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An Economist Walks into a Brothel

And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk
Written by: Allison Schrager
Narrated by: Holly Palance
Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)
Regular price: ₹1,005.00
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Publisher's Summary

Is it worth swimming in shark-infested waters to surf a 50-foot, career-record wave?

Is it riskier to make an action movie or a horror movie?

Should sex workers forfeit 50 percent of their income for added security or take a chance and keep the extra money?

Most people wouldn't expect an economist to have an answer to these questions - or to other questions of daily life, such as who to date or how early to leave for the airport. But those people haven't met Allison Schrager, an economist and award-winning journalist who has spent her career examining how people manage risk in their lives and careers. 

Whether we realize it or not, we all take risks large and small every day. Even the most cautious among us cannot opt out - the question is always which risks to take, not whether to take them at all. What most of us don't know is how to measure those risks and maximize the chances of getting what we want out of life.

In An Economist Walks into a Brothel, Schrager equips listeners with five principles for dealing with risk, principles used by some of the world's most interesting risk takers. For instance, she interviews a professional poker player about how to stay rational when the stakes are high, a paparazzo in Manhattan about how to spot different kinds of risk, horse breeders in Kentucky about how to diversify risk and minimize losses, and a war general who led troops in Iraq about how to prepare for what we don't see coming.

When you start to look at risky decisions through Schrager's new framework, you can increase the upside to any situation and better mitigate the downsides.

©2019 Allison Schrager (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"In this delightful book, financial economist and risk expert Allison Schrager shows us that the same principles employed by multi-billion dollar pension funds can help us improve risk management in our own lives. She teaches these principles while entertaining us with a series of off-the-beaten-path case studies. By creating distance from our own experiences, she allows us to better understand the principles of risk. It works! Whether a complete novice or a seasoned risk professional, the reader is in for a treat: Bon Appetit!" (Robert C Merton, distinguished professor of finance, MIT Sloan School and Nobel Laureate)

“Allison Schrager offers a highly readable, yet nuanced, guide to navigating the risks inherent in today’s increasingly complex world. A must-read for anyone seeking to command, to govern, or to teach.” (General Stanley McCrystal) 

“If you want to understand risk better, you have to go into some unconventional settings. In the tradition of Freakonomics, that’s what Allison Schrager does as an economist, and her book is not just informative - it’s an entertaining read too.” (Adam Grant, New York Times best-selling author of Originals and Give and Take

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining, Educative.

Explains risk in a very interesting manner using anecdotes and real life examples. Great read !

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 14-04-19

Great Brothel Analysis But Oblivious To Bond Risks

The author's risk analysis of both sides of a brothel transaction is wonderfully creative. Yet, it is astounding that a PhD economist would repeatedly use the term "risk free" to refer to bonds, thereby evidencing a failure to appreciate credit and duration risk.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • henryj
  • 26-04-19

a few good stories

Good basic ideas and some good examples, but repetative and few specifics
Narration was good, easy to understand.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Madison
  • 23-04-19

Makes Risk Fun

Allison Schrager highlights different occupations and people who manage risk in their own ways, whether or not that’s how they thought about it that way. Prostitution, gambling, and sports.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tim
  • 05-04-19

​Public Domain

​I was listening to the Indicator on NPR and they were interviewing Allison Schrager who is an economist and who wrote this book, "An Economist Walks into a Brothel". I have many interests and economics is one of them. Unfortunately, this book won't make it to the best seller and I won't be surprised if I'm the only reviewer.

The information presented in the book is basic and logical to understand. Anyone who grabs this book should understand clearly the basic on economics. Instead of having to buy this informational book, I would like to see it in the public domain so that it will reach more readers.

1 of 10 people found this review helpful