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Risk Paperback – February 3, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-1857280685 ISBN-10: 1857280687
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (February 3, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857280687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857280685
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #804,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By RootlessAgrarian on March 8, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are few works of nonfiction which I have been inspired to read in one sitting. Adams' _Risk_ is one of those few. It's more than merely accessible: it's fascinating. The writing is more than merely competent: it's enjoyable. Like the best Grisham novels, _Risk_ tells a tale of danger, skulduggery, bureaucracy, wrongful death, human nature, research, reasoning, the revelation and concealment of evidence, and the overturning of conventional beliefs and outcomes.
Adams opens for the lay reader a window into the jargon-laden field of risk assessment and risk management. He brings to the table two qualities usually firmly segregated in the literature: a solid, rationalist facility with the traditional tools of the trade (scientific method, mathematics, statistics, data visualization), and an honest and humane assessment of the incalculable and the social (human variability, social equity, adaptive feedback, and chaotic systems).
Adams' work is brilliantly contrarian, neither eccentric nor slipshod. He challenges the conventional dogma of regulatory safety authorities the world over; he cites verifiable figures from reputable sources to show that the authoritarian approach to risk management has not lived up to its overconfident initial promises. Further, he documents specific cases in which this failure has been denied and concealed, rather than admitted, confronted and used as a springboard to new approaches and more creative thinking.
Adams' particular field of expertise is road/traffic safety, which he had studied for some 15 years at the time of writing. He uses several examples from this realm in the book. He recounts the peculiar history, for example, of mandatory seat belt legislation.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Tom N on August 9, 2002
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This is an outstanding little book -- very insightful and thoroughly enjoyable. I am a pediatrician who has been involved with writing practice guidelines to prevent a very low probability but devastating outcome (brain damage following jaundice in newborns). The discussion of different types of people with different attitudes towards risk helped clarify some of the dynamics of the guideline committees I have been on. In fact, I liked the book so much I sent a copy to the head of the current committee working on these guidelines.
I also like it when people question dogma, and point out ways in which our previous experience and perspectives influence the way we perceive reality. For example, the possibility that use of seat belts by drivers might shift some injuries from themselves to pedestrians and cyclists had never occurred to me.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in risk.
Thomas B. Newman, MD, MPH
Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Pediatrics
University of California, San Francisco
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Beaumont Vance on July 31, 2006
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John Adams is clearly one of the leading thinkers not only regarding Risk Management, but also decision-making where risk is involved. If you are expecting a book that limits itself to accident prevention and the purchase of insurance, you will be dilightfully suprised to find that Adams provides universal frameworks that apply to the entire universe of risk. Nor is this merely an ivory tower philosophical romp. Adams applies his frameworks to everything from the value of infant car seats to global warming to "zero accident" policies in the workplace and does so with wit and empirical data. His conclusions are often very counterintuitive, but he provides the data to back up his conclusions, often with surprising results (for example, that mandatory infant car seats was correlated with an increase in infant deaths in auto accidents and that seat belt laws did not decrease injuries in auto accidents).

The reader cannot help but benefit from Adam's wisdom, and he will enjoy the experience as well. The book is writen so well that I finished it with sadness; I was hoping that it would go on for at least another 100 pages. Having read scores of risk related articles and books, I can attest to the rarity of this feeling--I am usually begging for the end at about page 10. It takes great ideas and a masterful pen to acheive this, and Adams has both in abundance. If you are in the risk or safety professions (or work in the political realm) this book is required reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John B. Gilmore on June 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Risk" by John Adams is one of those rare gems, a book which uncovers a nugget of truth about human behaviour, namely Risk Compensation Theory. Why do we take risks, especially on the roads, in cars, in dangerous situations? Why do some people take more risks than others? Apparently we have risk thermostats which we set to different levels of risk aversion. I saw the tv programme which covered this topic first and then I read the book by Mr. Adams. I was very impressed by the depth of research supporting his theories and by the graphs showing the different rates of fatalities for male/female drivers, for different countries or for different age groups. But I wonder: have we had too much analysis and not enough action at this stage? The trend of fatalities per 1,000 of the population or per 1,000 vehicles on the roads may be coming down in some countries but this is little consolation when the total number of deaths is staying steady or rising worldwide. 25 million have died already and perhaps another billion have been injured. It is time to try another approach.
"Autogeddon" by Heathcote Williams was a brilliant poetic diatribe on the havoc which cars can cause but it offered no solutions to the problem. "Risk" analyses in detail why we take the risks which cause this havoc, but equally offers no complete solutions. "The Joy of Motion" by John B. Gilmore goes a step further and offers a solution to the problems of transport which allows us to take risks and enjoy the thrill of motion at the same time. If you wish to find out more about this book then please email me.
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