Risk Wise: Nine Everyday Adventures

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Profile Books, Feb 5, 2015 - Philosophy - 162 pages

Risk often gets a bad press. From the seemingly unnecessary actions of extreme sportspeople to the excessive risk appetites of serial entrepreneurs, the term 'risky' is often seen as synonymous with 'reckless', 'foolhardy' or even downright dangerous.

But could any of us live in a world without risk, and would it be desirable to do so?

Through a series of nine wonderfully rich pen portraits, Polly Morland takes us on a journey through the world of risk, looking not at the extremes or exceptions, but at the routine risks we accept and embrace as part of our everyday lives, often unconsciously.

Meet the families who have lived happily on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius for generations; the Paris Opera ballet dancer facing up to the physical, psychological and reputational risks her profession demands; the New York City forensic engineer for whom being first on the scene is just part of the day job. And marvel at the parents and playworkers who every day balance the risks and rewards of how much autonomy and independence to afford growing children.

The stories in Risk Wise address fundamental questions about risk and our perceptions about risk-taking. It argues that being risk wise - the ability to understand and accept risk as a force for good - is an essential part of the human experience and a route to living a full and rewarding life.

 

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Contents

Playing with fire
Under the volcano
The price of happiness
Étoile 5 The skyline
Up in the
The law of gravity
Possible futures
A life to save
Conclusion by Alain de Botton Afterword
Further reading
Acknowledgements
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Polly Morland is an award-winning documentary maker, and has directed and produced for the BBC, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel. She is author of the widely-acclaimed book, The Society of Timid Souls.

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