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You Are What You Risk: The New Art and Science of Navigating an Uncertain World

You Are What You Risk: The New Art and Science of Navigating an Uncertain World

by Michele Wucker


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The #1 international bestselling author of The Gray Rhino offers a bold new framework for understanding and re-shaping our relationship with risk and 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 we often create bigger risks than the risks we try to avoid? Why are corporate boards newly worried about risky personal behavior by CEOs? Why are some nations quicker than others to recognize and manage risks like pandemics, technological change, and climate crisis?

The answers define each person, organization, and society as distinctively as a fingerprint. Understanding the often-surprising origins of these risk fingerprints can open your eyes, inspire new habits, catalyze innovation and creativity, improve teamwork, and provide a beacon in a world that seems suddenly more uncertain than ever.

How you see risk and what you do about it depend on your personality and experiences. How you make these cost-benefit calculations depend on your culture, your values, the people in the room, and even unexpected things like what you’ve eaten recently, the temperature, the music playing, or the fragrance in the air. Being alert to these often-unconscious influences will help you to seize opportunity and avoid danger.

You Are What You Risk is a clarion call for an entirely new conversation about our relationship with risk and uncertainty. In this ground-breaking, accessible and eminently timely book, Michele Wucker examines why it’s so important to understand your risk fingerprint and how to make your risk relationship work better in business, life, and the world.

Drawing on compelling risk stories around the world and weaving in economics, anthropology, sociology, and psychology research, Wucker bridges the divide between professional and lay risk conversations. She challenges stereotypes about risk attitudes, re-frames how gender and risk are related, and shines new light on generational differences. She shows how the new science of “risk personality” is re-shaping business and finance, how healthy risk ecosystems support economies and societies, and why embracing risk empathy can resolve conflicts. Wucker shares insights, practical tools, and proven strategies that will help you to understand what makes you who you are –and, in turn, to make better choices, both big and small.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643136783
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 04/06/2021
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 482,088
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Michele Wucker coined the term “gray rhino” to alert people to the obvious risks that we are more prone to neglect yet have more power to manage than we might think. Her influential third book, The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore, has moved financial markets, shaped government policy and business strategies around the world, and inspired a popular TED talk expanding the idea to personal issues. She has been honored as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a Guggenheim Fellow and held leadership roles at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, World Policy Institute, and International Financing Review. She lives in Chicago. Visit her at and

Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 You Are What You Risk 1

2 The Meaning of Risk 15

Risk Perceptions and Personalities 31

3 The New Science of Risk and Personality 33

4 Risk Fingerprints Magnified 46

5 Who Thinks What about Risk and Why 61

6 Gender, Risk, and Stereotype Threat 78

7 Geographies of Risk 95

Attitudes, Judgment, and Tolerance 117

8 Beliefs, Values, Purpose, and Risk 119

9 Emotion, Reason, and Acceptable Risk 137

10 The Neurobiology of Risk 158

11 Risk and the Future of Work 173

Behaviors 193

12 Risk and Organizational Culture 195

13 Reshaping Your Risk Relationship 213

14 Risking Globally, Risking Locally 228

15 A New Risk Vocabulary 243

Bibliography 255

Endnotes 259

Acknowledgments 281

Index 283

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