To what degree should we rely on our past to determine our future? This riveting book describes how the rational process of risk taking propelled the progress of science and enterprise into the modern world of speed, power, instant communication, and sophisticated finance. Risk management is now an indispensable skill whose applications range from allocating wealth through planning a family to wearing a seatbelt. Drawing upon history and biography to trace the development of its concepts, the author explains the origin of risk management--the basics of probability, sampling, regression to the mean, game theory, and rational versus irrational decision making. Bernstein introduces complex concepts via an accessible, entertaining narrative between the great minds behind the ideas. Against the Gods features the epic quests and questions of great thinkers such as Pascal, Fermat and von Neumann who have embarked on a reworkable adventure of intellectual discovery, proving that the future is more than just the whim of the gods, that men and women are not passive before nature.