Letter: Heuristic traps and ‘The Last Traverse’

Published: 12/7/2020 12:01:17 AM

In my newspaper tube this morning were both my Concord Monitor and a welcome issue of the Laconia Daily Sun. The former had an insert “Give the Gift of Books” from Gibson’s Bookstore. I looked at the pages and noticed that local authors weren’t included. Now I’ve just bought and read Ty Gagne’s new book, The Last Traverse. I bought copies as Christmas gifts, going to both Gibson’s in Concord and Innisfree Bookstore in Meredith. Ty specializes for his career in risk management. Both the new book about a hike gone tragic on Mount Lafayette’s slopes and the former one (Where You’ll Find Me) focus on risk awareness. At the same time, each tells in a riveting way of real people and what went wrong when terrible weather conditions changed everything in winter hiking.

Gagne also talks about “heuristic traps,” which might explain why so many otherwise thoughtful Republican senators, Mitch McConnell at the top of the pile, fall in line behind President Trump. “The acceptance heuristic occurs because, according to Ian McCammon, we ‘have a tendency to engage in activities that we think will get us noticed or accepted by people we like or respect, or by people we want to like and respect us.’ ” A presidency comes with built-in urge to respect.

I buy this book with the idea that every relative or friend I give it to, people who do outdoors adventuring, may read it and pre-empt mistakes they could make by understanding what went wrong when even highly qualified adventurers fail.




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