Summary of How Risky Is It, Really?

Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts

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How Risky Is It, Really? book summary
A guide to risk evaluation: How can you tell how scared to be?


8 Overall

9 Applicability

6 Innovation

8 Style


This lively, honest book is a pleasure to read and easy to digest. Journalist David Ropeik demystifies the common mental and social mechanisms humans use to evaluate danger. He explains how people often misrepresent and misunderstand possibly perilous circumstances and tells you how to weigh potential risk more accurately. Some explanations are too long and some “risk perception factors” are a bit similar, but, that noted, Ropeik’s many insights are so instantly applicable that any reader will find them useful. getAbstract recommends his book to anyone involved in risk management and social policy, and to all consumers of the news.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How people evaluate risk
  • Why your perceptions are often wrong
  • How to think about potential hazards more accurately


Perception and Risk
Everyone feels fear sometimes. If someone told you that a contaminant in your workplace could give you cancer, you might leave your office, even if you know that the risk is incredibly small – and even if you already do far more dangerous things, like smoking. Most...
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About the Author

David Ropeik is the co-author of RISK and has written for major metropolitan newspapers.

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