Lewis Wolpert recommends five science books

Roland Chambers in Five Books:

RiskTell me about John Adams book, Risk

John Adams is actually a colleague of mine, and when I read his book it completely changed my image of risk. For example, Adams discusses at great length whether seat belts actually have reduced the number of accidents, and his point is that when you have a seatbelt on you might drive more dangerously, because you feel more secure. In other words he’s saying risk is not a simple, straightforward thing. He has this brilliant idea which I always quote. If you want to get people to drive more carefully, have a spike set in the steering wheel, pointing towards the driver’s heart. Isn’t that wonderful?

It's certainly a very vivid image

It’s about compensation. How you adjust for risk. I’m a cyclist. Adams thinks, how wise is it to wear a cycling helmet? Perhaps it makes you cycle more dangerously.

I’m a cyclist too, and on the road I divide the traffic into monkeys and rhinoceroses – those who avoid danger through agility and those who do it by putting on armour.

I do wear a helmet, I must admit.

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