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The All Things Risk Podcast

The All Things Risk podcast explores the themes of risk, uncertainty and resilience as applied to sports, the arts, current affairs and just about any other domain. We feature long-form conversations with interesting guests who have loads of fascinating stories, tips and tools.
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Sep 3, 2018

As a podcast host, you are not supposed to have favourite episodes – but you still do. This is one of those. I have the pleasure today of bringing you my conversation with Annie Duke. Annie is a decision scientist and former professional poker player. In fact, for two decades, she was one of the best in the world. In 2004, she beat a field of 234 players to win her first World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet. In 2010, she won the prestigious NBC national Heads Up Poker Championship.

However, this is not an episode about poker – well it isn’t and it is. As you will hear, poker is a game that mimics life. That is because it is all about making decisions under conditions of uncertainty. Therefore, this is a conversation about making decisions. In fact, Annie has a background in cognitive psychology and received a prestigious National Science Foundation fellowship prior to her poker career. She currently is working on many projects in the realm of decision science including with the likes of Phillip Tetlock, a giant in this field.

Earlier this year, Annie’s book was published – Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts. It is an excellent book which I highly recommend. We get into a number of the concepts Annie discusses in her book and much, much more including:

  • Annie’s origin story as a poker player and decision scientist;
  • The concept of “resulting” and how we apply this to lives – very useful stuff!
  • “Decision quality” – and why this is so important. Annie discusses an example that comes from American football: the Seattle Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll’s decision to throw a pass late during Super Bowl 49 which ultimately cost them the game. Contrary to popular opinion, this was a high quality decision that turned out badly – Annie explains why and why we do this type of thing in other domains.
  • Ways in which we can make better decisions;
  • The importance of thinking in probabilities;
  • Why “thinking in bets” is so powerful;
  • Much more! 

Show Notes: 

Annie’s website

Thinking in Bets – Making Smarter Choices When You Don’t Have All the Facts

Annie on Twitter

www.howIdecide.org

Poker players Howard Lederer, Dan Harrington, Erik Seidel

Chris Moneymaker

UBS’ 2018 World Cup prediction model

Hindsight bias

Malcolm Gladwell on “pulling the goalie”

Phillip Tetlock

Charlie Munger

Decision trees

The Hour Between Dog and Wolf by John Coates

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UK listeners: get your free trial and audio book at Audible

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Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com

Aug 19, 2018

Today, we talk fraud. If we think about some of the most prominent frauds in recent history – from the Bernie Madoff scandal, the LIBOR case or the collapse of Enron, they all seem to have a number of complexities to them. However, as you will hear, all fraud follows a simple logic. That logic is based on trust.

 My guest is Dan Davies. Dan is a former regulatory economist with the Bank of England. He has worked at a variety of investment banks and always had a fascination with the many larger-than-life financial scandals in we have all hear about. Scandals like the collapse of Barings Bank caused by rogue trader Nick Leeson (and the subject of the film “Rogue Trader” featuring Ewan McGregor), the Swiss Nazi gold case, and many more.

Such is Dan’s fascination with fraud that he recently wrote a fascinating book on the topic entitled Lying for Money: How Legendary Frauds Reveal the Workings of Our World. This is a very readable book that gives you almost everything you need to know about fraud. Nassim Taleb, of Black Swan fame says that “if you want to learn to fend fraud, read this. And if you want to commit fraud…don’t. But if you absolutely must, read this first.”

We get into the various topics covered in the book including:

  • The concept of the “optimum level of fraud” in and economy – this sounds counter-intuitive but because both fraud and economic growth depend on trust, there will always be a level of fraud in an advanced economy;
  • The types and characteristics of fraud;
  • The mechanics of different types of fraud, including lots of examples;
  • Rogue traders;
  • Why frauds have a “snowball effect”;
  • The role of primal, human emotions in fraud
  • Much more

Show notes:

Lying for Money at Amazon’s UK site

Dan on Twitter

Frontline Analysts

Mentioned during the episode:

The Barings Bank collapse

The Nazi gold case

The Savings and Loan scandal

Silk road

The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey

The Smartest Guys in the Room – The Amazing Rise and the Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

The Hour Between Dog and Wolf by John Coates

The 1980s Medicare fraud

The UK Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) Scandal

“ Enron’s Open Secrets” by Malcolm Gladwell

Fred Goodwin

The Kray Twins

Triumph of the Optimists by Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton

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Get your free audio book and 30 day free trial at Audible:

US listeners: get your free trial and audio book at Audible

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Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com

Aug 7, 2018

Today, it’s all about creativity, design, marketing and careers. That, and authenticity, a now over-used word. In the past, we’ve talked about “inauthentic authenticity” – the appearance of authenticity to create some type of one-sided sales or marketing benefit. This is a practice that one sees regularly online which can create risks and unintended consequences – for all sides in the equation. We need more people who speak their minds and are genuine.

