The best books about risk

Who picked these books? Meet our 20 experts.

20 authors created a book list connected to risk, and here are their favorite risk books.
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Red-Blooded Risk

By Aaron Brown,

Book cover of Red-Blooded Risk: The Secret History of Wall Street

Guy Thomas Author Of Free Capital: How 12 private investors made millions in the stock market

From the list on making a fortune in the stock market.

Who am I?

I’ve been an independent investor for nearly 25 years. In my previous life as an employee, I was a research actuary for a firm of pension consultants, and then a university lecturer. I left my last academic job at the age of 35 because I had made enough money to survive, and freedom was worth more to me than a salary. FIRE (Financial Independence – Retire Early) is what it’s called these days, but with two differences. First, I’m not retired: I spend most of my time on investing, but entirely on my own terms. Second, and relatedly, I’m an active investor, albeit a cheap one, nearly as cheap as an index fund.

Guy's book list on making a fortune in the stock market

Discover why each book is one of Guy's favorite books.

Why did Guy love this book?

All investing is risk-taking, and this is the best book on risk-taking that I know. Not just risk-taking as mathematics or games (although both of those are important), but risk-taking as a philosophy of life.

I would pick out two main insights. First, risk is intrinsically neither good nor bad, it is just a dial you can turn up or down. Second, your aim should be neither to minimise nor maximise risk, but rather to take the right amount of risk, and so achieve what this book calls “risk ignition”.

One contextual caveat: the value I see here is a deep understanding of risk, not specific recipes.  

By Aaron Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Red-Blooded Risk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An innovative guide that identifies what distinguishes the best financial risk takers from the rest

From 1987 to 1992, a small group of Wall Street quants invented an entirely new way of managing risk to maximize success: risk management for risk-takers. This is the secret that lets tiny quantitative edges create hedge fund billionaires, and defines the powerful modern global derivatives economy. The same practical techniques are still used today by risk-takers in finance as well as many other fields. Red-Blooded Risk examines this approach and offers valuable advice for the calculated risk-takers who need precise quantitative guidance that will…

Irrational Exuberance

By Robert J. Shiller,

Book cover of Irrational Exuberance

Robert Isaak Author Of Brave New World Economy: Global Finance Threatens Our Future

From the list on the world economy, finance trends, and options.

Who am I?

Since completing my PhD in political economy (dissertation: ‘International Integration and Foreign Policy Decision-making’) I have gone deeper into economic origins of change (eg. Modern Inflation, coauthored with well-known economist Wilhelm Hankel in Bologna, Italy at Johns Hopkins SAIS) and find the interactions between economic, politics, and psychology fascinating—presenting an infinite number of ‘Sherlock Holmes-like puzzles’. We are all now confronted with political, economic, and psychological uncertainties, put on high speed due to the war in Ukraine and great power tensions. So it is time to learn about the origins of our problems and their trends in order to better cope and find a basis for individual, if not collective, peace.

Robert's book list on the world economy, finance trends, and options

Discover why each book is one of Robert's favorite books.

Why did Robert love this book?

Shiller predicted both the dot-com crisis (2001) and the financial crisis stemming from real estate (2008) in advance in two editions of this book.

Since receiving the Nobel prize in economics he published his book Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral which together with the book recommended will help the reader predict the timing of coming economic trends.

By Robert J. Shiller,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Irrational Exuberance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this revised, updated, and expanded edition of his New York Times bestseller, Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller, who warned of both the tech and housing bubbles, cautions that signs of irrational exuberance among investors have only increased since the 2008-9 financial crisis. With high stock and bond prices and the rising cost of housing, the post-subprime boom may well turn out to be another illustration of Shiller's influential argument that psychologically driven volatility is an inherent characteristic of all asset markets. In other words, Irrational Exuberance is as relevant as ever. Previous editions covered the stock and housing markets--and…

Money Laundering Prevention

By Jonathan E. Turner,

Book cover of Money Laundering Prevention: Deterring, Detecting, and Resolving Financial Fraud

Mónica Ramírez Chimal Author Of Don't Let Them Wash, Nor Dry!: A Simple and Easy Guide to Protect Your Company from the Risk of Money Laundering

From the list on tackling money laundering risk.

Who am I?

