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Reading recommendations on risk management: 3 books to add to your June reading list

Revisiting military history to learn risk management lessons both on and off the battlefield

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This is the sixth in a year-long series where I 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 these gives you hints on how to recognize, prioritize and mobilize solutions for the risks you face in your organization.

I previously shared some tips for making notes and summarizing key points from the books I read, as well as some recommendations for other publications that will help you keep up with trends. Let me know what works for you and then check out my reading suggestions for June:

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

By Erik Larson

I thought this book would be a history read but it ended up being a “risk management” read.

I was told for years that the United States got involved in World War I after the sinking of the Lusitania. According to Erik Larson, this is not true. The US involvement in World War I did not occur until well after the Lusitania event, but the British thought that if they allowed the Germans to sink a ship with Americans on board that the US would then help out in World War I.

A fascinating trip through history from over 100 years ago and exactly what Mr. Churchill (yes, that Mr. Churchill) knew in WW1 about German Subs and where they were and what he did with this information.

Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy

By Ian W. Toll

We all watched with great pride the actions of the Navy Seals in Pakistan taking out Bin Laden. And we all watched what the Seals did off the coast of Somalia when the Maersk Alabama was seized by pirates. And these were not the first exploits of this great group of Navy personnel. So my question was “What is the history of the Seals?” Then the question became “What is the history of the U.S. Navy?” Then I came across this book and read it – and then reread it. Frankly, it gave me the chills on both readings – and is a fantastic read. It is all about “risk management” – but the words “risk management” do not appear in the book. On a personal note, I have visited the USS Constitution many times in Boston Harbor, but after reading this book, my next visit was an entirely different experience.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

By Laura Hillenbrand

Another work that I probably would not have bought but I got it as a gift from a friend of mine who ordered it electronically for me through Amazon and sent it to my Kindle. Who would have ever dreamed we would have this ability?

I have read quite a bit about the “Great War” and yet I had never heard of the focus of this book. You will be utterly fascinated about this story of “survival, resilience and redemption” but I put this into my “risk” section because of the detailed work that the author has on how many military personnel were lost stateside during training – and when you read the portion about 56,000+ “accidents” in aviator training with 19 Airmen dying every day, you will be as shocked as I was. A great read.

That’s it for this month. Let me know what you think of these books and share your leadership and risk management reading recommendations. Email

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.