Lewis Birchon's Reviews > Apocalypse How?: Technology and the Threat of Disaster

Apocalypse How? by Oliver Letwin
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A strange but compelling book exploring why governments and organisations underestimate low-probability-high-impact events. Half of the book explores the practicalities and politics of these risks, and how the urgent issue of the day distracts from the potentially important issue of the future. The other half models a fictional scenario in the near future to illustrate what inaction now might look like.

Letwin does a good job of breaking down the different political arguments for action and inaction, with a few stepped examples for how to look at probability and when to ignore cost-benefit analysis. There are some elaborately described metaphors, intended to provide an accessible visualisation of a concept, that really would have benefited from an illustration or two. The fictional scenario is compelling, effective, and efficient at the cost of artistic flourish. Exposition Basil would be proud.

It’s fitting this was published during a global pandemic, and on the one hand it’s nice that the fictional scenario that leads to an apocalyptic failure of modern technology… but on the other hand I googled the Carrington Event and… yikes.
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Reading Progress

December 26, 2021 – Started Reading
December 26, 2021 – Shelved
December 28, 2021 – Finished Reading

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