Working In Uncertainty

Improve your skills

In most situations we have limited control and knowledge, so our skill in dealing with this problem is relevant. Often, that skill is crucial. This page links to resources to help you develop your own skills. If you are young and without much life experience this could be particularly worthwhile, but I think anyone at any age can learn something from this varied collection.

The free resources include articles, self-tests, and case studies. I also provide a link to my book about risk mathematics.

For several years I have been using scenario-based tests to understand how we think in key situations at work where uncertainty/risk is important and I have seen huge differences between individuals. Most people give sensible responses in most situations. Some people are very wise and a safe pair of hands. Others I would be scared to put in charge of anything even slightly important.

Perhaps more worrying is that there are some situations where most people prefer approaches that history or science show to be dangerous (e.g. because of a hidden psychological trap).

The scope for improving the way individuals deal with key situations at work is huge. It can make you a much wiser, more effective manager. It can make your staff wiser, more reliable, and more effective. It can provide some protection against a range of unpleasant, stressful situations that arise when someone has made a poor choice. In short, if you make better choices in situations at work where uncertainty/risk is important you can be more successful and less stressed.

General management situations

Marketing decisions

Some special jobs

Excel at science

The major focus of philosophizing about science has been the reliability of its findings. The articles below add a focus on efficiency to this as well as introducing a perspective on what explanations are that solves some outstanding problems with philosophies of science and helps explain why some branches of science seem to be struggling.

More personal topics

Using statistics and mathematics

These articles, with code, explain simple Bayesian techniques in Excel

A pocket guide to risk mathematics, a book by Matthew Leitch

Although this book is aimed specifically at auditors, its clear explanations and tips on faults to watch out for are useful for anyone with an interest in the topic. What emerges is that 'risk' in mathematics is a young and poorly formulated idea when compared with the long heritage of 'probability' and 'value'. The book explains several common mistakes in 'risk analysis'.

These really are key ideas that every auditor should know.


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Words © 2018 Matthew Leitch