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Risk, Choice, and Uncertainty

Three Centuries of Economic Decision-Making

Risk, Choice, and Uncertainty offers a new narrative of the three-century history of the study of decision making, tracing how crucial ideas have evolved and telling the stories of the thinkers who shaped the field. George G. Szpiro examines economics from theories of optimal decision making to behavioral science.

Author Information

SzpiroGeorge G.:

George Szpiro (Ph.D., mathematical economics and finance, Hebrew University) has for the past thirty years worked as correspondent of the Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung, which has a readership of 500k. He is the author of Kepler’s Conjecture (John Wiley, 2003), Numbers Rule (Princeton University Press, 2010) and Pricing the Future (Basic Books 2011), among others.George G. Szpiro is an award-winning author and journalist. A longtime correspondent for the Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung, his many books include Numbers Rule: The Vexing Mathematics of Democracy, from Plato to the Present (2010) and Pricing the Future: Finance, Physics, and the 300-Year Journey to the Black-Scholes Equation (2011).


Maria Pia Paganelli, Trinity University:
Risk, Choice, and Uncertainty is a well-organized and pleasantly written account of the history of economics seen through the lens of individual decision making, ranging from expected utility to prospect theory. It will be of interest to a lay audience and curious students alike.

Bernhard von Stengel, Professor of Mathematics, game theorist, London School of Economics and Political Science:
Economic theory treats humans as "utility maximizers". But what is "utility"? 300 years ago, Daniel Bernoulli declared it as relative gain in wealth. Later it became an abstract scale for consistent preferences, but this postulated "rationality" has its own paradoxes and controversies as concerns actual behavior. George Szpiro's sweeping historical tour de force of this topic entertains, informs and delights.

Sylvia Nasar, author of Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius:
Risk, Choice, and Uncertainty is a masterpiece of intellectual biography. In his best book to date, Szpiro’s wit and stylish writing make the history of thinking about thinking both intriguing and accessible.

Harry Markowitz, winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences:
In Risk, Choice, and Uncertainty, George Szpiro presents a remarkably readable, nonmathematical account of the theory of choice between risky alternatives.

Audience: General/trade;