Worst-Case Scenarios is a powerful intellectual treatment about the most difficult problems facing society. The book makes it clear that these problems do not have easy answers. Sunstein's analysis also makes it clear that we would be better off if societal decision makers fully understood the insights he brings to these problems.
-- Max Bazerman, Harvard Business School
Sunstein cuts through a great deal of confusion that is preventing the development of coherent and rational public policies. The issues raised by low-probability, high-consequence events are becoming more important as the world is more interconnected. Governments and citizens are not prepared to deal with these issues. This book will help.
-- Jonathan Baron, University of Pennsylvania
Professor Sunstein provides cogent advice about how people should respond to low probabilities of catastrophe. He strikes a thoughtful middle ground, showing how we should be careful without being paranoid. While the applications to terrorism and climate change are insightful, his intellectual approach offers guidance for all sorts of possible catastrophes. The book is a must for leaders of business and government throughout the world.
-- John Graham, Dean, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Worst-Case Scenarios is a rich analysis, both explanatory and normative, of societal responses to catastrophic risks such as terrorism and global warming. Sunstein occupies the fertile middle ground between the proponents of traditional rational-actor models and cost-benefit analysis, and those who reject these approaches entirely.
-- Matthew D. Adler, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Worst-Case Scenarios is an important and timely book.
-- Glenn C. Altschuler Baltimore Sun
Sunstein's book is best when he discusses how we weigh up the costs of protecting ourselves against the benefits of doing so. Many object to cost-benefit analysis, regarding it as cold and mechanical, particularly the placing of monetary value on human lives. Sunstein accepts it is a rough instrument, but he argues that many of us implicitly use it.
-- Michael Skapinker Financial Times
Sunstein writes engagingly, though in a way that scolds us a little for our irrational foibles; and he can illuminate very complex areas of rational choice theory--controversies about future discounting, for example (most of us prefer the certainty of $10,000 now to the certainty of a larger sum ten years hence, even adjusted for inflation), and commensurability (the assessment of such diverse consequences as monetary loss, moral loss and the loss of a zoological species in some common currency of analysis)--so that intelligent thought about decision-making in conditions of uncertainty is brought within reach of the sort of non-specialist reader who is likely to have a practical or political interest in these matters...Sunstein illuminates a whole array of difficult and technical issues: the logic of irreversibility, the basis of low-level probabilistic calculations, the "social amplification" of large single-event losses, different ways of taking into account effects on future generations and ways of thinking about the monetisation of disparate costs and benefits.
-- Jeremy Waldron London Review of Books