Thursday, April 16, 2009

Risk Taking and Decision Making

I gave a talk yesterday about the Art of Living Dangerously at the Minnesota High Tech Conference. Some of what I spoke about is based on the work of a number of well known academics who more or less pioneered the ideas of measuring and analyzing an individual's proclivity to assume risk.


A number of people asked me for additional information on the field of risk taking and decision making. Here are some books I recommend on the subject.

  1. "Risk Taking, A Managerial Perspective" by Zur Shapira. It's good, although I'd have say it's pretty densely written, and doesn't lend itself to skimming.
  2. "Behavioral Expressions and Biosocial Bases of Sensation Seeking" by Marvin Zuckerman. This is a terrific book should be read by more people. No doubt the title puts people off.
  3. "Choices, Values, and Frames" edited by Amos Tversky. Covers the concept of framing bias in risk taking and decision making.
  4. For a book on decision making in general, apart from looking strictly at risk taking psychology, consider "Decision Making" by the editors at Harvard Business School
  5. Finally, there is much information on risk taking psychology and suggestions on ways to improve your life through wise and rational risktaking in my new book, Absinthe and Flamethrowers: Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously. It will be widely available in June. To reserve a copy, preorder now on Amazon by clicking below:

An adapted version of Zuckerman's Sensation Seeking Scale V psychological test is available online here . Note that SSSv and provides a more detailed breakdown of risk taking behavior than the SSSVI version we took at MHTA. The online test provides raw scores and some interpretation.

Fully interpreting SSSv is a bit involved, but there are instructions in the Zuckerman Book listed above.


I speak professionally and consult with organizations on this subject and would be happy to discuss working with your organization. For more information, please visit

1 comment:

R2K said...

: )