My guest today is exactly that. Meet Michael MidKnight. Michael is a Design and Marketing Consultant with his brand Mik Tek Studios, Career Advocate with his series Recruitamentary and a fellow podcast host. We cover the art of marketing, value of genuine authenticity and enjoy the rich depths and importance of storytelling for an experience - Lion King references included!

If Marketing, Sales, Design, Creative Thinking or a wide range of humorous takes on his industry experience as a whole, this would be the episode for you worth listening to. And even if it isn’t there are loads of great insights applicable to many other aspects of our lives.

Show notes:

Mik Tek Studios: www.miktek.tv

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/michaelmidknight  

YouTube: www.youtube.com/miktekstudios

Mik Tek Studios on Facebook: www.facebook.com/miktekstudios

Instagram: www.instagram.com/miktekstudios

Twitter: www.twitter.com/miktekstudios

Mik Tek Studios Podcast is on iTunes, SoundCloud and Google Play, search for ‘miktekstudios’)

Recruitamentary:

website: www.recruitamentary.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com/recruitamentary  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/recruitamentary  

Twitter: www.twitter.com/recruitamentary  

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US listeners: www.audibletrial.com/allthingsrisk

UK listeners: get yours here

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Like what you heard?

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Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com

Jul 24, 2018

Today, it’s all about communication. That, and mountaineering – because these two things are so intertwined. Well, they will seem to be once you listen to my conversation with our guest Chuck Garcia. Chuck is an executive coach, professor at the Graduate School of Engineering at Columbia University, and a speaker. He worked for many years at Bloomberg – and started before it became the giant financial news and media company that it is today. He has worked very closely with its founder Michael Bloomberg.

Chuck is also an avid mountaineer and this conversation is primarily one around the parallels between mountain climbing and effective communication – and there are more than you realise. There are so many in fact, that Chuck has written a wonderful, best-selling book on the topic called A Climb to the Top: Communication and Leadership Tactics to Take Your Career to New Heights.

We get into that and much more including:

  • How Chuck started his career and the early days at Bloomberg;
  • Mountaineering and his expeditions;
  • What makes a great leader;
  • Some very difficult conversations he had following the 9/11 attacks which tragically claimed the lives of three of Chuck’s colleagues;
  • Climbing expeditions to honour fallen colleagues
  • The perils of knee-jerk reactions – both in climbing and communicating;
  • Agility versus planning;
  • Much more!

Show notes:

Chuck’s website;

Chuck’s book: A Climb to the Top: Communication and Leadership Tactics to Take Your Career to New Heights;

Chuck on LinkedIn

Climb Leadership International

Michael Bloomberg

Mount Rainier

Mount Elbrus

The Seven Summits

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Peter Drucker

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Get your free audio book and 30 day free trial at Audible:

US listeners: get your free trial and audio book at Audible

UK listeners: get your free trial and audio book at Audible

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Like what you heard?

Subscribe and/or leave a rating and review on iTunes: http://apple.co/1PjLmK

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Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com

Jul 21, 2018

We start this episode with an important announcement – that this is an episode brought to you by Audible. Listeners in the UK and US can get a free 30 day trial to Audible and a free audio book:

US listeners – get your free trial and audio book at Audible

UK listeners – get your free trial and audio book at Audible

As we are talking about books, I thought I’d share with you some recommended books that I have read and am currently reading, and some that I am about to read:

Red Card: FIFA and the Fall of the Most Powerful Men in Sports by Ken Bensinger

Lying for Money: How Legendary Frauds Reveal the Workings of Our World by Dan Davies

Signals: How Everyday Signals Can Help Us Navigate the World’s Turbulent Economy by Pippa Malmgren 

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield 

The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance by David Epstein

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress by Steven Pinker 

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan 

Endure: Mind, Body and the Curious Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson 

Skin in the Game by Nassim Taleb

The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold by Tim Moore

How to Not Die by Dr. Michael Greger and Gene Stone

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Like what you heard?

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Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com

Jul 1, 2018

We have released this episode right in the middle of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. You might love football (and you may call it “soccer”). You might revel in Lionel Messi’s unbelievable skills or Cristiano Ronaldo’s athleticism (even though both are now gone from the tournament). Perhaps you play the game. Perhaps your children do. Maybe you support your local club side, one of the big European teams, or both. Your national team’s performance might have a lot of meaning for you.

Conversely, you might not care about the game at all. You might be appalled by the amount of money in it, or the fact that people spend far too much time obsessing over it. You might be all of the above. 

Regardless, what is often called “the people’s game,” or “the beautiful game,” has a very dark side. It is a side that you should know about because it affects our world. That side is corruption, which we talk about in this episode.


