Sunday, July 13, 2008


The Science and Politics of Fear, by Dan Gardner.
Quickie Recap: We have two processing systems when we are contemplating a threat to ourselves: our gut, and our head. Gut is quick to react, but often wrong. Gut doesn't differentiate between a little risk, and a big risk. Politicians and journalists have been all too happy to take advantage.
Quickie Review: I like to think that I'm relatively aware, when reading a newspaper or watching a news network, of the games they play, but I still feel this book will change the way I digest the news. Gardner focuses on the things we are familiar with: crime rates, cancer prevalence, the threat of terrorism, and basically breaks down how the media (and the people behind the media) have blown these all out of proportion, so that we all tend to overestimate the actual risk of these things, while grossly underestimating the things we actually should be worried about. Psychologists have known for years that we are vulnerable to misinterpreting the data when appeals are made to our emotions, and the very first work in this field was done by people working for the tobacco industry....Yeah.
Quickie Recommendation: It's not a "page-turner", but it is well-written, interesting, and informative.

1 comment:

sage said...

Last year I read and reviewed "Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why" The author, in exploring diasters, spends time discussing how the brain and gut work together and against each other... This book sounds good too.

For my review: