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Radical Uncertainty

Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award, 2020

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781408712603

Price: £25

ON SALE: 5th March 2020

Genre: Economics, Finance, Business & Management

LONGLISTED FOR THE FT/MCKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2020

‘A brilliant new book’
Daily Telegraph

‘Well written . . . and often entertaining’
The Times

‘A sparkling analysis’
Prospect

‘Entertaining and enlightening . . . This is a necessary critique and they make it with verve, knowledge and a wealth of stories’
Financial Times

‘An elegant, wise and timely book’ Irish Times

‘Jam-packed with erudition’ New Statesman



This major, critically acclaimed work asks a vitally important question for today: when uncertainty is all around us, and the facts are not clear, how can we make good decisions?

We do not know what the future will hold, particularly in the midst of a crisis, but we must make decisions anyway. We regularly crave certainties which cannot exist and invent knowledge we cannot have, forgetting that humans are successful because we have adapted to an environment that we understand only imperfectly. Throughout history we have developed a variety of ways of coping with the radical uncertainty that defines our lives.

This incisive and eye-opening book draws on biography, history, mathematics, economics and philosophy to highlight the most successful – and most short-sighted – methods of dealing with an unknowable future. Ultimately, the authors argue, the prevalent method of our age falls short, giving us a false understanding of our power to make predictions, leading to many of the problems we experience today.

Reviews

If you're interested in judgement and decision-making, this book is fascinating. If that's your job, Radical Uncertainty is essential.
Ed Smith
In this profound yet practical book, Kay and King demonstrate the obvious - that in crucial domains, we do not, will not, cannot know what is going on - and show, nevertheless, how to retain the ability to function.
Paul Romer
This fascinating and well-written book will resonate way beyond economics. It deserves to be widely read.
Mike Brearley
John Kay and Mervyn King want more people to grasp the old distinction between risk and uncertainty forgotten by a later generation of economists.
Niall Ferguson
Many books will make a reader better informed or smarter. This is one of very few that will make a reader much wiser. You will live differently and better after you grasp Kay and King's seminal lessons.
Lawrence H. Summers