My guest is Ken Bensinger. Ken is an award-winning investigative journalist. He has worked at the Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and now at BuzzFeed News. He was a Pullizer Prize finalist. He has recently written Red Card: FIFA and the Fall of the Most Powerful Men in Sports.

Red Card is an enthralling account if the FBI’s investigation into FIFA, football’s global governing body, arguably the most powerful institution in all of sports. The book shows the greed, arrogance and self-interest of those who ran the sport for decades, and how a determined investigation brought this small cabal to justice. It is also a book that asks questions about the role of big money and politics in sport, including geopolitics.

We get into that and more, including:

  • How the book came about;
  • How FIFA’s structure facilitates corruption, including why that structure has similarities with organised crime syndicates;
  • How the money flowed and how the corruption worked – and very plausibly, how it still might be working today;
  • How the USA got involved in investigating FIFA;
  • Whether or not FIFA is cleaner now;
  • Things Ken is watching out for in Russia 2018;
  • Parallels to the Russia/Trump investigation;
  • Similarities to Russia’s athletics doping scandal;
  • Risks to the sport;
  • Whether or not it is “ok” to watch the World Cup;
  • Plans for a movie;
  • Much more!

Show notes: 

Ken on Twitter

Red Card: FIFA and the Fall of The Most Powerful Men in Sports – UK edition, US edition here

The 2015 FIFA corruption case

The 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids

Christopher Steele and the Trump Dossier

Sepp Blatter

Chuck Blazer

Jack Warner

Jeffrey Webb

Gianni Infantino

Brazil’s Odebrecht corruption scandal

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The Icarus Documentary about Russia’s systemic doping in sport

The Russian athletics doping scandal

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Like what you heard?

Subscribe and/or leave a rating and review on iTunes: http://apple.co/1PjLmKh

Subscribe on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/all-things-risk/the-all-things-risk-podcast

Subscribe on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ben-cattaneo

Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com

Jun 19, 2018

We often think of outcomes as binary – either they happen, or they don’t. Think about something you want to happen – this could be a career, relationship or personal goal. Now imagine that at some point in the future, you will learn about the outcome of that objective. You get to that future point, and the outcome is a “no”.

Now imagine that you can do something about that – but that this requires you to run a type of weird marathon. At every kilometre marker, you once again get to learn about the outcome to the goal you have been pursuing. In all likelihood, that outcome will once again be a “no”. However, you also know that if you keep running, at some point you will get to a “yes”. You just don’t know when. What is the strategy you take to maximise the number of kilometre markers you reach? How do you get through all of those “nos”?

This is in many ways, the story of this episode’s guest, actor Matthew Del Negro. If you were to read through the list of Matthew’s television credits, it reads like a list of some of the most acclaimed and popular shows in American, and world, TV history:

  • The Sopranos,
  • Law and Order;
  • The West Wing;
  • CSI: Miami:
  • Criminal Minds;
  • And most recently the Amazon Prime series Goliath

You might think that Matthew’s success was either pre-ordained or that it was the result of a massive lucky break. As you will hear however, that is not how it went down. Matthew had to go through many “nos” (perhaps 10,000 of them as goes the title of his own wonderful podcast), to get to the point where he could call himself “an actor”.

This is a conversation about perseverance and resilience. It’s not only about the necessity of having a passion and self-belief, but it is also about practical strategies and tactics necessary to achieve great things in the face of long odds.

Show notes:

Matthew’s website

Matthew’s 10,000 Nos podcast

Matthew on Twitter

Goliath

Frank Vincent

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

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Like what you heard?

Subscribe and/or leave a rating and review on:

iTunes: http://apple.co/1PjLmKh

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Subscribe on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ben-cattaneo

Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com

Jun 5, 2018

This is a wonderful conversation under the banner of “resilience”. My guest is Stephanie Harris. Stephanie is an author and a self growth and progress coach. She is a South African based in New Zealand and specialises in supporting those experiencing grief – that could be grief caused by the death of a loved one, friend or pet – but it also could be caused by a major setback.

Stephanie book Death Expands Us is based on her personal experience dealing with the sudden loss of her brother. She wrote the book she wished she had when she was going through that loss. Losses and setbacks will happen at various points in our lives and yet, we are often not taught the valuable life skills associated with dealing with them. This is where Stephanie’s work comes in.

As you will also hear from Stephanie, a loss could come from not only a death, but also the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, or many other things. We talk about all of that, as well as the way in which our minds and bodies interact under these circumstances in a very honest and valuable conversation. 

Show notes:

Stephanie’s website

Stephanie’s book Death Expands Us

Stephanie on Twitthttps://stephanieharriscoaching.com/er

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Like what you heard?

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Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com

May 21, 2018

In our previous episode with Justin Recla on cryptocurrencies, we mentioned that we were going to broaden out the conversation on finance, the global economy, technology and how all of that is changing us. This is exactly what we do in this episode – and then some.

