The Art of Risk
Taking chances and risks is something many will steer away from where others are more adventurous and will attempt just about anything. Author Kayt Sukel starts out her book with her adventure meeting someone, getting married quite fast and then becoming a mother only to learn that she made a mistake. Single parenthood is not easy and dealing with life became more of a challenge. Where she took more chances and you might say lived life more on the edge she became more complacent, more ordinary and fit into the norm of everyday living by playing it safe and not dealing with too many challenges that might hinder her stability. Was she no longer a risk taker? What would add some spice or adventure to her life? The Art of Risk deals with this very question and much more. The author defines risk in many ways and clarifies the different situations that each definition fits until the final chapter and the last two lessons where she elaborates, fine tunes and defines risk in terms that we can all grab on to and work with. Risk is defined as a decision or behavior that has a significant probability of resulting in a negative outcome. Not very positive is it but yet a logical way of looking at risk and dealing with both negative and positive outcomes.
The author relates different instances regarding Risk stating that gamblers often take different kinds of risks when they decide how much or how little to bet. She gives examples of some that are given 250 to bet and bet it all or some that bet nothing and others just a fraction. Some do things just to see the outcome and risk the danger. Others sometimes do not realize what the end result might be and never weigh the chances of failure, success or the probability of whether their results or result will be negative or positive and which outcome outweighs the other. The author begins to wonder what happened to her that makes her not take so many chances as she did when she was younger. Not want to change her job, knowing she has a child to care for, not travel as much, do dangerous sports or even buy a new house and move. The case of Michelle who had a great paying job, steady income, benefits, great home, friends and a great life working in a company that she loved but was she bored? Did she need a change? Someone was going to start a start-up company and she was offered a bump in salary, position but it meant moving and taking a chance that the company would survive the first year and that she would not be out of a job. What about the security of the job she had? To find out what she does you are going to have to read the book because the reader should solve mysteries. Choices are made and the importance of different parts of our brain that create different types of thinking is described and well researched. Risk management has many definitions and the author relates that you can take risks starting a new job, applying for a new job, starting a column or blog, or even just meeting new people. Staying safe is what she is complaining about and not taking those risky chances she did when she was young. But, how would you define dangers? Taking advantage of a new job opportunity, buying a more expensive car, taking that trip you always wanted what is the probability that something good or bad might happen? Will you regret not taking that chance?
The research that the author did is extensive but the chapters dealing with teens was interesting as she introduces us to Jonathan a great student, sports oriented, great friends yet at times taking risks and making bad choices. There are many people that go into situations without really taking the time to consider the risks or the consequences. Gamblers might make that one huge bet because they think a big win is coming their way. Yet someone else might weight the pros and cons. Men as the author states might go into a huge game of Texas Hold-Em where a woman might think twice. The story about the mountain climber and sky diver who takes risks and when her husband Mario died she went on to still and still does take even more risks just two weeks later.
Discussing the three many concepts of risk, when different professionals take risks, sports starts chancing in basketball that three point shot, hedge fund managers, those dealing in stocks and portfolio managers each run the risk of losing money for themselves and clients. Some take higher ones while others lower. Talking with different professionals and getting their take on when they take risks its even as I know difficult to decide sometimes if you want to chance a surgery that might help you or it might not. How the brain deals with risk, risks and emotions and stress are all discussed. The stories and case studies help bring the information into better focus.
Risk and Connection are the prime focus of chapter 8 and Risk and Emotion, which I found really interesting and has bearing I think on most of our lives, is where I will continue. Emotions play an integral part when dealing with risk and at times the author shares her interviews with businessmen who often take chances and are not quite concerned about the end result. One even describes risk and then the affect of taking that risk. John Danner has a great smile but at times according the author seems too happy. He she shares was the first one to suggest that online advertising would help “pay for much of the Internet’s rapidly expanding content- keeping the Web open and free to users.” She continues by stating that he created an education technology company that could help children despite all those cuts by using online tools to fill the gaps. “Rocketship,” is the model and it is described in detail on pages 174 and 175. Next she discusses emotion vs. Affect and she has learned today’s scientists have learned that a little emotion, or the more
“ Muted feeling of affect, isn’t always a bad thing.” She goes on to explain that it’s certainly not a decision killer. In fact, affect can also help us better to assess risk in some situations. “ As we make decisions we can think about things that scare us and get the negative gist of it. It’s what Slovic calls affect.” She continues to explain more of his thoughts and then discusses Somatic Markers and Risk. Riak and Stress is the focal point of Chapter 10 followed by Risk and Recovery. She shares an infinite amount of information related neuroscience, psychology and business. Understanding your fear of risk? Taking control of your choices and then learning about the research and even why kids and teens do the wrong thing and how growth hormones come into play are all a part of understanding The Art of Risk.
The final sections deal with Risk Now and Future. She concludes by reminding readers that at one time she was a risk taker and now she would like to rekindle that but by being a smarter risk taker. Working with scientists and real world risk takers the author learned many lessons and hoped to build on them in her own life. The last section is titled : Reset Your Definition of Risk: Risk is simply the author states: A decision or behavior that has a significant probability of resulting in a negative outcome.” Risk is part of every decision you make even how what job you take, how much you spend on a high ticket item even in the case of teens whether they have protected or unprotected sex and the risk of both. So whether you are a firefighter, police officer, soldier, BASE jumper, Special Forces operator or brain surgeon risk plays an important role Once you accept the fact that everyone even little children take risks the next step is to define and recognize what kind or risk-taker you are. In order to find out and solve the mystery yourself read pages 258-262. Finally take the leap and then realize that risks just might make you sharper, you will learn more, grow, and possibly reach your goals and dreams. So, without any thought and don’t be afraid start by taking a good risk and reading THE ART OF RISK to learn just where you fit in. But, beware: Read this first before deciding to sky dive, jump out of a plane or even climb a mountain. Risks: We all take them. We all hope we will succeed as you look around you, take stock or your surroundings and go for it: Time is the time to start! Interesting book. Great learning experiences and understanding that risks can improve your life when you are sure what kind of risk-taker you are and when you understand: THE ART OF RISK!
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ Magazine