You Bet Your Life

An Encyclopedia of Risk

By Editors of Abbeville Press .

Release Date
Format Hardcover 400 pages 5.5 x 8.5 inches
ISBN-13 978-0-78927-017-7

Here is the gritty and granular truth behind the wagers we make with our lives every single day—and, sometimes, as it turns out, just once in a lifetime.

What are your chances of living through the next 24 hours? This week? This month? This decade? Will your job kill you? Your car kill you? Your spouse kill you? Or will your own bad habits kill you? And how does where you live increase or decrease your risk?

Or will a rogue asteroid just kill us all? You Bet Your Life applies to you, the individual, the analytical approach insurance companies use to calculate risk: actuarial science. The result is a comprehensive, encyclopedic, real-world assessment of the risks we take every day of our all-too-finite lives.

The cold, hard truth will intrigue, surprise, amuse, and sometimes even shock you.

Arranged A to Z by risk, entries include:

Bathtubs: Safer than a swimming pool?

Cigarettes: How risky is smoking, really? (And what about “the occasional cigarette”?)

Dating online: Riskier than hooking up at a bar? Dog ownership: Does owning a dog make me safer or put me at greater risk? (What about a pit bull?) Driving: Just how dangerous is it? (And what about that classic car without airbags or ABS?)

Eating at a restaurant: During flu season? (During flu season if you’re over sixty?)

Elevators: Safer than an escalator? The stairs? Shark attack: What are my chances of being killed by a shark? Versus the drive to the beach? Versus a bee sting? Versus using a trampoline?

Sleep: What are the odds of dying in slumber?

Youth mortality: How risky is growing up?

The encyclopedia is introduced by an essay explaining how objective actuaries calculate risk versus how those with agendas—in government, industry, finance, science, technology, and religion—arbitrate hazard with their own competing calculi of risk and reward.

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