MOLESWORTH, John. A History of Dangerous Assumptions. Over 200 intriguing and illuminating Cases linked by the mysterious Mischief of Assumption. London, Unicorn, .
8vo. Original boards; purple endpapers; pp. 239.
First edition, first printing. The ski historian (among many activities) has written an inspiring book about assumptions. We assume to know what an assumption is - Molesworth pins it down, explaining that hubris, misinformation, and certain character traits combined in one person almost guarantee that decisions will lead to disaster. An entertaining read which lets you re-discover some positivist thinkers, razor sharp logicians, no-nonsense statisticians and some horrendous results on assumptions, told with fine humour. - 'This book began as an experiment, to discover if acting on assumptions could be discerned through the ages. In fact, this matter of assuming... of jumping to conclusions... of lacking sufficient evidence... of taking things for granted... seems to have caused far more problems for civilisation than expected. From Hannibal's crossing of the Alps, to Bonaparte's march on Moscow; from the hubris of Icarus and Phaeton, to the toppling towers of the Tay Bridge; from the maddening phantoms of a Northwest Passage, to the sinking of the Titanic; from the Schlieffen Plan of the First World War, to the creation of assumptions in the approach to D-Day; from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Sherlock Holmes, here lies a highly contrasted trove of stories, episodes and anecdotes, their common link the mysterious mischief of assumption' (text on rear cover).