Careful. A User's Guide to Our Injury-Prone Minds

Steve Casner

Riverhead Books, 2017

Agent: Sandra Dijkstra

A safety expert reveals why few of us are as careful as we think we are, and what we can do about it.

The modern world can be a dangerous place, filled with fast cars, smartphones, new drugs, and thrill sports. Meanwhile, we humans are as fragile as ever. In fact, after a century of steady improvement, injuries and accidental deaths are on the rise.

Steve Casner has devoted his career to studying the psychology of safety, and he knows there’s not a safety warning we won’t ignore or a foolproof device we can’t turn into an implement of disaster.

Careful is a user’s guide to our injury-prone minds. It helps us understand why we do things like insist on the fat-free salad dressing but then text and drive. Casner explains the psychological traps that can lead us to the scene of an accident. They’re the same whether you’re a pilot, a Hollywood stuntwoman, a parent, or the owner of a clogged dishwasher you’re trying to fix with a screwdriver. Then Casner shows us how and when the injuries happen, so we know exactly what we should really be worrying about.

Casner’s book helps us keep our fingers attached in the kitchen, our kids afloat at the pool, and our teens safe behind the wheel, and shows us many other ways we can take control of our own safety and get through the day in one piece.

Reviews:
"Casner makes an overwhelmingly compelling case for safety. One of the most intelligent and impactful books; everyone should read it.:
Library Journal (starred review)


“In his debut, Casner…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… 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.”
Kirkus Reviews


“Riveting and relatable, Casner’s book will inspire readers to take a good look at their own lives and the safety precautions they take on a daily basis.”
Publisher's Weekly


“Casner convincingly argues that we all need to make a habit of being more careful. A scientist and a natural storyteller, he takes the studies, data, and safety advice we usually tune out and turns it into gripping, page-turning material. This is a how-to-guide for a new way of thinking about survival in a world filled with hazards and distractions.”
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better


"We can all relate to Steve's blooper reel of everyday ways we hurt ourselves. Careful provides enough science and data to blow you away but the real-life stories will have you laughing. This helpful and hilarious book just might save your life."
Deborah Hersman, President of the National Safety Council and former Chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board


"'Be careful!' we tell our children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves. Admirable advice, but completely useless. As Steve Casner explains in this readable and authoritative account, the human mind is powerful and creative, but not well equipped for the unnatural requirements of modern living. This book is the solution, providing solid, practical advice based upon decades of scientific studies and years of practical experience."
Don Norman, professor and director of the University of California, San Diego Design Lab; author of The Design of Everyday Things



"Every day, your most dangerous activities take place on our roads. Your life shouldn't be on the line every time you go to work, school, or the store. With authority, humor, and vivid examples, Steve Casner will help you to be truly careful and safer on every trip, wherever you're going."
Mark R. Rosekind, PhD, 15th Administrator, National Highway Transportation Safety Administration