Risk, Part 1 & 2

photo credit: <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/trancemist/2386772427/'>TranceMist</a>

photo credit: TranceMist


On the simplest level, we take risks to derive benefits. If the benefit outweighs the risk, we've made a good decision. But decisions are subject to bias, even those of experts. How do we live with uncertainty and make good decisions? Vancouver broadcaster Kathleen Flaherty talks with risk takers, risk managers and risk assessors to find out.


Risk, Part 1: There's a 53% chance the sky is falling

Kevin Wallinger, Director, Emergency Management Services, City of Vancouver
Karen McWilliam, Risk management consultant
William Leiss, Risk management consultant
Paul Slovic, Director, Decision Research Institute
Deborah Williams, Broadcaster
Cathy Simon, Broadcaster

The voice in the "inserts" is Matthew MacFarlane, CBC Vancouver

Risk, Part 2:  I'm sure there's nothing to worry about

Robin Gregory, Risk management consultant
Paul Slovic, Psychologist
William Leiss, Risk management consultant
Margaret Heffernan, Writer, broadcaster, entrepreneur
Nina Mazar, Professor, Rotman School of Business, U of T

The voice in the quotations is Michael Juk, CBC Vancouver

Reading List

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow
Daniel Kahneman is the Israeli-American psychologist who was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.  He and his colleague Amos Tversky are probably the most cited scientists who worked in behavioural economics.  "Thinking Fast and Slow" is his 2011 book which summarizes a great deal of his work.

Gerd Gigerenzer, Reckoning with Risk: Learning to Live with Uncertainty" and Gut Feelings: the Intelligence of the Unconscious.
Gerd Gigerenzer is a German psychologist, currently Director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.

Dan Ariely,The Upside of Irrationality:The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home.  
A behavioural economist with great wit... check out his Ted talks to get a feel.  Ariely's laboratory, the Center of Advanced Hindsight at Duke University, pursues research in subjects like the psychology of money, decision making by physicians and patients, cheating and social justice.  Nina Mazar developed her study of large money incentives while working with him.

William Leiss, The Doom Loop in the Financial Sector and other Black Holes of Risk, and Mad Cows and Mother's Milk with Douglas Powell.   He is currently at R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment at the University of Ottawa, and is Senior Scholar in Residence at Cornell University's Society for the Humanities this fall.

Margaret HeffernanWillful Blindness. Margaret Heffernan is an entrepreneur, CEO, writer and keynote speaker. Her motto: "Let's not play the game, let's change it."

Jerry Thompson, Cascadia's Fault.  The book that explained to me why and how the mega earthquake will eventually strike the west coast of Canada.

Gary Klein, Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions". An American research psychologist who pioneered in the field of naturalistic decision making.

Uncertainty and Risk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (2008), by Gabriele Bammer and Michael Smithson (eds).

Paul Slovic.
The Irrational Economist: Making Decisions in a Dangerous World.  
Among his many publications, this is one he edited with E. Michel-Kerjan, I found most relevant to the wide range thinking about risk.  Paul Slovic is a founder and President of Decision Research, studies human judgment, decision making, and risk analysis and is largely responsible for the development of the theory of the affect heuristic. His most current work is in the field of psychic numbing, our reaction to large scale disasters and to genocide.

Robin Gregory, Structured Decision Making: A Practical Guide to Environmental Management Choices" with Failing, L., Harstone, M., Long, G., McDaniels, T., & Ohlson, D.   Robin Gregory is a Senior Researcher at Decision Research and Director of Value Scope Research, a small consulting firm. Robin is also an adjunct professor in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia.

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