Analysis Of ' The Engineer 's Lament '

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This paper is going to discuss the similarities and differences between two books and an article that all focus on the cost-benefit analysis and risk. Daniel Gardener, the author of The Science of Fear, and Cass R. Sunstein, the author of Risk and Reason, shared many view points and their books overlap in many ways. Malcolm Gladwell, the author of “The Engineer 's Lament,” focused on similar ideas as the other two authors, but had a different interpretation and way of presenting them. Risk is often evaluated based on a cost-benefit analysis, which is the underlying theme of the three pieces of writing. Sunstein defines it as “a means of overcoming predictable problems in individual and social cognition” (30). He believes that people interpret risk the wrong way; they assume that if something is high-risk it is low benefit and vise versa, but in reality high-risk usually means high-benefit. Cost-benefit analysis is meant to clear up the confusion and shine light on the small benefits that average individuals might not see. Gardner provided a very similar definition on cost-benefit analysis without actually stating its specific name. He stated that the way people decide which risk is worth preventing and which one is not is by considering “the probability of the event, its consequences, and the cost” all put together (Gardner, 2008: 62). If the cost of the risk outweighs its benefits, the money and efforts set aside for preventing it is better off directed somewhere else.

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