With COVID-19 still a threat to our health and safety, most “summers” have extended. A lot of offices are still closed which means less time commuting and more time for personal growth, learning and reading. We put together a suggested reading list including all-things Veritas – energy, risk management, technology, culture and diversity – and we included our top picks for each. Enjoy!
Top Energy Pick: The Prize
Oil is the most dominant industry on the planet. It is also the most misunderstood. It is risky, volatile, and speculative. Daniel Yergin lays out the “story” of this global trade that plays a foundational role in our society, explaining its economic and geopolitical affects. From the discovery of oil to its gradual unfolding as central to the global economy and distribution of power, this book is meticulously researched. Not only does it present the reader with a fascinating look into historical events, but it provides insight into the great minds of larger than life figures such as Winston Churchill and John D. Rockefeller. This is the definitive book for anyone wanting to understand the world of oil.
“I have read this book multiple times. Not only is it wildly entertaining, but it is the indisputable source of relevant facts that paint the most insightful picture of this exciting industry.” - Delfina Govia, Partner
Top Risk Management Pick: Value at Risk
Value at Risk by Philippe Jorion, 3rd edition published in 2006. If you work in or lead a Risk Management function, you should read this book. This is the seminal work on this topic, which remains relevant for several reasons. First, beginning in the preface and continuing throughout the book, Jorion makes a compelling business case for the use of VaR in spite of its limitations. Second, although the usual approaches to calculating VaR are well understood in our industry, there are many important concepts in the book that are not (in our experience) broadly applied, e.g. error rates and estimating the time variability of input data. Thirdly, the book can be read at many different levels with or without emphasizing the mathematical details that Jorion provides. One caution is that it was written primarily with the financial industry in mind, so you need to extend the fixed income and foreign exchange examples to commodity applications.
Although first written in 1996, this is still an industry standard. It’s also like an archeological record of everything that’s happened in the risk field since the 1990’s. Every time I look through it I seem to discover something else, like a quote from an old acquaintance or friend. – Mike Burger, Partner
Top Tech Pick: The Clean Code Collection
For our tech category, we have not one book, but one collection. The Clean Code Collection comes from the well-known software expert, Robert C. Martin, who is also known in the industry as “Uncle Bob”. The Clean Code Collection includes three books, Clean Code, Clean Coder and Clean Architecture. The collection lays out underlying principles, processes, anecdotes and approaches to use for software development. These books range from understanding proper expectations management, collaboration and tools, to the architectural and structural modeling, all the way to the principles for realization of a software model. Each book focuses on an aspect of the process. Clean Coder is designed to promote better soft skills via managing expectations and being realistic about what is possible given time boxing. Clean Code focuses on core approaches and structural models for building quality software. Clean Architecture rounds out the three with a focus on the aspects of how to approach putting together the pieces. The knowledge one gains from this collection should lead to an end product that is reliable, robust, testable and a maintainable software solution, one both the business is happy with and one developers are capable, at all levels on a team, to understand and maintain.
“Both books provide the foundational disciplines and practices that all developers should embody. I consider them essential reading for all software architects, designers and developers – at all levels.” – Brad Kyer, Director
Top Culture Pick: The Culture Code
Veritas is very intentional about our culture code and group dynamics, so this was a relevant read for anyone at our firm. In the book, author Daniel Coyle examines the secrets of highly successful groups – using the Navy’s SEAL Team Six, The San Antonio Spurs and IDEO as examples. He talks about creating environments that foster collaboration, build trust and drive positive change. Daniel uses studies and scientific data to uncover a key truth: all healthy group dynamics all start with safety. Safety is the foundation of creating a sense of belonging which allows a group member to share vulnerabilities and create common purpose. We recommend this book to people that work in groups often – both leaders and members – because it’s a fresh perspective on understanding group dynamics and how intentional effort has to go into to create healthy group environments. It starts with safety. The rest follows.
“Daniel breaks things down to their core elements. I had never thought about how much safety is embedded in the foundation of our relationships and the impact that it has on projects. Wow! Something I am intentional about almost daily now.” – Natalie Marshall, Marketing Manager
Top Diversity Pick: Hardball for Women: Winning at the Game of Business
Entering the workforce for the first time can be very intimidating; and sometimes, it can be difficult to assimilate into your new company and chosen industry. The same can be true when you just switch companies. Hardball for Women: Winning at the Game of Business has helped many professionals navigate these issues by providing examples of situations you can encounter in Corporate America and breaking down the do’s and don’ts of each. The typical professional wants to know how to make it to the top and be in a position of power. The author provides insight into that executive world and what can be done to be a formidable player there. She discusses the simple concepts of using the right language, dressing the part, learning to look people in the eye, and talking with tenacity that still comes across as friendly banter. We recommend this book to both people entering the workforce for the first time and anyone who just needs that extra guidance in navigating their careers. Don’t let the title fool you – the strategies discussed in this book are relevant for both men and women!
“When I started my career at 22 years old, I felt like I was thrown into a shark tank. How can I be seen as a professional instead of a “kid”? How can I demonstrate my knowledge and work ethics? How can I be taken seriously? These are all the questions I had until an Executive introduced me to this book. It helped me navigate the Oil & Gas industry and had a big impact on how I still handle myself, 22 years later.” – Bethany Kincheloe, Director
At Veritas Total Solutions, we believe in sharing our perspectives with peers, clients and colleagues across all of our solutions. Sometimes, that means sharing things, like books, that influence our own perspectives. We would love to hear what books influence you. If you want to chat with us or if you are interested in learning more about our specific capabilities, contact us or subscribe to our podcast and blog to stay connected.