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

This month's selection deals with how humans behave in the face of great risk, and what we can do to improve our chances of survival

This is the ninth 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.

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 September:

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why

By Amanda Ripley

Amanda Ripley is a brilliant author and "TIME Magazine" veteran who has developed a passion from her experience regarding how people react during tragedies and disasters. From 9/11 to Katrina to plane crashes to crimes of violence, how and why do we react the way we do? And more importantly, what can you do to perform better if involved in an "unthinkable event”?

The Impulse Factor: Why Some of Us Play it Safe and Others Risk It All

By Nick Tasler  

The cover caught my eye (it is a traffic signal) enough to read the summary of the book – and a great read it is regarding why some of us play it safe while others risk it all. If I offer you a guaranteed $1,000 in an envelope right now or a 50/50 chance for $2,000 in another envelope, which would you take? It seems like a no-brainer to me but about 25% of people will take the risk and go for the unknown rather than the sure thing. And I guess this is true because I watch some of the brainless decisions on "Deal or No Deal" and it makes you wonder what people are thinking about. Anyhow, this text deals with why we do some of the things we do. It also includes a very clever test that allows you to find out what kind of person you are with respect to risk. A fascinating read with a lot of great examples.

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why

By Laurence Gonzales

The subtitle on the cover says it all and hooked me: “Who Lives, Who Dies and Why.” This book offers a lot of thoughts on how the brain functions in an emergency and what you can do upfront to prevent your death. The checklist in the last chapter on what to do if you are ever in a “discretionary time” emergency is excellent.

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

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