Tin Wee's Reviews > Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear

Risk by Dan Gardner
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's review
Dec 05, 2011

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Read in November, 2011

The book explores how the brain typically processes information relating to risks. Three 'rules' are highlighted, i.e. the anchoring rule, the example rule, and rule of typical things. These rules, together with our cultural inclinations/ herd mentality/ cognitive biases, and reinforced by media coverage and political diatribe, lend ourselves to perceive some risks more starkly than others - regardless what actual scientific numbers may say. In turn, this has led to overcommitment of resources towards managing risks that are dramatic and shocking, even though less dramatic/ shocking risks like slow acting diseases/ routine motor accidents etc may claim more lives. This book opened my eyes to the fear mongering tactics of media, politicans and corporates who benefit from the fear produced, and emphasizes a need to maintain a healthy skepticism towards the propaganda that surrounds us. Be warned - it can be heavy going at some portions but is well worth the effort. Recommended.

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