Thursday, June 28, 2012

"...to deal with nuance and complexity and to comment on things others are ignoring."

When I let former Citigroup risk executive Howard Stein, a colleague in the risk thought leadership arena, know that I was also going to be writing for The Risk Universe, a new British digital magazine, he noted that he too "now want(s) to offer opinions and to deal with nuance and complexity and to comment on things others are ignoring."

I could not have said it better myself.

So I've negotiated my first piece, due late next week, will be a combination book review/essay about Kirsten Grind's The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual--The Biggest Bank Failure in American History.

It's been three years, and that's probably enough time and perspective for me to re-frame Grind's excellent narrative -- as well as Kerry Killinger's letter about the book to friends and family -- into the four operational risk failure areas that I write and teach about -- people, process, systems and/or external events.  All are at play in the Washington Mutual story.  All will be discussed in terms of my own understanding and Grind's book.

I think about how long I have been writing on risk issues, and realize this could be one of my most personal and consequential pieces.  And the platform in the seventh issue of The Risk Universe seems just right.  For those who keep asking and don't follow me on Facebook, I have a lot of other reading to do in order to clear my head.  In addition to Grind's book, I'm reading The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein (recommended by Bill Longbrake), as well as Last Man Standing by Duff McDonald, Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin, and House of Cards by William D. Cohan.  And I'm thumbing back through Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, and Shakespeare's major tragedies.

I'll keep you posted.

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