The prevention of money laundering caught my attention, and at that time, with so little information on the market, I decided to write my first book so that more people can protect themselves from this crime. I have a gift: explain complicated topics in an easy way. This has helped me to write several articles on different topics in international magazines. I’m a passionate-effective trainer who believes that helping people to grow helps to make this world better. It’s my legacy! I like to do the right thing; take this as a reliable fact: I consult my own book and articles written. I hope to help you grow too!

Mónica's book list on tackling money laundering risk

Discover why each book is one of Mónica's favorite books.

Why did Mónica love this book?

If you want to know why money laundering is so appealing, in this book, you will find out why. The author, through his experience as an investigator, includes a chapter on the motivations that lead people to get involved in money laundering. It helped me a lot to understand why people do it; maybe you get surprised like I did. He also includes different mechanisms with which criminals move money and intertwines the relationship between fraud and money laundering, giving a useful perspective to minimize these risks in any company.

By Jonathan E. Turner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Money Laundering Prevention as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A how-to guide for the discovery and prevention of the illegal transfer of money Written for the private sector where most money laundering takes place this book clearly explains shows business professionals how to deter, detect, and resolve financial fraud cases internally. It expertly provides an understanding of the mechanisms, tools to detect issues, and action lists to recover hidden funds. * Provides action-oriented material that will show how to deter, detect, and resolve financial fraud cases * Offers an understanding of the mechanisms, tools to detect issues, and action list to recover hidden funds * Covers mechanisms for moving…

Our Public Water Future

By Satoko Kishimoto, Emanuele Lobina, Olivier Petitjean

Book cover of Our Public Water Future: The global experience with remunicipalisation

Andreas Bieler Author Of Fighting for Water: Resisting Privatization in Europe

From the list on struggles against water grabbing.

Who am I?

Andreas Bieler’s main research focus has been on the possibilities of labour movements, broadly defined, to represent the interests of their members and wider societies in struggles against capitalist exploitation in times of neo-liberal globalisation. His research on water struggles in Europe was motivated by the fact that this has been one of the few areas, in which resistance has actually been successful. Understanding the reasons behind this success may help us understand what is necessary for success in other areas of resistance. 

Andreas' book list on struggles against water grabbing

Discover why each book is one of Andreas' favorite books.

Why did Andreas love this book?

This edited volume provides an insightful collection of successful examples of the wave of re-municipalisations of water around the world.

Overall, there were 235 cases of water remunicipalisation in 37 countries, affecting over 100 million people between 2000 and 2015.

Reviewing the experiences of these instances of taking control of water back into public hands, the book provides a valuable discussion of what is necessary for making water re-municipalisation a success of progressive politics.

It outlines what is possible, but also what the dangers are, which need to be confronted. 

By Satoko Kishimoto, Emanuele Lobina, Olivier Petitjean

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our Public Water Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Against the Gods

By Peter L. Bernstein,

Book cover of Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk

Michael Smithson Author Of Uncertainty and Risk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

From the list on ignorance, uncertainty, and risk.

Who am I?

My interest in ignorance and uncertainty was sparked when I was an undergraduate mathematics student. I was taking my first courses in probability and then reading about Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, realizing that even mathematics contains untamed unknowns. Later, as a PhD student in sociology I read theories about how knowledge is socially constructed, the foundation of the “sociology of knowledge”. I wondered why there wasn’t also a “sociology of ignorance”. That ignited my interest, and the social construction of ignorance became my life-long research topic. I have since seen it grow from my solo efforts in the 1980s to a flourishing multidisciplinary topic of research and public debate.  

Michael's book list on ignorance, uncertainty, and risk

Discover why each book is one of Michael's favorite books.

Why did Michael love this book?

This was a real eye-opener for me when it appeared, because instead of the usual strictly modern-day stories about risk, Bernstein’s story begins with ancient Greek traditions when “risk” was luck and restricted to gambling, and the rest of life was a matter of fate.

He weaves together the invention of Arabic numbering and the Hindu zero, the emergence of scientific experimental methods, and the invention of probability theory, in explaining the evolution of the notion of risk. 

As the story moves into the modern era, Bernstein tracks the major practical applications of risk in addition to its conceptual development. And this is no dry historical recitation. Bernstein brings to life the major players, their hopes, dreams, capabilities, and flaws. This book is an absolute page-turner. 

