middle path. The author explains why he eschews complex algorithms in favor of heuristics, and avoids complex "risk-based" structures in favor of more simple practices.

It's a convincing read, especially when he points to the poor track record obtained using mathematical means to predict outcomes, the failure by most non-specialists to even comprehend estimates, and the obscene mis-use of dangerous diagnostic tools (e.g. cancer-causing X-ray machines) for routine examinations. It's also a highly readable examination of the problem-space. Gigerenzer is one of those irreverent Germans who uses a direct wit to point out that countless emperors wear no clothes. (Sadly, the risk field is crowded with these.)

You can get a good sense of the material covered in this book by viewing some of Gigerenzer's talks on Youtube. Which I've done, for instance, while ironing shirts for the coming week.

I enjoyed this book so much that I intend to re-read it.

👍🏼👍🏼 a favorite!

rand()m quote

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

—Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.