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Risk Savvy

a book review

product linkRisk Savvy
sub-title'How To Make Good Decisions'
authorGerd Gigerenzer
date reviewed2016.03.20
genreBusiness (Management)
isbn9780143127109

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.

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rand()m quote

The problem is not people being uneducated. The problem is that people are educated just enough to believe what they have been taught, and not educated enough to question anything from what they have been taught.

—Richard Feynman