By Peter L. Bernstein,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Against the Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Business Week, New York Times Business, and USA Today Bestseller "Ambitious and readable engaging introduction to the oddsmakers, whom Bernstein regards as true humanists helping to release mankind from the choke holds of superstition and fatalism." -The New York Times "An extraordinarily entertaining and informative book." -The Wall Street Journal "A lively panoramic book ...Against the Gods sets up an ambitious premise and then delivers on it." -Business Week "Deserves to be, and surely will be, widely read." -The Economist "[A] challenging book, one that may change forever the way people think about the world." -Worth "No one…

The Optimist's Telescope

By Bina Venkataraman,

Book cover of The Optimist's Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age

Carrie Firestone Author Of The First Rule of Climate Club

From the list on non-fiction to inspire community conversations.

Who am I?

I'm co-founder of a grassroots social justice, civic engagement, and service organization called ForwardCT, which I started with my friend and current state representative Eleni Kavros DeGraw with the intention of mobilizing community-centered action. Our work centers on these four pillars: Connect, Inform, Serve, and Lead. Those pillars guide my work as chair of my town’s Clean Energy Commission, as teacher and facilitator of workshops and events, and as an author of books for young people. I'm drawn to the powerful use of storytelling as a tool for starting conversations, stirring up “good trouble,” and inspiring activism. Read a book, approach your library or town to host a community conversation, leave with actionable takeaways, repeat!

Carrie's book list on non-fiction to inspire community conversations

Discover why each book is one of Carrie's favorite books.

Why did Carrie love this book?

As someone who hoarded toilet paper weeks before the 2020 shortage, I relate to the frustration of watching history repeat itself (or at least rhyme with itself) because people are often too distracted to focus on planning for looming crises.

Bina Venkataraman gets to the “why” of this often-fatal flaw as she explores the nature of human decision-making. This book provides tangible narratives as a springboard to answer these questions: How can we use wisdom from our ancestors to better inform our personal, professional, and policy decisions? How can we incentivize (or glitter bomb) long-term planning? And how can we see ourselves as future ancestors in order to be better stewards of the planet?

A perfect selection for corporate, government, and non-profit retreats and professional development conferences!  

By Bina Venkataraman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Optimist's Telescope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named a Best Book of 2019 by NPR

“How might we mitigate losses caused by shortsightedness? Bina Venkataraman, a former climate adviser to the Obama administration, brings a storyteller’s eye to this question. . . .  She is also deeply informed about the relevant science.” —The New York Times Book Review

A trailblazing exploration of how we can plan better for the future: our own, our families’, and our society’s.  

Instant gratification is the norm today—in our lives, our culture, our economy, and our politics. Many of us have forgotten (if we ever learned) how to make smart decisions for…

Daring Greatly

By Brené Brown,

Book cover of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Clifton Corbin Author Of Your Kids, Their Money: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Literate Children

From the list on personal finance to help you master your money.

Who am I?

I’ve been curious about how money, the economy, and businesses work since I was a kid. That’s why it was so infuriating when I became a young adult and made a total mess of my finances. After getting back on solid financial ground, I’ve devoted myself to learning everything I can about building wealth sustainably. But more importantly, I dedicated myself to helping others, especially young people, become financially literate. Through my books, events, and products, I want to ensure the next generation learns how to manage their money before they need to, so that they can avoid my mistakes and embark on a path to financial success.

Clifton's book list on personal finance to help you master your money

Discover why each book is one of Clifton's favorite books.

Why did Clifton love this book?

While not a book about money per se, it was the book that helped me let go of the shame I felt from destroying my finances as a young adult.

Unfortunately, money is still a subject that isn’t discussed openly. So many people can feel shame, guilt, and anxiety from money missteps. It can be easy to get trapped in a spiral of negative thinking regarding how we have been managing our finances. And without healthy outlets to learn and grow, we may look for solace in retail therapy or other destructive habits.  

Daring Greatly gave me the inspiration and courage to face the guilt and shame I felt about my finances. It gave me a roadmap on how to be vulnerable, experience joy, and let go of my shame. It also permitted me to understand that I am enough. An excellent book that should be a must-read for anyone…

By Brené Brown,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Daring Greatly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**Now on Netflix as The Call to Courage**

'She's so good, Brene Brown, at finding the language to articulate collective feeling' Dolly Alderton

Every time we are faced with change, no matter how great or small, we also face risk. We feel uncertain and exposed. We feel vulnerable. Most of us try to fight those feelings - or feel guilt for feeling them in the first place.

