The Failure of Risk Management: Why It's Broken and How to Fix It / Edition 1

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The 2008 credit crisis, terrorism, Katrina, computer hackers, andair travel disasters all have something in common-the methods usedto assess and manage these risks are fundamentally flawed. If riskscannot be properly evaluated, risk management itself becomes thebiggest risk. The Failure of Risk Management shows you howto identify and fix these hidden problems in risk management.

Ineffective risk management methods, often touted as "bestpractices," are passed from company to company like a bad viruswith a long incubation period: there are no early indicators of illeffects until it's too late and catastrophe strikes. Exploring whyrisk management fails—the failure to measure and validatemethods as a whole or in part; the use of components known not towork; and not using components that are known to work—TheFailure of Risk Management shows you how to measure theperformance of risk management in a meaningful way, identify whererisk management is broken, and fix it.

Respected expert and bestselling author Douglas Hubbard-creatorof the critically praised Applied Information Economics(AIE)—uses real-world examples to reveal the serious problemsin our current approaches to risk analysis. Hubbard skillfullyillustrates how to use a calibrated risk analyses approach, and themany benefits that go along with it, along with checklists andpractice examples to get you started.

One of the first resources to apply risk management across allindustries, The Failure of Risk Management provides you withthe tools you need to hit the ground running with radically betterrisk management solutions.

Here, you'll discover:

  • The diversity of approaches to assess and mitigate risks
  • Why many influential methods-both qualitative and quantitativedon't work
  • Why we shouldn't always trust assessments based on "experience"alone
  • The fallacies that stop you from adopting better riskmanagement methods
  • How those who develop models of risks justify (in error)excluding the biggest risks
  • Adding empirical science to risk management
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"…shows how to identify and fix hidden problems in risk management. He uses real world examples to reveal serious problems in common quantitative and qualitiative approaches to risk analysis." (Book News, August 2009)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470387955
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/27/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 643,142
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas W. Hubbard is the inventor of Applied Information Economics (AIE). He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of measuring intangibles, risks, and value, especially in IT value, and is a popular speaker at numerous conferences. He has written articles for InformationWeek, CIO Enterprise, and DBMS magazine. His AIE method has been applied to dozens of large Fortune 500 IT investments, military logistics, venture capital, aerospace, and environmental issues. Doug is the author of How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business (Wiley).
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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv


CHAPTER 1 Healthy Skepticism for Risk Management 3

Common Mode Failure 4

What Counts as Risk Management 8

Anecdote: The Risk of Outsourcing Drug Manufacturing 11

What Failure Means 16

Scope and Objectives of This Book 18

CHAPTER 2 Risk Management: A Very Short Introduction to WhereWe've Been and Where (We Think) We Are 21

The Entire History of Risk Management (in 800 Words or Less)22

Methods of Assessing Risks 24

Risk Mitigation 26

The State of Risk Management According to Surveys 31

CHAPTER 3 How Do We Know What Works? 37

An Assessment of Self-Assessments 37

Potential Objective Evaluations of Risk Management 42

What We May Find 49


CHAPTER 4 The “Four Horsemen” of Risk Management:Some (Mostly) Sincere Attempts to Prevent
an Apocalypse 55

Actuaries 57

War Quants: How World War II Changed Risk Analysis Forever59

Economists 63

Management Consulting: How a Power Tie and a Good Pitch ChangedRisk Management 68

Comparing the Horsemen 74

Major Risk Management Problems to Be Addressed 76

CHAPTER 5 An Ivory Tower of Babel: Fixing the Confusion aboutRisk 79

The Frank Knight Definition 81

Risk as Volatility 84

A Construction Engineering Definition 86

Risk as Expected Loss 86

Risk as a Good Thing 88

Risk Analysis and Risk Management versus Decision Analysis90

Enriching the Lexicon 91

CHAPTER 6 The Limits of Expert Knowledge: Why We Don't KnowWhat We Think We Know about Uncertainty 95

The Right Stuff: How a Group of Psychologists Saved RiskAnalysis 97

Mental Math: Why We Shouldn't Trust the Numbers in Our Heads99

“Catastrophic” Overconfidence 102

The Mind of “Aces”: Possible Causes and Consequencesof Overconfidence 107

Inconsistencies and Artifacts: What Shouldn't Matter Does111

Answers to Calibration Tests 115

CHAPTER 7 Worse Than Useless: The Most Popular RiskAssessment Method and Why It Doesn't Work 117

A Basic Course in Scoring Methods (Actually, It's the AdvancedCourse, Too—There's Not Much to Know) 118

Does That Come in “Medium”?: Why Ambiguity Does NotOffset Uncertainty 123

Unintended Effects of Scales: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You130

Clarification of Scores and Preferences: Different butSimilar-Sounding Methods and Similar but Different-Sounding Methods135

CHAPTER 8 Black Swans, Red Herrings, and Invisible Dragons:Overcoming Conceptual Obstacles to Improved Risk Management145

Risk and Righteous Indignation: The Belief that QuantitativeRisk Analysis Is Impossible 146

A Note about Black Swans 151

Frequentist versus Subjectivist 158

We're Special: The Belief that Risk Analysis Might Work, But NotHere 161

CHAPTER 9 Where Even the Quants Go Wrong: Common andFundamental Errors in Quantitative Models 167

Introduction to Monte Carlo Concepts 168

Survey of Monte Carlo Users 172

The Risk Paradox 174

The Measurement Inversion 176

Where's the Science? The Lack of Empiricism in Risk Models178

Financial Models and the Shape of Disaster: Why Normal Isn't soNormal 181

Following Your Inner Cow: The Problem with Correlations 187

“That's Too Uncertain”: How Modelers JustifyExcluding the Biggest Risks 191

Is Monte Carlo Too Complicated? 195


CHAPTER 10 The Language of Uncertain Systems: The First StepToward Improved Risk Management 201

Getting Your Probabilities Calibrated 203

The Model of Uncertainty: Decomposing Risk with Monte Carlos208

Decomposing Probabilities: Thinking about Chance the Way YouThink about a Budget 212

A Few Modeling Principles 213

Modeling the Mechanism 215

CHAPTER 11 The Outward-Looking Modeler: Adding EmpiricalScience to Risk 221

Why Your Model Won't Behave 223

Empirical Inputs 224

Introduction to Bayes: One Way to Get around that “LimitedData for Disasters” Problem 227

Self-Examinations for Modelers Who Care about Quality 233

CHAPTER 12 The Risk Community: Intra- and ExtraorganizationalIssues of Risk Management 241

Getting Organized 242

Managing the Global Probability Model 244

Incentives for a Calibrated Culture 250

Extraorganizational Issues: Solutions beyond Your OfficeBuilding 254

Miscellaneous Topics 256

Final Thoughts on Quantitative Models and Better Decisions258

Appendix Calibration Tests and Answers 261

Index 273

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The most important book of the season

    This book goes beyond the headlines to describe the nuts and bolts of the problems of popular risk management methods. The angle the author takes on the real reasons behind the market failure is completely different from the pundits and much better researched than the talking heads.

    It completely debunks the most popular risk management methods as pure quackery while showing that some methods really have proven themselves as scientifically valid. It also discusses risk manaagement in terms that would be just as relevant for the next natural disaster, terrorist attack or IT security breach as it is for the current economic crisis.

    Any organization trying to start a risk management program of any kind(Enterprise Risk Management, etc.) risks repeating grave mistakes unless they read this first.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2009

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