Reckoning with Risk : Learning to Live with Uncertainty, Paperback

Reckoning with Risk : Learning to Live with Uncertainty Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Gerd Gigerenzer's "Reckoning with Risk: Learning to Live with Uncertainty" illustrates how we can learn to make sense of statistics and turn ignorance into insight.

However much we want certainty in our lives, it feels as if we live in an uncertain and dangerous world.

But are we guilty of wildly exaggerating the chances of some unwanted event happening to us?

Are we misled by our ignorance of the reality of risk?

Far too many of us, argues Gerd Gigerenzer, are hampered by our own innumeracy, while statistics are often presented to us in highly confusing ways.

With real world examples, such as the incidence of errors in tests for breast cancer or HIV, or in DNA fingerprinting, and the manipulation of statistics for evidence in court, he shows that our difficulty in thinking about numbers can easily be overcome. "Indispensable...The book will change the attentive reader's way of looking at the world". ("Sunday Telegraph"). "An important book ...the reader is presented with a powerful set of tools for understanding statistics ...anyone who wants to take responsibility for their own medical choices should read it". ("New Scientist"). "Gigerenzer makes clear thinking easier". ("Evening Standard"). "More than ever, citizens need to know how to evaluate risk...This book should be pressed into the palms of". ("Independent"). Gerd Gigerenzer is Director of the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and former Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago.

He has published two academic books on heuristics, "Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart" and "Bounded Rationality: The Adaptive Toolbox" as well as a popular science book, "Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making".


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages, 35 diagrams, glossary, notes, index
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • ISBN: 9780140297867



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This book investigates how statistics may be misused by the medical and legal professions to mislead the public. It lists simple ways to cut through the statistical clap-trap and derive figures meaningful to the human brain. This would be an insightful read for educators and the public alike.