From cholesterol to cancer, asteroids to AIDS, we face more risks than our grandparents ever dreamed of. But most of us are 200 years behind the curve when it comes to making intelligent risk-based decisions: We refuse to fly, but don't wear seat belts in our far more dangerous cars. We panic about toxic waste dumps, but collectively smoke a billion cigarettes a year. In this entertaining and enlightening look at risk in the modern age, John Ross argues that the burgeoning science of risk assessment has given us powerful new tools to cope in a complex world, if we could only learn how to speak the language. Ross examines the building blocks of this new language, and helps us identify and relinquish long-held, often pre-set, biological and psychological responses to risk. Through vivid stories and compelling science, Ross empowers us to take control of our lives and to exercise our most basic democratic freedom--the power to make our own decisions--both as individuals and as a society.