Gray Rhino Blog

I am delighted to participate in the ESG Global Leaders Summit. This important conversation could not be more timely. This July was the hottest month ever recorded. A billion or more sea creatures were cooked to death off the coast of Canada as heat records were shattered. Smoke from raging wildfires in the Western United States has continued to drift across the continent.

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Each one of us has a risk personality that is as distinct as a fingerprint. Our risk fingerprints start with our underlying personality traits, which you might think of as the ridges, arches, loops, and whorls that give the fingerprint structure and make it distinctive. Our experiences alter the fingerprint much as a cut might leave a scar. Just as a real fingerprint offers forensic analysts clues to identity, the risk fingerprint offers a window into who each of us is: how we feel about authority and power, about our sense of human agency, how we relate to each other in groups, and broader cultural differences that can make societies particularly risk sensitive or risk blind. It sheds light on what people hope and fear—and why—and how much power they feel they and their leaders have over the world around them.

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As thrilling as it is to see a new book being “born” it’s also a bit terrifying for authors to release our ideas into the world. Will people “get” what we’re talking about? Will they disagree? Will they find an error that went uncaught? Worst of all, will they decide not to pay attention at all? It’s risky to invite readers to embrace and adapt an idea, because they sometimes mean it in ways we’d prefer them not to.

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