An eye-opening look at the ways we misjudge risk every day and a guide to making better decisions with our money, health, and personal lives
In the age of Big Data we often believe that our predictions about the future are better than ever before. But as risk expert Gerd Gigerenzer shows, the surprising truth is that in the real world, we often get better results by using simple rules and considering less information.
In Risk Savvy, Gigerenzer reveals that most of us, including doctors, lawyers, financial advisers, and elected officials, misunderstand statistics much more often than we think, leaving us not only misinformed, but vulnerable to exploitation. Yet there is hope. Anyone can learn to make better decisions for their health, finances, family, and business without needing to consult an expert or a super computer, and Gigerenzer shows us how.
Risk Savvy is an insightful and easy-to-understand remedy to our collective information overload and an essential guide to making smart, confident decisions in the face of uncertainty.
Numbers may not lie, but they are certainly often misunderstood, according to German psychologist and risk analyst Gigerenzer. We make poor decisions on an array of issues, from health-care screenings to investment decisions to planned outings, because we blindly rely on data that may be incorrectly interpreted and reported. Gigerenzer draws on psychology, sociology, and math to explain how data can start off clear and end up murky by the time it reaches its intended audience, leaving us helpless to make sound decisions about the risks involved. He notes that the risk of cancer is often misinterpreted and can lead to overzealous screenings and that Americans irrationally refused to fly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks even though the risk of being killed in an auto accident is much greater. Gigerenzer cautions readers to always look for a reference point when data is quoted and to understand the difference between relative and absolute risk. This is a highly accessible look at the importance of data and the equally great importance of clearly understanding data. —Vanessa Bush