Make Your Own Luck: 12 Practical Steps to Taking Smarter Risks in Business

Humans are gambling animals—and not just when we invest in the stock market. Every time we take an action—deciding which job applicant to hire, which product to launch— we are betting our time, reputation, effort, and money in the hope of achieving some future result.

Some people base their business bets on dumb luck, but the great ones. Eileen C. Shapiro and Howard H. Stevenson have … [ Read more ]

Predictable Surprises: The Disasters You Should Have Seen Coming, and How to Prevent Them (Leadership for the Common Good)

You and Your Organization Are at Risk

Were the earth-shattering events of September 11, 2001, predictable, or were they a surprise? What about the collapse of Enron in bankruptcy and scandal? Max H. Bazerman and Michael D. Watkins argue that they were actually “predictable surprises”-disastrous examples of the failure to recognize potential tragedies and actively work to prevent them. Disturbingly, this dangerous phenomenon has its roots … [ Read more ]

20/20 Foresight: Crafting Strategy in an Uncertain World

In this intriguing, clearly reasoned book, McKinsey consultant Courtney argues convincingly that managers can approach uncertainty systematically. Most managers, he says, either ignore potential problems or try to map out them out in painful detail. The better approach, Courtney contends, is to classify risk (e.g., a relatively clear future, a range of possibilities or true ambiguity) and hone a strategy based on a checklist he … [ Read more ]

Taking Technical Risks: How Innovators, Managers, and Investors Manage Risk in High-Tech Innovations

In this book Lewis Branscomb and Philip Auerswald address early-stage, high-tech innovation in the context of business decision making and innovation policy. The topics addressed include the extent to which purely technical risk is separable from market risk; how industrial managers make decisions on funding early-stage, high-risk technology projects; and under what circumstances government can and should act to reduce the technical risks of innovative … [ Read more ]