Given the authors’ considerable experience in this targeted area, business managers interested in managing risk will find...



Consulting financiers offer an abbreviated, practical guide to risk management via performance benchmarking.

This overview proves, at the very least, that an abundance of words is not always necessary to explain a high-level business concept. In a scant 50 pages, Talbot and Jakeman describe and dissect performance benchmarking, here defined broadly as “comparing your organization’s processes and risk management performance against internal measures, industry standards, and best practices from other industries.” The authors focus primarily on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) because using them is “a key strategy for shaping and defining desired behaviors and outcomes—and, indeed, of managing operational risks.” In addition, Talbot and Jakeman cover performance standards, define performance and establish a reporting framework. A particularly helpful chapter discusses how to present KPIs to various audiences. While the authors emphasize the importance of a visual presentation, the visual aids needn’t be complicated. Talbot and Jakeman refer to the fact that they built a security-risk-performance scorecard for a multibillion-dollar organization using nothing more than Microsoft Excel. Despite the book’s brevity, it is enhanced with numerous figures illustrating causal links for KPIs, lag vs. lead indicators, KPI performance standards and more. Additionally, Talbot and Jakeman reference real-world examples throughout the text. The authors are careful to point out that, despite their value, KPIs require considerable thought in the development stage. One issue, for example, is to be certain KPIs are measuring the right things and addressing the underlying causes: “When things go wrong, it is tempting to allocate blame, ‘kick to contractor,’ or try to dodge responsibility. Unless the KPIs are truly meaningful and can specifically identify poor performance, this strategy is likely to be counterproductive.”

Given the authors’ considerable experience in this targeted area, business managers interested in managing risk will find this well-written guide of special value.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-1466377578

Page Count: -

Publisher: Resilient Risk, Ltd

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.


Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet