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You Are What You Risk

The New Art and Science of Navigating an Uncertain World


The #1 international bestselling author of The Gray Rhino offers a bold new framework for understanding risk in and how we can re-examine and re-shape our relationship with uncertainty to live more productive and successful lives.

What drives a sixty-four-year-old woman to hurl herself over Niagara Falls in a barrel? Why do young journalists risk their lives to tell the stories of strangers? Why do some people wait until the last minute to get to the airport while others get there much earlier than they need to? Why do entrepreneurs thrive in the face of uncertainty, while others cringe at the thought of leaving a stable nine-to-five job? Why are Asians more proactive in face of risk than Westerners? 

Risk-takers are motivated by factors as wide and culture and values, but it boils down to not just how much they have to gain or lose, but aware they are of these often unconscious influences and what they do to manage them.

In You Are What You Risk, Wucker examines why we avoid risk, when we should embrace it, and how we can re-examine and re-shape our relationship with uncertainty, danger, and opportunity to live more productive and successful lives.

Drawing on the stories of risk takers across cultures and generations, and integrating cross-disciplinary insights from economics, business and management, anthropology, sociology, and psychology, this ground-breaking, accessible book offers a completely new way to understand and face a changing world.

You Are What You Risk shares insights, practical tools, and proven strategies that will help readers to seize ownership of and make better choices about risks big and small. Wucker shows how the new science of risk personality is beginning to shape businesses and finances and offers a path forward, drawing on examples of activists, businesses and countries seeking to create a healthy risk ecosystem that supports creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in communities, organizations, and the planet. 

Wucker's profiles and research help to answer important questions: Why are some people good at averting crises at work but a mess in their personal lives? Why are we more likely to take chances when we are part of a group than when on our own? Are we born with our risk attitudes or do we pick them up along the way? What is the right amount of uncertainty to live with? The answers will surprise and challenge us – and make us think and act differently. 

Risk decisions have never been more crucial, particularly in a world where political turmoil, economic insecurity, technological transformation, and climate change have exposed us to unprecedented levels of vulnerability. Filled with practical tools and strategies, You Are What You Risk is a clarion call for a new approach to risk, urging readers to re-examine and re-shape our relationship with uncertainty, danger, and opportunity.

Michele Wucker is the author of The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore, which was the #1 bestselling English-language book in China. She is also the author of Lockout and Why the Cocks Fight. Wucker has been recognized as a 2009 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow. She has held positions including president of the New York City-based World Policy Institute; vice president of studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and Latin America bureau chief at International Financing Review. She has written for The New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and World Policy Journal, among others. She lives in Chicago.

  • Publisher: Pegasus Books (April 6, 2021)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781643136790