A safety expert offers a concise, common-sense guide to not being killed by stupidity.
In his debut, Casner—a research scientist in NASA’s Human Systems Integration Division, which helps maintain strict safety standards for astronauts and others involved in the aerospace field—offers a sharp, concise review of the things that can kill or harm us, how we contribute to the problem, and what we can do together to make us all safer. With specific categories like transportation, watching children, interacting with doctors, and taking and giving advice, the author addresses universal, daily situations in which people are exposed to potential harm. One might think it’s another Silicon Valley cheer for technology, but not only does Casner think we’re less safe today, he believes the helpfulness of our available tools has reached its peak ability to save us from ourselves. “In this book I will argue that we have come to the end of a really good run,” he writes. “That we have wrung all of the big gains we’re going to get from putting rubber corners on stuff and saying, ‘Hey, don’t do that.’ Companies aren’t going to rescue us from this quandary with new safety features.” Instead, the author argues for a fundamental change in the perception of risk and our related behaviors. The risks he identifies in our injury-prone minds are delightfully simple, and he stresses the importance of paying attention, gauging risks, planning ahead, and looking out for each other. To illustrate his points, he uses real-life examples, from red light–running to the 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 people. Although Casner employs a gentle sense of humor, the book’s greatest strength is the author’s encouragement of compassion for others in everyday life: “We sometimes miss the point that we’re all in this together and we really are one another’s greatest resource.”
A modest proposal for a fundamental change to help us not hurt one another.