The Fantods Of Risk

Author: H. Felix Kloman

This book is one of the two ‘collected works’ by H. Felix Kloman.

In this work the author starts from some premisses, preliminary conclusions actually: what is risk, what is risk management, what is the process, what are the goals? Throughout the book, the author tells about it, and tests these conclusions to his ideas and to all kinds of situations in the world. This leads to a first climax in the book in chapter 14: “Does Risk Matter?” In that chapter he also discusses “four times three”: four hypotheses, four questions and four cautions about risk management and the risk manager. The book concludes with an introduction: “The Future of Risk Management, Again”. In it he gives an overview of new objectives (the most important one seems to me is “to build and maintain the confidence of critical stakeholder groups”), new standards, in which he cites the ISO 31000 standard, new insights, (directly perceptible risks, scientifically predictable risks and virtual risks) and new tools for ERM.

In the context of this book, I also want to refer to his other book, “Mumpsimus Revisited”, which also contains many of his ideas, and which could have been used in this book during the build-up to the end.

Mumpsimus Revisited

Author: H. Felix Kloman

The author starts with the history of risk management in 1905-1912, with a foundation in 1881 by Otto Von Bismarck, and in doing so reaches highlights until 1996, with mentioning the start of “The Global Association of Risk Professionals”. From then on, the book is a succession of articles, classified according to the main topic in chapters, varying in subjects within risk management, and difficulty.

Although the author in a funny way in the last chapter denounces the use of jargon, he assumes in the chapters about investments that the reader can follow the reasoning about captives. As a result, it is not a book for higher management, unless they have expertise in this and other matters.

In previous chapters, where he tells history, where he  breaks down the icons of risk management, and where he tells the parables, he is much more humane in his language. Towards the end of the book he gives an overview of the history of the captives.

The way in which the book is written makes it difficult to find a common thread. It is more a book to get a short piece of refreshing ideas about risk management in the evenings, or to learn about an aspect of risk management or its history that you were previously unaware of.

Throughout the book reference is made to the works of other authors. Unfortunately, they are not shown in a bibliography at the back.