Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Insatiable Desire to Understand Risk

Although uncertainty and doubt are often discussed in OCD studies, I have found that there is also a wealth of material in business and science books. Here are three good 'uns.

The Nature of Risk by Justin Mamis

"Sometimes the biggest risk of all is taking one, and the need to be sure you are making the right choice actually increases the risk. The market is not efficient and hedging doesn't work. To rely on charts to understand the market is Mamis' way. The author is an excellent market technician who offers sound financial guidance and insights into the prepared mind. He gets your thinking going with a comfortable investment philosphy that will often go against convention. There are enough anecdotes, war stories, and charts to make for sound advise. The path to market freedom is technique, and you don't have to be one of the best traders to succeed with experience. It seems to me that the entire 1990s have confirmed the ambiguities of market language and how to operate in such a world. You will know how to keep risk at bay which most of us find not to be an easy task."

Complexity, Risk, and Financial Markets by Edgar E. Peters

"A groundbreaking look at complexity theory and its implications in the world of finance

Complexity theory tells us that processes with a large number of seemingly independent agents-such as free markets-can spontaneously organize themselves into a coherent system. In this fascinating book, Edgar Peters brings together scientific theory, the artistic process, and economics to show how the randomness and uncertainty of complexity theory can be applied to financial markets. Written in an engaging and accessible style, this is a thoughtful, conceptual look at the way free markets are, by their nature, continually evolving complex systems. Expanding on previous explorations of chaos theory, Peters draws on real-life examples ranging from the Asian crisis to America's love of conspiracy to show that complexity and randomness are necessary for the free markets to operate in a competitive manner."

When in Doubt, Make Belief: An OCD-Inspired Approach to Living with Uncertainty by Jeff Bell 

"When in doubt, make belief . For author and news anchor Jeff Bell, these are words to live by. Literally. As someone who has spent much of his life battling severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Bell has had to overcome crippling uncertainty few people can imagine. In this powerful follow-up to his critically acclaimed memoir, Rewind, Replay, Repeat , Bell expounds on the principles of applied belief that allowed him to make such a remarkable recovery from this “doubting disease” and the lessons he’s learned while traveling the country talking about doubt. With the help of more than a dozen leading experts, Bell offers readers practical techniques for pushing through the discomfort of uncertainty — whether it stems from OCD or just everyday worries — and demonstrates how a shift from decisions based on fear and doubt to ones based on purpose and service can transform any life."


  1. Thwarted! I thought this was going to be about the Parker Brothers war game.

  2. The Parker Brothers game is full of risk. Make sure you take North America AND Kamchatka. I recall a marathon game that went on for days, only to be ended in an appocalypse when a dice-roller (ok, it was me) clipped the corner of the board and sent the pieces into orbit -- the ultimate unforseen risk -- a "black swan" event.