The Global Risk Institute (GRI) is a thought leader in Canadian financial risk management and a forum for industry discussion and the sharing of best practices.
We present to you a reading list of recommended books, magazines, podcasts and other risk specific content that our staff reviewed.
The spread of geopolitical risks requires many leaders in the financial services industry to grapple with subject matter outside of their daily remit. Offering a helping hand, Richard Haas, President of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), provides an introductory course on global affairs with his ambitious new volume. The World: A Brief Introduction sets out not only to impart foundational knowledge to readers, but empower them to find the ‘signal in the noise’ in the modern information stream and make better decisions under uncertainty in an increasingly interconnected global system. The author begins with historical context, albeit somewhat Eurocentric, tracing the rise of modern statehood in the Thirty Years War, through the major conflicts of the 20th century and into the contemporary period. The book then surveys the different regions of the world, their respective local histories, major players, institutions and ongoing challenges. Haas dedicates significant coverage to the most pressing macro-problems, including terrorism and nuclear proliferation, climate change, public health, trade and monetary policy. The text concludes with a summary of basic concepts in international relations theory, helpful for understanding the nature of the global ‘order’ and the interactions between states. Given the shear range of issues covered, chapters are intentionally limited in their depth and so may offer less insight to field experts or well-read generalists. For those readers left wanting more, however, the author includes a plethora of supporting notes with quality recommendations for additional reading.
Although The World approaches its subject matter from an American perspective, the book remains highly relevant to an international audience. It aims not to defend a single position or interpretation of global affairs, but rather communicate facts and concepts as the foundations for informed debate and action. Canadian financial practitioners looking for a substantive and accessible primer on geopolitics would be well served by this addition to their libraries.