My guest is Keith Furst. Keith runs a firm called Data Derivatives, which focuses on implementing financial crime systems. He is an expert in anti-money laundering, fraud and financial abuse. However, Keith also has a background in philosophy and brings a wide-ranging and insightful perspective on the world in which we live. If you are interested in understanding the changes we are going through in finance, our economy, and in technology, I think we will enjoy and get a lot out of this episode.

We cover all of the above and more including:

  • If the global financial system is safer now than in 2008;
  • Where the next risks to the global economy may come;
  • The benefits and limitations of cryptocurrencies;
  • How the crypto world may evolve;
  • The perils associated with technology and social media;
  • Income and happiness
  • Much more!

Show notes:

Keith’s firm, Data Derivatives

Keith on LinkedIn

Keith on Twitter – he is admittedly less active here!

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The US opioid epidemic

Mark Blyth – “the Hamptons are not a defensible position”

The Steiner Education Approach

“Deaths of Despair”

Income and Happiness

“Digital Amnesia”

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Like what you heard?

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Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com

May 15, 2018

Sometimes, certain iconic film scenes serve as appropriate metaphors for phenomena in real life. In this episode, we talk about the world of cryptocurrencies. In searching for the appropriate comparative movie scene, I first considered the Matrix’s red pill / blue pill scene. Depending on what you think about cryptocurrencies, you might have varying viewpoints on whether they represent the red pill – emancipation from an artificial reality or the blue pill – a blissful, yet false fantasyland.

However, in speaking to Justin Recla, my guest in this episode, it actually dawned on me that the world of cryptocurrencies most closely resembles the cantina scene from Star Wars. You might find the best fighter pilot in the galaxy, but you are more than likely to run into many of the unsavoury characters crawling around the place. This is where Justin’s work comes in.

Justin is a former counter-intelligence officer with the US Army. Following a career in the military he and his wife Tonya (also my guest in episode 62), brought those skills to the business world. As of late, Justin has focused on cryptocurrencies. Through something called Crypto Bit Verified, a service of his firm Clear Business Directory, Justin conducts due diligence and vetting on cryptocurrency opportunities.

Whatever your views on cryptocurrencies are – if you think they are the future of finance, fairy dust, or just don’t know – one thing is clear: the media attention they have attracted has brought with it all manner of scams, ineptitude and other risks that many crypto investors either don’t see or don’t want to see. Justin’s work helps people distinguish between those opportunities that have a fighting chance, from those that have none at all.

We get into all of that in this episode. Justin shares his background, talks counterintelligence and how those skills are applied to crypto due diligence and vetting, the world of cryptocurrencies, the types of frauds and scams out there, how investors can protect themselves, and much more.

Show notes: 

Clear Business Directory

CryptoBit Verified

Justin on LinkedIn

Cryptocurrency due diligence Facebook group

Satoshi Nakamoto

The Security and Exchange Commission’s alert “Ponzi Schemes Using Virtual Currencies”

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Like what you heard?

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Follow the podcast on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RiskThings

Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com

Apr 29, 2018

This conversation will completely change the way you think about networking. Yes, we all know networking is important. But it isn’t about how many LinkedIn connections you have or about attending so-called “networking events”. True networking is about developing authentic connections with others and starting these from the vantage point of giving, not taking. It’s also an art that is increasingly being lost.

Fortunately, Adam Connors is bringing it back. Adam is a master networker and the founder of a firm called Networkwise.  Adam has a diverse background having worked in finance, recruitment and as an entrepreneur. The thing that has connected his endeavours is his ability to connect with people in a deep, meaningful way.

Adam joins me in this episode to talk networking and the power of a strong network. From a risk and uncertainty perspective, a strong network provides one with the ability to pivot quickly in the event of an unexpected setback, as well as the ability to take advantage of opportunities we didn’t even know were out there. What’s even better is that great networkers aren’t born, they’re made.

 Adam discusses this and more, including:

  • Adam’s background;
  • The importance of one’s reputation and credibility;
  • Career paths;
  • Working with athletes and entertainers;
  • The premise and power of networking;
  • Networking for “introverts”;
  • Networking, risk and uncertainty;
  • The power of giving;
  • Adam’s attitudes to risk and uncertainty;
  • Much more!

Show notes: 

Adam’s site – Networkwise: www.networkwise.com

Adam’s podcast - Conversations with Connors

Adam on LinkedIn

ESPN’s 30 for 30 – “Broke”

Jim Rohn

Dunbar’s Number

Give and Take: An Evolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant

The UK’s Minister for Loneliness

Ep. 38 of All Things Risk with Tom Hardin

Lou Holtz

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Drop us a note: allthingsrisk@gmail.com

 

Apr 20, 2018

This episode is a conversation about the media and advertising in our digital age as much as it is about entrepreneurism, risk-taking and decision-making. My guest is Howard Bareham. Howard is a long-time media, advertising and sales expert who has worked for and with some of the biggest names in the business – for instance Saatchi and Saatchi and WPP.


