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Books embracing Risk-Taking: Or cautionary tales for want to be traders?

At the end of last month the Books section of the Weekend FT carried a review by Andrew Hill, senior business writer at the FT, of two Harvard-linked writers pondering the viability of sensible risk-taking. These were not the more usual probability-based analyses of outcomes, but real-life examples of business leaders and corporate cultures in industry.

The first book covered was Amy Edmondson’s ‘Right Kind of Wrong: Why Learning to Fail Can Teach us to Thrive’ published by Cornerstone Press. She is Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School and has insights not only for those in Silicon Valley but for all who work in a vast array of twenty first century enterprises. Her aim in this book is to dispel some of the more extreme views as extolled in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Elon Musk, the main one being: ‘’Take risks. Learn by blowing things up. Revise. Repeat’’. Ms Edmondson’s premise is ‘’the failure craze – the ‘fail fast, fail often’ culture that wants us to embrace failure seemingly indiscriminately – takes inspiration from the intelligent failures inherent to innovation but risks glossing over the vast and varied failure landscape, which also includes basic and complex failure.’’

The second book, by Andrew McAfee (who started at Harvard but is now at MIT – and who, according to Hill, disparages business schools) is called ‘The Geek Way: The Radical Mindset that Drives Extraordinary Results’ and is published by MacMillan Business. His focus is more on the psychology of organisations where, he claims, ‘science, ownership, speed, and openness are keys to geek culture’. Also paramount is the willingness of team leaders to exit weak or failing business streams and pivot suddenly to something which appears more promising. This is basically good old-fashioned cut your losses (fast) and run your profits, the mantra of all too many technical analysts.

Caveat: Edmondson points out that today fail-fast leadership tends to be the prerogative of white men. ‘’Failure can be seen as a privilege’’ and one not available to women and ethnic minorities.

Posted in Education, Finance, Markets, STA charts, STA education, STA news, Technical Analysis, Technical Analysis Courses, Technical Analysis Training, Trading, Trending
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The views and opinions expressed on the STA’s blog do not necessarily represent those of the Society of Technical Analysts (the “STA”), or of any officer, director or member of the STA. The STA makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any information on the blog or found by following any link on blog, and none of the STA, STA Administrative Services or any current or past executive board members are liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. None of the information on the STA’s blog constitutes investment advice.

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