It takes a certain type of economist—someone who’s devoted years to analyzing data but also possesses a keen eye for the quirks that guide humanity—to take apart, scrutinize and explain risk. And that’s why Allison Schrager’s provocatively titled book, An Economist Walks Into a Brothel and Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk, makes for a fascinating read.

It turns out there’s much more to risk than one would assume. Yet, as Schrager peels the onion and examines the layers, many of her observations aren’t that shocking. Much seems obvious, but in this book, it’s formulated in a way that feels new and enlightening. 

Life is risky. Anything can happen. Not everyone’s programmed the same way. Some people are...

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