Howard has had an extraordinary career starting from the ground floor of the industry and working his way up. Recently however, Howard made a bold move and decided to start his own firm, Bareham Media. Shunning the perception that “Howard doesn’t do that”, he has moved ahead and discusses his decision to do so, how he has planned for this and provides a number of other insights that will help anyone making a major decision and taking some new risks. We talk about:

  • Howard’s background in advertising and media, including an infamous “packet of Pole mints” incident;
  • How advertising and the media have changed – and how they haven’t (BTW – this episode was recorded before the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal);
  • His entrepreneurial journey;
  • Networking and prospecting;
  • Enlisting the support of family and friends;
  • Negotiation and deal-making
  • Loads more!

Howard is very engaging and I am sure you are going to get a lot from his experience and insights.

Show notes:

Bareham Media

Howard on LinkedIn

Paul Weller

Saatchi and Saatchi

Wireless Group

WPP

The Peter Principle

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Find all episodes here: www.allthingsrisk.co.uk

 

Apr 1, 2018

Dictatorships and “strong man” leadership is on the rise across the globe. In addition, and particularly in the West, entrenched special interests are very prominent. Indeed, it appears that democracy is in retreat.

How can dictators, with their stranglehold on power through military force, control of media and financial clout be toppled? How can entrenched special interests be overcome? In fact, how can any kind of civic change happen – be that improvements with your local rubbish collection, or overcoming grand corruption? Meet Srdja Popovic.

Srdja is a political activist from Serbia and one of the founders of the Otpor! (“resistance”) movement in the country in the 1990s. Otpor helped topple then dictator Slobodan Milosevic in 2000 through its strategies of non-violent resistance.

In fact, if you were to try and predict what might bring down the Milosevic regime in the mid 1990s (he held the de facto power in the country before he officially become president in 1997), you certainly would not have bet on the official opposition which was divided and ineffective. You might have bet on the 1999 NATO bombings facilitating this. However, it was a grassroots movement that started small and employed non-violent resistance and in particular, a lot of humour which served as a crucial factor in toppling the Milosevic dictatorship.

We talk about all of that but this is a wider discussion. Srdja himself was arrested and beaten and too a lot of risk. However, he and his compatriots had created an unstoppable force. There are many lessons in all of that – including how to disperse the risks associated with resistance to dictatorships.

Now, Srdja co-runs the Centre for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) which advocates non-violent resistance to promote human rights and democracy. Srdja speaks all over the world and runs workshops. He is the author of Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men and other non-Violent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, and Simply Change the World.

We discuss: 

  • Non-violent resistance, including some tactics and strategies;
  • Democracy in our current global condition;
  • Spreading risk in opposition movements;
  • Laughtivism versus political satire;
  • Fake news
  • Much more!

Show notes:

Centre for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS)

Check out CANVAS’ extensive list of “must reads”

Blueprint for Revolution

Srdja’s TED talk

Interview with Srdja in The Guardian

Otpor!

Gene Sharp

From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp

Gene Sharp’s 198 methods of non-violent resistance

Freedom House’s Democracy Index

Slobodan Milosevic

The Russia Toy Protest

Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict by Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev

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Mar 26, 2018

Adventure is about much more than excitement and novelty. It is also about facing challenges and solving problems. It is about venturing into the unknown. It is about moving forward following setbacks. It is about making decisions, and dealing with risk. And yes, adventure can be about wonderful, curious, and frustrating things in far-off lands. This episode is about all of those things and more.

My guest is adventurer, teacher, writer and political risk consultant Oscar Scafidi. In 2016, he and Alfy Weston kayaked the full length of the Kwanza River, the longest river in Angola – from the source all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. They did this for and with the Halo Trust, a charity that removes land mines around the world. The remoteness of the journey, natural and human hazards, the country’s civil war legacy and associated land mine problem meant that this was no ordinary journey – it was fraught with risks.

Along the way, Oscar and Alfy were chased by hippos, sank their kayak, dealt freezing temperatures (yes, you read that correctly) and even got arresting at gunpoint. We get into all of that as well as:

  • Angola’s post-colonial history of civil war and the tragedy of land mines in the country;
  • Where Alfy and Oscar got the idea to do this journey;
  • Preparations, including the risks they faced;
  • The journey itself;
  • Lessons Oscar took away;
  • Much more!

Show notes:

www.Kayakthekwanza.com

Kayak the Kwanza, the book

Kayak the Kwanza on Facebook

Kayak the Kwanza on Twitter

The Halo Trust

Kayak the Kwanza Documentary on YouTube

Another Day of Life by Ryszard Kapuśiński

Science weighs in on “bad vibes”

Episode 5 with Tarran Kent-Hume – Kayaking the Amazon – did you know that Angola and Brazil were once part of the same land mass?

