I was recently asked by a young risk professional for recommendations on good books on risk. Here is my short list:
Against the Gods – The Remarkable Story of Risk, by Peter Bernstein – A great story as well as very informative.
The Black Swan, by Nassim Taleb – Some truly interesting concepts that risk professionals must understand. It is heavy going at times as you need to wade through what I found to be not so entertaining storytelling.
The Failure of Risk Management, by Douglas Cubbin – Really challenges the norm and heavily promotes quantification of risk – something all of us should be thinking more about given the truth that our subjective judgements on risk are often wrong because of our psychological biases (see next book on this list).
The Psychology of Judgement and Decision Making, by Scott Plous – Not strictly a risk book, however, comprehensive in its coverage of our biases and extensively references Daniel Kahneman who is known as one of the forefathers of Behavioural Economics (see two books down for his most recent book).
The Art of Choosing, by Sheena Iyengar. Excellent book with lots of great background on why we sometimes have difficulty choosing – different enough to the books on the psychology of judgement etc to be worth a read.
Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. Again not strictly a risk book yet clearly spells out some techniques to manage our pyschological biases and enhance our risk-based decision-making.
Inviting Disaster, by James Chiles. This book does not cover any technical aspects of the risk management discipline. It is an investigation into the causes of some of the most famous disasters in modern history. I have used many of these stories when running engagement workshops for management and staff.
If you would like to recommend a good book on risk, please comment below.