The Value of Taking Risks
Curiosity and Its Twelve Rules for Live
by F. H. Buckley
Encounter Books, 2021
xx 228 pages
Frank Buckley, a Canadian-born lawyer who teaches at the Scalia School of Law at George Mason University, has given us in this remarkable book a philosophy of life, based on unusually wide knowledge and penetrating reflection. In what follows, I shall discuss only a few of the topics he covers, concentrating on his observations about politics and economics. In doing so, I risk conveying a wrong impression of the book, as these topics by no means exhaust it; but Buckley himself emphasizes the value of taking risks.
Buckley says, “Survival is not enough. We also need to create, to struggle and not to yield, to be curious about the world and what we owe other people. Every leap of knowledge and every entrepreneurial firm was created by a person who was curious.” His twelve rules of curiosity are these: don’t make rules; take risks; court uncertainties; be original; show grit; be interested in other people; be entertaining; be creative; be open to the world; don’t be smug; don’t overreach; and realize you’re knocking on heaven’s door.
He tells us that “uncertainty isn’t the same as risk. With risks, you know the probabilities for different outcomes…. Uncertainty is different. There are different possible outcomes, but you won’t know the probabilities for each. Instead, you’re in Donald Rumsfeld’s world of unknown unknowns.”
In our uncertain world, entrepreneurs who are willing to take chances when they cannot calculate the odds are crucially important for economic progress. “The anti-fragile entrepreneur [Nicolas Taleb’s term for those who thrive on uncertainty] must be willing to gamble on business opportunities.
Article from Mises Wire