Recommended Risk Management Books for Chiefs of Police

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This month marks the start of a year-long series in which I’ll share my top risk management reading recommendations. These are the books I review regularly regarding the discipline of risk management and related issues. Each of them gives you tips on how to recognize, prioritize, and mobilize solutions for the risks you face in your organization.

After I bought / got a book and started reading it I always have a highlighter and pen next to it. I highlight items in the book that I want to remember and jot down my thoughts in the margin. I then turn the corner on this page. It’s a little harder with my iPad because I’m a tech jerk, but figured out how to “bookmark” sentences and paragraphs for easier access after reading the book for the first time.

When I finish a great book with a lot of value, I put it on a shelf that I have dedicated to books that I really liked. At least once a year, I review these books. Now I don’t have to read the whole book, just the pages turned back and read the “yellow” areas and the notes. Just a thought for you, but this technique has worked well for me.

Here are my book suggestions for January:


Meltdown: why our systems are failing and what can we do about it

By Chris Clearfield and Andras Tilcsik

Often times I get a phone call or email asking, “Gordon, if there was one book you would recommend to get people thinking about risk management, what would it be?” ”

For years, I’ve told people that there are a bunch of good books on my reading list and that I don’t have a “favorite.” Well guess what? “Meltdown” says it better than anything I’ve read on the subject of risk management. Fantastic content and the writing style is excellent.

The writers speak of tragedies in multiple disciplines (most of which were in the news when they happened) and they brilliantly go “back in time” and point out any “issues lurking”. Most importantly, they come up with great strategies for getting your employees to proactively recognize and resolve these issues.

It is now my favorite book and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Premium: Hear author Chris Clearfield discuss how leaders can better solicit information to improve decision-making:

Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Occur

By Dan Heath

What an exciting read this book was. Dan Heath is a brilliant writer – and although I haven’t read his other books yet – I will now.

The examples he uses to show the benefit of ‘working upstream’ are just fantastic – and he ties his thoughts together to show the reader how many simple things can be done proactively to fix problems before they happen. arise.

My takeaway from this book was this phrase about trying out your ‘ideas’ to see if they work:’ The macro starts with the mic. »Try out your ideas on a small group before trying to fix the large group. I know you will appreciate his work.

Premium: Hear author Dan Heath discuss his heroes upstream:

Warnings ignored: two tragedies at Fairchild Air Force Base

By Andy Brown

If you have attended any of my live programs in the past 15 years, I have told people about the tragedy known as Czar 52. This terrible tragedy involving a B-52 in 1994 is narrated in detail in Dr. Tony Kern’s excellent work, “Darker Shades of Blue: The Rogue Pilot.”

Recently, a participant in one of my programs told me about a book by Andy Brown in which he again covers the tragedy of Tsar 52, but also covers a different event that happened four days before the crash of the B-52. This incident involved a mentally disturbed former airman who had traveled to Fairchild Air Force Base to kill medics who had tried to help him and Andy Brown arrested the killer.

Although the stories are tragic, the book is a well-written work, proving once again that when we ignore the problems that lie ahead, we ultimately have a terrible tragedy.

Premium: Listen to an excerpt from “Warnings Unheeded” below, then read 10 Lessons in Shooting from Fairfield AFB.

Loonshots: How To Feed The Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, And Transform Industries

By Safi Bahcall

The title caught my eye for a reason. If you ever visit my home office, you’ll see a beautiful jade sculpture – and you guessed it correctly – of a loonie. Mrs. G bought it for me in Lake Louise many years ago. Over the years, I learned (surreptitiously) that I was called “a loon”. “Gordon is a nice guy, but what a loonie. He really is there. When I saw “Loonsshots” in my search for books on risk management, I absolutely had to buy it and was not disappointed.

The author cleverly identifies the “loons” in various industries who got people laughing because of their crazy ideas – and yet those “ideas” ended up being brilliant strategies for success. Some of the stories you know – some don’t – but it’s a fun read with a lot of historical information that has filled a lot of the blanks for me.

Premium: Hear author Safi Bahcall explain how big ideas are widely dismissed as too crazy to be successful.

That’s it for this month. Let me know what you think of these books and share your reading recommendations. Send an email to [email protected]

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