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Mar 18, 2018

Have you ever scrolled through the comments section of an article or a Twitter thread and wondered – “where do these ‘trolls’ come from?” If you’ve ever wondered that causes these often hateful, toxic and often mis-informed opinions, you are not alone. My guest this week wondered the same thing. In fact, he made a book and documentary film about this phenomenon.

Meet Kyrre Lien, a 27-year old Norwegian journalist and documentarist. Last year, Forbes magazine named Kyrre one of the 30 young media entrepreneurs “defining the every shifting world of news and content.” Kyrre spent three years researching, and travelling the world to meet and spend time with the “Internet Warriors” – read internet commentators or less charitable, trolls. The “Internet Trolls” became the title of the book and documentary.

 

The project took Kyrre from his native Norway to the UK, middle America, the Ukraine, Russia and Lebanon. These people let him into their homes and lives. The film certainly captures many of their often hateful views, but it also captures many of their inconsistencies and contradictions, along with the loneliness and even humanity of its subjects.

One might think that a project like this gives some of these people even more of a platform to voice hateful views – and in a sense that may be true – but it is not a project about celebrating these people. In fact, when I watched it the sentiment I often had was one of pity.

Kyrre talks about all of this in the episode, going from the origins of the project, how he put it together, through to its broader implications. He also discusses his approach to risk, having been to the Donbass region of the Ukraine to cover the Ukraine-Russia conflict. This is a fascinating conversation that reveals a number of insights.

Show notes:

The Internet Warriors

Kyrre’s photography webpage

The Internet Warriors Book

Article in the Guardian: “Internet Warriors: Inside the dark world of online haters

Kyrre on Twitter

“EGRIP” – How to engage with someone we disagree with

Ep 76 with Gleb Tsipursky

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Mar 4, 2018

 

This is a conversation that emphasises a number of positive things we can do in the face of fake news, lying politicians, disagreements and decision-making. My guest is Gleb Tsipursky and if that name sounds familiar, it might be because he was our guest in episode 45.

Gleb is a professor, a science communicator, the co-founder of Intentional Insights, a non-profit that seeks to promote science-based truth-seeking, meaning and purpose. He is also the co-founder of something called the Pro-Truth Pledge. This is a pledge to share, honour and encourage truth. All Things Risk has taken the pledge, as have many prominent thinkers such as Steven Pinker, Jonathan Haidt, and Peter Singer (in addition to many politicians).

Gleb is also a prolific author having published articles in Newsweek, The Guardian and Psychology Today. He has also recently authored The Truth-Seeker’s Handbook, which shares strategies and tools to help us ensure that our views are aligned with reality. This includes things like avoiding thinking errors and by engaging constructively in conversations with others.

Gleb joined me and we talked about all of those things as well as:

  • Why we ignore facts;
  • The problem with social media;
  • How we can become more truth-focused as a society;
  • The trouble with “debates”;
  • How to engage people who may not agree with us;
  • Probabilistic thinking;
  • The skill of collaboration;
  • The Pro Truth Pledge
  • Tons more!

Show notes:

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iTunes

 

Feb 25, 2018

Imagine that you suffer from social anxiety that is so acute that you struggle to answer the phone, open the door to your home if someone knocks, or to go outside. Now imagine that in spite of this, you’ve become an adventurer, a speaker and writer. Now imagine that in two short months, you will start a journey to be the first person to swim around Great Britain.

Meet Paula McGuire – our guest on Episode 75. Paula hails from Glasgow and for many years has suffered from acute social anxiety. She was bullied at school growing up, was eventually placed on medications for the condition, and found it nearly impossible to figure out what she truly enjoyed and wanted to do in life. Fear was pervasive.

And yet somehow, Paula took control. She started to try things – beginning with having a go at every sport of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She moved on to try other things – rally car driving, farming, and even being an astronaut for a day. She is a speaker and gave a wonderful TEDx talk. She is an author and has a book coming out called Must Try Harder – Adventures in Anxiety

In April 2018, she set out on her biggest challenge yet – a 1800 mile (2897 km) swim around the coast of Great Britain – the Big, Mad, Swim Around Britain. That’s not bad for an aquaphobe!


As you’ll hear, Paula has not eliminated anxiety. A big part of this episode and of All Things Risk is that we all grapple with fear and anxiety to an extent. We all deal with the reptilian part of our brains which wants us to avoid losses at all costs. We all have part of our psyches that want to keep us in our comfort zones.


So, what Paula is doing is not only inspirational, it is also a great example of healthy risk-taking. We get into tons of wonderful stuff in this episode. I am sure you will enjoy it.

