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  • Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose in Avalanche Path

Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose in Avalanche Path

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What are our odds of surviving in Avalanche Country? The psychology of risk-taking behavior

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Author Bruce Kay explores this puzzle in Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Drawing from the experiences of his peers and his own 35 years as a climber, skier and avalanche professional, Kay explains why avalanche country demands a unique mindset of managing risk by consideration of the unknown as much as the known. He explores related topics, including:

  • The Siren Song of Culture
  • Intuition and Bias – what is the difference
  • Optimism and Luck – do we roll the dice or calculate risk?
  • The Expert Illusion
  • Strategic Mindset

Using the work of Ian McCammon, Gary Klein and the Nobel Prize winning Daniel Kahnemen, Kay shows how the avalanche problem is nearly perfectly designed to produce errors in judgement, yet still provide opportunity for solution. This is brought to life using case studies and adrenaline – pumping stories from fellow professionals and recreationists. He warns that his book may at times “demand a bit more of the reader than the average ski video,” but if truly interested in surviving to ski another day, this book is for you.



This is the best avalanche safety book you will ever read about the psychology of risk-taking behavior that applies not just to avalanche risk but all of life’s important decision-making from playing the stock market to love and politics.


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