Chance Rules pp 121-134 | Cite as

Taking Risks

  • Brian Everitt


A famous statistician would never travel by airplane, because he had studied air travel and estimated the probability of there being a bomb on any given flight was one in a million, and he was not prepared to accept this level of risk.

One day a colleague met him at a conference far from home and asked, ‘How did you get here, by train?’

‘No, replied the statistician, ‘I flew’.

‘What about the possibility of a bomb?’ his friend enquired.

‘Well I began thinking that if the odds of one bomb are one in a million, then the chance of there being two bombs is very, very small and is a risk I am prepared to take. So now I bring along my own bomb!’

Now I know that this is an old and not particularly funny story, but it does help to introduce the rather curious fashion in which many people evaluate the risks in their lives. Risk is defined in my dictionary as ‘the possibility of incurring misfortune or loss’; gambling is a voluntary form of risk-taking. Risk is synonymous with...


Risk Perception Beaufort Scale Overhead Power Line Annual Fatality Diet Drink 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.King’s College, School of MedicineLondonUK

Personalised recommendations