In a powerful new vision Dr Brene Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability, and dispels the widely accepted myth that it's a weakness. She argues that, in truth, vulnerability is…

Radical Uncertainty

By Mervyn King, John Kay,

Book cover of Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making Beyond the Numbers

Edward J. Hoffman, Matthew Kohut, and Laurence Prusak Author Of The Smart Mission: NASA’s Lessons for Managing Knowledge, People, and Projects

From the list on creating and sustaining knowledge at work.

Who are we?

The three co-authors of The Smart Mission: NASA’s Lessons for Managing Knowledge, People, and Projects have been at the center of organizational and leadership transformation. Dr. Ed Hoffman was NASA’s first Chief Knowledge Officer and the founding Director of the NASA Academy of Program, Project, and Engineering Leadership (APPEL). Matthew Kohut is the managing partner of KNP Communications. He has prepared executives, elected leaders, diplomats, scientists, and public figures for events ranging from television appearances to TED talks. Laurence Prusak was the founder and executive director of the IBM Institute for Knowledge Management and one of the founding partners for the Ernst and Young Center for Business Innovation.

Edward's book list on creating and sustaining knowledge at work

Discover why each book is one of Edward's favorite books.

Why did Edward love this book?

These are volatile and tumultuous times, which makes it difficult if not impossible to make decisions with any assurance of accuracy. Kay and King, in this very substantial and learned book, have written what we think is one of the best guides to making these decisions with the best tools and insights we have. The authors have the advantage of being very seasoned practitioners in several domains as well as extremely well-read in the subjects that impact decision-making under these conditions. Their emphasis is on the limits of current mathematical tools, and they advise that we use the more pragmatic and grounded understanding we have from history, philosophy, and our own experiences.

By Mervyn King, John Kay,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Radical Uncertainty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Some uncertainties are resolvable. The insurance industry's actuarial tables and the gambler's roulette wheel both yield to the tools of probability theory. Most situations in life, however, involve a deeper kind of uncertainty, a radical uncertainty for which historical data provide no useful guidance to future outcomes. Radical uncertainty concerns events whose determinants are insufficiently understood for probabilities to be known or forecasting possible. Before President Barack Obama made the fateful decision to send in the Navy Seals, his advisers offered him wildly divergent estimates of the odds that Osama bin Laden would be in the Abbottabad compound. In 2000,…

Danger Is Everywhere

By David O'Doherty, Chris Judge (illustrator),

Book cover of Danger Is Everywhere

Emily Snape Author Of Fergus the Furball

From the list on reluctant readers aged 7-11.

Who am I?

My sons were both reluctant readers and that made me want to write books that they wouldn’t be able to resist reading! Reading should be a pleasure and this list is packed with books that are impossible to put down. They are perfect for young, reluctant readers, as they are not trying to be too serious or worthy or overwhelming with too much text. They pull you in and hook you from the start and you can’t help being moved by the characters as they grow and develop, fostering a love of books and fiction. I love comedy in books, but funny books also have to have heart, believable characters, and a great plot that keeps you reading till the very end.

Emily's book list on reluctant readers aged 7-11

Discover why each book is one of Emily's favorite books.

Why did Emily love this book?

This book is totally hilarious! It’s really pacy, utterly wacky, and laugh-out-loud silly. The pages are packed with lots of funny illustrations so none of the text seems overwhelming or goes on too long. It’s a handbook on how to avoid danger, written by Dr. Noel Zone, the greatest (and only) "dangerologist" in the world, and covers sneaky snakes posing as toothbrushes, sharks hiding in toilets, to robots disguised as kindly grandmas. My son, a reluctant reader first listened to the audiobook- which is narrated fantastically (we were in fits of giggles listening to it in the car), and then he happily and quickly read the second two books in the series. I think audiobooks are a fantastic way to get kids hooked on new characters and discover new authors.

By David O'Doherty, Chris Judge (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Danger Is Everywhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets The Dangerous Book for Boys, DANGER IS EVERYWHERE is a brilliantly funny handbook for avoiding danger of all kinds that will have everyone from reluctant readers to bookworms laughing out loud (very safely) from start to finish.

Yes it does.

That too.

After you've made sure it's not a…