Show notes:

Paula’s website

Paula on Twitter

Paula on Facebook

Paula on YouTube

Paula’s TEDx talk

The Big, Mad, Swim Around Britain

Paula’s forthcoming book Must Try Harder: Adventures in Anxiety on:

            Amazon UK

            Amazon USA

            Barnes and Noble

            Waterstones

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Find all episodes here: www.allthingsrisk.co.uk

Feb 17, 2018

 

Threats to democracy, the changing nature of military conflict, cyber threats, bots, China, Russia and disruptive change created by hyper connectivity – what does all of this mean? How should military organisations assess and manage risk? What lessons can we learn that are applicable elsewhere? Today, we dive into these topics. This is both and important and informative “big picture” risk conversation. It is also highly enjoyable.

In this episode, we discuss the USA’s military power, “grey zone” competition, and tons more with Nathan Freier. Nathan is a military strategist, researcher, and risk professional. He is an associate professor of National Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College. He recently led a research project that culminated in a report entitled At Our Peril. It asks and attempts to answer the question, of how the US Department of Defence should adapt to the type of disruptive change we have discussed in recent episodes and that we see playing out in today’s headlines.

Indeed, we live in a world of international “grey zone” competition – not quite war, not quite peace. The project Nathan led contains some very interesting insights and innovative thinking on these and related topics. It will provide you with a deeper level of understanding of our world and you don’t need to be a risk professional to follow along and get a lot out of the conversation.

We cover:

  • The art of strategy;
  • “Softer” aspects of American power in the world;
  • The very useful concept of “risk confusion”;
  • Cyber warfare;
  • Why the US Department of Defence would commission this piece of work – and make it public;
  • Tons more!

 Show Notes:

Nathan’s page at the SSI

Nathan on Twitter

Nathan on LinkedIn

At Our Peril

Outplayed – Regaining Strategic Initiative in the Gray Zone

Known Unknowns: Unconventional “Strategic Shocks” in Defence Strategy Development

The Art of War

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Feb 4, 2018

Today, we talk China and its complex relationship with The United States and the West. My guest is Joshua Phillip, an award-winning journalist at the Epoch Times. He specialises in covering national security in the United States in relation to China and is an expert in China’s roles and approaches to espionage, organised crime, and unconventional warfare.  We get into all of that and go down a few rabbit holes in this one – each more fascinating than the previous.

Of course, Joshua approaches these topics from a certain viewpoint and it is important to note that the Epoch Times focuses on news about China and human rights issues associated with it – it takes an anti-communist and anti-Communist Party of China editorial stance.  We get into a range of topics including:

·      China’s persecution of Falun Gong;

·      The Chinese state’s relationship with organised crime;

·      China and its alleged attempt to subvert US and Western democracy;

·      The dark web;

·      The role of the People’s Liberation Army in counterfeiting and gray markets;

·      Prospects of China-US relations under Xi Jingping

·      Loads more!

Show notes:

Jan 21, 2018

When we hear about North Korea in the news, it is often about missile tests, diplomatic negotiations, cyber attacks, the threat of war, or even what former pro basketballer Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-Un are discussing. But, what is going on behind all of this? What is life really like in North Korea? For a country that makes owning a business illegal, a quiet revolution rumbles on as the infiltration of illegal commerce grows. North Koreans are taking more risks to serve themselves.

Today, we peer inside the so-called “hermit kingdom”. We’ll hear about the human rights crisis in the country, North Korea’s “quiet revolution” of capitalism, and about two harrowing escapes from the country. My guests in this episode are Ji-Hyun Park, a North Korean refugee living in the UK, and Michael Glendinning, Founder of the charity ‘Connect: North Korea’.  

Ji Hyun shares with us the immense trials and tribulations she experienced from her first escape from North Korea in 1998 to her arrival in the UK a decade later.

Michael moved to South Korea in 2009 to teach English. There he volunteered in charities supporting North Korean refugees. Seeing how the UK could play a bigger part, he got involved with The European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea in 2009, and set up Connect: North Korea in 2017.

 

This conversation is fascinating and deeply moving. We discussed:

  • North Korea’s human rights crisis and the Western media’s focus on nuclear weapons over this crisis;
  • North Korea’s “Songbun” class system;
  • Ji -Hyun’s experience of the N Korean school system;
  • The collapse of North Korea’s public distribution system, and its effects;
  • North Korea’s quiet revolution of illegal capitalism;
  • Access to foreign media in North Korea and its impact;
  • Human trafficking;
  • Ji-Hyun’s two escapes from the country;
  • What ‘Connect: North Korea’ does and how you can help

Show Notes:

Connect: North Korea

The European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea

Michael on Twitter

Ji-Hyun on Twitter

Connect: North Korea on Twitter

Ji-Hyun and Michael’s talk in Funzing Talks at Night

2014 UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Volunteer to teach English/ mentor with North Korean refugees

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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Jan 14, 2018

How often do you get to listen to an hour’s worth of wisdom from the from the FBI’s former chief hostage negotiator? Well, today we get that chance. Meet Gary Noesner, who led the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit until his retirement in 2003. Gary is now a consultant, speaker and author of the book Stalling for Time, part of which forms the basis of a new miniseries on the Paramount Network called “Waco”. Yes, Gary was involved in negotiations with Branch Davidians in the lead up to the 1993 Waco Siege, and his efforts saved lives in the process.

Gary talks about that, but this is an episode about so much more. We have a wide-ranging conversation about crisis management, negotiation, the importance of listening, and tons more. I am highly appreciative of Gary coming on to the show and in spite of cold and sore throat, Gary provided an enormous amount of insight into:

  • The different types of hostage negotiations that can happen, including those involving ideology like the Waco siege;
  • The importance of relationships and creating connections in negotiations;
  • Why listening is a fundamental skill in hostage situations;
  • Speaking truth to power;
  • Dealing with nuance and finding common ground;
  • How these skills can be applied to all types of situations;
  • Much more!

Show notes: 

Gary’s website;

Gary on LinkedIn;

Gary’s book, Stalling for Time;

Waco on the Paramount Network;

The 1993 Waco Siege;

Michael Shannon;

Steven Covey;

The book, Nonsense, the Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes;

Dragnet;

Colombo;

Cats in the Cradle, by Harry Chapin;

If, by Rudyard Kipling;

“My Way” sung by Frank Sinatra;

Behavioural Change Stairway model

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Jan 1, 2018

This is our second annual “best of” episode which is a compilation of what I and some of you have considered to be your favourite excerpts from our episodes in the past year. It’s always difficult to leave things out, and we had an amazing set of guests and conversations in 2017. The clips that didn’t make it are in no way “lesser” than those that did – the selection process was not highly “scientific”. However, we had to exclude more than we could include.

This year’s compilation features clips from:

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Dec 26, 2017

Today, we look back at “big picture” events of 2017 and forward to risks that may not be on people’s radar for 2018 with 4-time guest of the podcast Daniel Wagner. Those of you who have caught my previous episodes with Daniel know that he is a geo-political risk expert, CEO of Country Risk Solutions, regular media commentator, and author of many articles and books – most recently “Virtual Terror”.

Daniel’s views are often contrarian and always insightful. We talk US politics, climate change, the Middle East, North Korea, China, the global economy and lots more! 

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Dec 17, 2017

What can we learn about ocean animals that can tell us about the environment? What happens to birds when they take their physiologies to their limits? How close are we to seeing a sub-two hour marathon?

This is a somewhat different episode of the podcast in which I talk to three speakers from this year’s Humanature conference. The conference brings together experts from a number of fields to explore the links between extreme life and human performance and health.

I was fortunate enough to have three short conversations with:

Dr. Andreas Fahlman about the physiology of marine animals and what that means for the health of our environment;

 

 

Dr. Carl Soulsbury about birds “exercising” to their limits and beyond;

 

Dr. Andrew Jones about his work on Nike’s bold recent effort to crack the sub-two hour marathon.

 

These were all short conversations that took place in London’s Natural History Museum.

Show Notes:

Humanature Symposium

Society for Experimental Biology

Natural History Museum

Dr. Andreas Fahlman

Dr. Carl Soulsbury

Dr. Andrew Jones

Epigenetics

Nike’s “Breaking2” initiative including this National Geographic documentary

Eliud Kipchoge

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Dec 3, 2017

 

How does Israel’s approach to public security differ from that of the USA and Western Europe? What can we learn? Today, we explore public security, terrorism, body language, mindset and more.

My guest is Eldor Arbel. Eldor is the CEO of Arbel Consulting and Training. He brings a unique perspective to security – “security from the inside out”. This isn’t surprising considering Eldor is an Israeli national living in London, spend four years in the Israeli Defence Forces and has worked for many years in the private security industry in the country. Israel of course, has had to deal with terrorism for decades.

I was interested in Eldor’s take on how countries like the UK and USA deal with terrorism and security. We get into this (and if you follow the podcast you know I thinke that we overestimate the chances of a terror attack). However, this is a conversation about much more than this we get into:

  • Eldor’s time in the Israeli Defence Forces;
  • The private security sector in Israel;
  • Terrorism and other types of security threats;
  • Eldor’s security philosophy, including:
    • Mindset;
    • Normalcy bias;
    • Behaviour detection;
    • Body language;
  • Security versus freedom;
  • The training AC&T offers, including the very interesting “Confined Spaces Training”
  • Loads more!

Show notes:

Eldor on LinkedIn

Arbel Consulting and Training (AC&T)

AC&T on Facebook

Normalcy bias

Israel Defence Forces

Krav Maga

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 

2006 Israel-Lebanon War

 

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