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

If your organizational culture creates risks for your agency, here are some change strategies

This is the third 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 March:  

Against The Tide: Rickover's Leadership Principles and the Rise of the Nuclear Navy

By Rear Admiral Dave Oliver (Ret.)

This is a well-written and fascinating book about a man who changed the course of history. 

In the news today are stories about the United States Secret Service and the need for a “change in culture” in that organization. I hear similar stories about jails in trouble and police departments in trouble and fire and EMS departments in trouble with everyone talking about “changing culture.” This is much easier said than done. How do you change a culture that has existed in an organization for decades? That is what this book is all about.  

Our Navy diesel sub-commanders in WWII were a tough bunch of hard-drinking, cigar-smoking warriors who did a fantastic job helping win the war for the good guys. Admiral Rickover was tasked by Presidents Truman and then Eisenhower to build a  “nuclear” fleet – and the opposition he faced from the heroes of WWII was unbelievable. Find out how he changed this culture so successfully. 

This is a must-read for everyone in leadership positions in public safety written by a fellow with some personal involvement in the story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Think Like a Freak

By Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

A sequel to their earlier work – "Freakanomics" – and again well done. The authors in this work continue to challenge the thought process used by so many people and this work will help “retrain your brain” on how to look at a problem and identify a viable solution. 

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

By Charles Duhigg

This book was recommended to me by Below 100 founder and Police1 columnist Dale Stockton, a long-time friend. This book is filled with examples of how we (as people and as organizations) get locked into a line of thinking – a habit – and how these "habits" can help us and hurt us.  

How did Alcoa Aluminum lower its injury rate and simultaneously increase share value? How did the United States lower the infant mortality rate so dramatically? What “habits” do you have that are impacting your ability to perform at the highest level possible.

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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