Risk Book Summary - Risk Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Risk summary

Dan Gardner

The Science and Politics of Fear

4.2 (29 ratings)
20 mins
Table of Contents

    summarized in 9 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 9

    Modern society is chock-full of false fears.

    We’re constantly being told that the world is under threat, whether it’s from terrorism, climate change or global epidemics. It seems we live in dangerous times. But do we?

    We currently live in a so-called risk society. Ulrich Beck coined the term in 1986 to describe societies in which there’s a high sensitivity to risk, whether it’s cancer or nuclear war. The United States and Europe are both good examples.

    Beck noticed that risk societies were spreading throughout the world, especially as people grew more afraid of technological advancements.

    As technology improved, our news outlets became filled with stories intended to scare us. In fact, a study conducted by Eurobarometer in 2006 found that 50 percent of Europeans believed their cell phones were a threat to their health. Meanwhile, stories of terrorism, cancer, obesity and gluten intolerance have taken over our media.

    Most of these frightening stories are exaggerated, however. Frequently people don’t even understand the things they’re afraid of, like cancer.

    In a 2007 Oxford study, researchers asked women at what age they thought they were most likely to develop breast cancer. Twenty percent said it was their fifties, and over half said that age wasn’t even a factor.

    Only 0.7 percent knew the real answer: breast cancer is most common among women over the age of 80. Age is the single greatest determinant of breast cancer, not cell phones or anything else.

    And the only thing that rivals many people’s fear of cancer is their fear of terrorism, despite the fact that, statistically speaking, it’s very unlikely that you’ll die in a terrorist attack. It would be much more logical to fear the flu: 36,000 Americans die every year due to flu-related complications.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Risk?

    Key ideas in Risk

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Risk about?

    We live in a society that pushes us to fear what’s out there. Risk (2008) delves into the psychological and sociological reasons why fear is so deeply rooted in modern times, and why the world isn’t really as bad as we’re made to think it is.

    Best quote from Risk

    The heart has its reasons for which reason knows nothing of. – Blaise Pascal

    —Dan Gardner
    example alt text

    Who should read Risk?

    • Students of psychology, sociology or politics
    • Anyone interested in the media

    About the Author

    Dan Gardner is a former senior policy advisor and writer for the Ottawa Citizen. He’s won numerous awards for his writing, including the Amnesty International Media Award.

    Categories with Risk

    Books like Risk

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    26 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial