Megan Blood's Reviews > The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't--and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger

The Science of Fear by Dan Gardner
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's review
Sep 11, 2011

really liked it
Read from March 22 to May 15, 2012

A great book for helping us realize that our fears of many (most) things are basically unfounded. Chemicals in your food? Playground predators? Just relax. And quit watching the news--it's just making things seem (much, much) worse than they really are.

My one qualm was with the chapter on terrorism, which seemed to come across with a little more personal vitriol than was necessary. Plus I tend to think that part of the issue with terrorism is that it's unpredictable. So his argument that terrorists aren't going to get a nuclear weapon because they haven't managed to get one yet just doesn't fly with me. (I mentioned this to Jon, who then assigned me to research 'black swan events').

But still-read this! If nothing else you'll appreciate the realization that life REALLY is great, and getting better. So quit freaking out.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Paul McNeil I remember thinking he focused a lot on Republican leaders in the terrorism chapter, but then I checked the date if publication and it was 2008, before democrats had their chance to continue the overreaction (which they've definitely done). 9-11 is definitely a black swan event, but most of its effects, for the vast majority of Americans, have had to do more with how we have responded to it, rather than the actual damage done, I think. Personally, I think one if the biggest problems with our post 9-11 response has been that we spent a decade with the war on terror add the driving force being our foreign relations, rather than focusing on bolstering trade and economic relationships (which I think will do more to stamp out terror in the long run).

Paul McNeil (Wrote that on my phone, pardon the typos)

Paul McNeil (Please don't read the above comment as saying we shouldn't also be directly fighting terrorism, by the way. After all, I am an employee of the Department of Defense now!)

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