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

These books will help you appreciate the value of time and how that plays into critical decision-making

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This is the fifth 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 May:

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Field Command

By Charles “Sid” Heal

I met “Sid” Heal in the 1970s when he was with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. He retired as the commander of their SEB (Special Enforcement Bureau) and during his tenure there he also remained active in the USMC Reserve. This guy is a genius – and this book on “how to make things work in the field” is simply brilliant. I strongly recommend this to all supervisors and up in law enforcement – and for those of you who are trying to promote – this book will be of great help to you.

Listen to an interview with Sid Heal on Police1’s Policing Matters podcast about his new book, “Concepts of Non-lethal Force: Understanding Force from Shouting to Shooting”:

Wait: The Art and Science of Delay

By Frank Partnoy

If you have been to any of my lectures, you know I try to separate events into two types: “time to think” and “no time to think.” Those events that give us no time to think are the ones that need constant and rigorous” training. But most events give us some time to think – and my recommendation for years has been – if you have time to think, use it! So Mr. Portnoy has done a ton of research on this and takes it a step further. If you have time to think, use every bit of it. If you have an hour, use 59 minutes. If you have a year, use 364 days. A great book with a lot of practical examples.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

By Daniel Kahneman

Most of you have heard my thoughts on “NDT” and “DT” events (non-discretionary time vs. discretionary time) and how the brain works and the difference between fast and slow thinking. I have bored you with thoughts like “never make a split-second decision if you don’t have to” and similar type statements.

So, here is a question for you: You buy a bat and a ball for $1.10. The bat cost one dollar more than the ball. How much did the ball cost? If you are honest with yourself, many of you came up with the obvious answer of 10 cents. Well, the correct answer is not a dime, but a nickel. Many of you got the right answer, but you had to think just a bit to do that.

How about if I asked you that question while you were driving a car in the rain? How about if I asked you that question when you were tired? Does that make a difference in the way we process information? I ramble about these things, but Dr. Kahneman got a Nobel Prize for his work on how the brain works.

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.