Top 20 Safety Books

This list was put together by Dr Rob Long – he is far too humble to recommend his own books. My advice is that before you read any of the books below, get a hold of Rob’s books. They are easy to read and practically translate most of the concepts from the authors and books below. “Risk Makes Sense” was the first meaningful safety book I had read in years and it started me on an incredible learning adventure.  You can order them here.

Top 20 Safety Books

People in risk and safety often write and ask what I recommend they read. Surprisingly many in safety tell me they don’t read and I have one mate tells me he has no time to read, he’s ‘too busy checking boxes’.

The last ten books I have bought with the word ‘safety’ in the title have simply been uninspiring. Many safety books claim to be about safety and culture and don’t even define terms, many claim to be innovative but just repeat the same old tired safety stuff: policing, regulations, controls, punishing, systems and hero leadership. A recent purchase of a safety book that claimed to be innovative and about culture was neither.

Getting The Drift, Dekker on Safety – Great to read a safety book that concludes an emphasis on the importance of relationships, interdependence and interconnectedness of people and systems (p. 201). I would recommend Sidney’s book as foundational reading for any safety person.

The only other book I have found helpful for safety with the word ‘safety’ in the title in the past 12 months has been: Amalberti, R., (2013) Navigating Safety, Necessary Compromises and Trade Offs Theory and Practice. Springer. France. It’s getting to the stage that most of the books I recommend for safety people don’t have the word ‘safety’ in the title.

So for those safety people who have got extra time beyond checking boxes I would recommend the following (presented alphabetically, a * represents heavy reading a # represents light reading).

I wonder how many of the following are on the reading list for a Diploma in WHS?

1. Caldini, R., (2011) Influence, Science and Practice. Peason, Boston.

2. #Carson, B., (2008) Take the Risk, Learning to identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk. Zondervan, Michigan.

3. Claxton, G., (2005) The Wayward Mind. Abacus Press, London.

4. Deci, E., (1995) Why we do What we Do, Understanding Self Motivation. Penguin Books, New York.

5. Fairhurst, G., (2011) The Power of Framing, Creating the Language of Leadership. Jossey Bass, San Francisco.

6. # Gigerenzer, G., (2014) Risk Savvy, How to Make Good Decisions. Viking. New York.

7. # Hallinan, J., (2009) Why We Make Mistakes. Broadway Books, New York.

8. Klein, G., (2003) The Power of Intuition. Doubleday, New York.

9. * Higgins, E. T., (2012) Beyond Pleasure and Pain, How Motivation Works. Oxford University Press, London.

10. * Moskowitz, G., and Grant, H., (eds.) (2009) The Psychology of Goals .The Guilford Press, New York.

11. Newberg, A., and Waldman, M., (2012) Words Can Change Your Brain. Hudson Street Press, London.

12. # Plous, S., (1993) The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making. McGraw Hill, New York.

13. Ramachandran, V.S., (2004) A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness. Pi Press, New York.

14. Raynor, M., (2007) The Strategy Paradox, Why Committing to Success Leads to failure (and What to do About it). Doubleday. New York.

15. # Schein, E., (2013) Humble Inquiry, The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling. Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco.

16. * Sloan, J., (2006) Learning to Think Strategically. Elsevier, New York.

17. * Slovic, P., (2010) The Feeling of Risk: New Perspectives on Risk Perception. Earthscan, London)

18. Sinclair, A., (2007) Leadership for the Disillusioned, Moving Beyond Myths and Heros to Leading that Liberates. Allen and Unwin, Sydney.

19. # Watt, D., (2011) Everything is Obvious Once You Know the Answer, How Common Sense Fails. Atlantic. London.

20. Weick, K., and Sutcliffe, K., (2001a) Managing the Unexpected. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.


What recommendations do you have? Please tell us below:

Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

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