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Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk Hardcover – December 19, 2007


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Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk + One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future + Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; 1ST edition (December 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310259738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310259732
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Carson (Think Big) retells stories from previous books, focusing on the idea of risk. As one of the world's top pediatric neurosurgeons, Carson has a lot of experience weighing the odds—and in most cases, lives are on the line. His Best/Worst Analysis for any situation includes four questions: What's the best thing that can happen if I do this? What's the worst thing that can happen if I do this? What's the best thing that can happen if I don't do it? What's the worst thing that can happen if I don't do it? Carson's decisions are also rooted in his faith, with his greatest priority being to use the talents God has given rather than simply to preserve his reputation. By the end, his four-question formula wears thin, however, and he uses the idea of risk to launch into apparently unrelated subjects—the creation/evolution debate, his own belief in God, sharing his faith, problems with public education and even fiscal policy (where he suggests getting rid of money altogether in lieu of handprints and retina scans). Carson can be inspiring, but this book would have been better with a tighter focus and greater depth. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Carson (Think Big) retells stories from previous books, focusing on the idea of risk. As one of the world’s top pediatric neurosurgeons, Carson has a lot of experience weighing the odds---and in most cases, lives are on the line. His “Best/Worst Analysis” for any situation includes four questions: “What’s the best thing that can happen if I do this? What’s the worst thing that can happen if I do this? What’s the best thing that can happen if I don’t do it? What’s the worst thing that can happen if I don’t do it?” Carson’s decisions are also rooted in his faith, with his greatest priority being “to use the talents God has given” rather than simply to preserve his reputation. By the end, his four-question formula wears thin, however, and he uses the idea of risk to launch into apparently unrelated subjects---the creation/evolution debate, his own belief in God, sharing his faith, problems with public education and even fiscal policy (where he suggests getting rid of money altogether in lieu of handprints and retina scans). Carson can be inspiring, but this book would have been better with a tighter focus and greater depth. (Jan.) -- Publisher’s Weekly

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Customer Reviews

This book is well written and very readable.
Marilyn Mittelstaedt
Dr. Carson provides a matrix for determining what risk is acceptable, called "Best/Worst Analysis."
Stephen A. Williams
Every where you go or you do in life there will be risk.
Seyoum Teshome

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Faye M. Layne on January 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Carson has written many books, but his recent book (2008) "Take The Risk" is a page turner. Once you open this book it is difficult to put it down. I enjoyed this book immensely. It is the best book Dr. Carson has written. His comprehensive analysis of risks, Best/Worst Analysis,(B/WA) is thorough yet simple. I highly recommend this book. His description of his experiences with Laleh and Ladan Bijani, 21-year-old twins that were conjoined at the back of the head, were very moving, and it showed that he takes appropriate risks everyday in his profession as a pediatric neurosurgeon, and we should too.
He described how to determine whether to take the risk, or play it safe. For example, on pages 188-189, he described how he used his analysis to determine what to do about his youngest son's driving habits. His son had crashed the car twice. He said "But if ever a situation required some careful risk analysis, this was it. So Candy and I discussed the issue thoroughly." They did a B/WA on this topic, something that many people can relate to. In the end, they decided that he was responsible for getting himself to and from wherever he wanted to go, but his son decided that he would get a ride from a sibling or friend.
Dr. Carson, thank you for the gift of this book and for sharing your wisdom with us.
Jonece Layne, Carson Scholar - Beltsville, Maryland
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Demetrios A. Pahno on February 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a very good book on how to approach the decision making process in our personal and professional lives with greater awareness, clarity and wisdom. Ben Carson is truly an inspirational figure who knows something about risk. As a world-renowned neurosurgeon, he routinely faces risky life threatening decisions. Growing up in the tenements of Boston and Detroit he achieved success through faith, and hard work that leveraged considerable gifts, but also through a willingness to take on risks in his personal and professional life.
In this book he offers some lessons about how to perceive risk and eliminate distorted thinking that can cloud the process. He takes the reader through a simple framework that is powerful because of its simplicity. He also provides numerous examples of how he used this framework to deal with tough issues he has faced as a doctor, a parent and a concerned citizen. Some key points:

· Everything has risk including getting up in the morning and going to work.
· People develop distorted perceptions of risk that vary widely from actual probabilities.
· These distorted perceptions inhibit people from taking acceptable risks that can greatly enhance their life.
· Distorted perceptions can also lead to foolish decisions that can cause catastrophic results.
· A simple framework that explores the best and worst potential outcomes of any decision can be a powerful aid in minimizing biased and distorted thinking and provide greater clarity in decisions.
· The framework should be based on a strong value system that is centered on others rather than self.

Tightly bound to his framework is his powerful Christian faith, which he believes reinforces his simple framework by weighing outcomes on the basis of key Christian values.
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Mark Oestreicher on June 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
ben carson, in case you haven't heard of him (i'd only vaguely heard of him), is a world renowned neurosurgeon. i mean, world-renowned, like, he's one of the top pediatric neurosurgeons in the world. and, he's probably the number one neuro-dude when it comes to separating conjoined twins, joined at the skull. oh, and he grew up in a poor, single mom, household, on the tough streets of detroit.

so it's fair to say the guy knows a thing or two about considering risk.

this book is a story-rich explanation of how to consider risk, and how to make risky decisions. it's especially worth the read for anyone struggling to make a tough decision, and i've already recommended it to a couple people.

there are a few places where i felt the book wandered a bit -- i didn't think it was helpful to hear the long-ish excursions into the author's politics (deep into the book, and neither helpful nor necessary) as examples of risk.

BUT, the book has two significant strengths:

1. it is full of wonderful stories. seriously. rarely have i read a book with a single propositional or methodological point that has so many engaging stories. we see carson's risk-consideration formula played out in dozens and dozens of examples -- from his own life, and in the world around us. examples from his childhood, and lots of examples from the risk-filled world of pediatric neurosurgery. carson's a good storyteller (honed, i'm guessing, over years of speaking to teenagers -- nothing hones storytelling skill like speaking to audiences who aren't impressed by your resume), and effectively wields this throughout the entire book.

2. carson unveils a simple, yet very helpful, process for considering and deciding on risk. he calls it the bwa, or best-worst-analysis.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Williams on August 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
What happens to a society that is so fearful of risk, that common sense seems to go right out the window so often? The answer is that we live in a world where McDonald's has to put "Warning: Coffee is hot" on its coffee cups to head off silly lawsuits. And beach-goers drive hundreds of miles to get to the beach -- only to avoid swimming in the ocean because of an irrational fear of sharks [when in fact you're statistically far more likely to be killed in a car accident while driving to and from that same beach].

More importantly, society in general, and individuals in particular, miss out on opportunities to do the types of great things that only come from taking calculated risks. That's primary thrust of the book by Dr. Ben Carson - the famous pediatric neurosurgeon at John Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore.

If you've read any of his previous books (such as "Gifted Hands"), you probably already have a good idea of his rough background being raised by a poor, single mother in the ghettos of Detroit. And indeed, Dr. Carson does go over much of his past in this book, as well as how he overcame adversity and low expectations, to become the world-famous neurosurgeon he is today. However, in this book, he looks back at his past decisions in life through the prism of the risks he took -- and how they often paid off.

I highly recommend this book as a concise guide on how to arrive at good decisions using risk analysis as a primary tool. The main idea behind this book is that despite our best efforts, life is itself risky -- to wit, it is virtually impossible to eliminate all risk in life.

However, we can choose to realize that not all risks are necessarily bad, and that the secret to living life fully is by choosing to take acceptable risks.
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