Date posted: 30/12/2019 5 min read

Want to live more boldly?

Guide yourself through the risks and rewards of taking a chance with these resources from CA Library.

In Brief

  • In The Leap of Your Life Tommy Baker outlines how to identify the factors holding you back in life.
  • Other titles explore how to understand risk and detect accounting fraud.
  • All CA library resources are free for CA ANZ members to borrow, excluding the costs of returning.

Reviews Alexandra Johnson

The Leap of Your Life

By Tommy Baker

The Leap of Your Life

Life is a risky business, yet often you are implored to play it safe, to get a good job and keep your head down. Author and high-performance coach Tommy Baker, however, believes the risk involved in sticking to the mundanity of life may be far greater than pursuing something bigger.

Relying on some kind of life crisis to prod you into the path of self-discovery is not a strategy, he writes. Instead, you can leverage your past, your fear and your own inner wisdom to make some decisions and take a leap.

Baker interviewed more than 250 entrepreneurs, thought leaders, spiritual leaders and athletes and discovered a common theme – that despite their fear they all took the plunge and cast themselves into the unknown.

This book explains how to identify forces that may be keeping you back – from negative people to the entrenched myths you tell yourself. It outlines how to seize a crippling fear and use it to launch yourself into action.

For anyone who is in a dead-end job, a soul-destroying relationship that’s run its course, or a poor state of health due to lack of self-care, The Leap of Your Life could help you reassess your life and live more boldly.

An Economist Walks into a Brothel

By Allison Schrager
(Portfolio Penguin)

An Economist Walks into a Brothel

When you make a risky decision – take a new job, buy a house, go on a blind date – it is generally true that the potential for a bigger reward comes with more risk. Unfortunately, when estimating the odds of an event happening, most of us aren’t that great at understanding probabilities.

Financial economist and risk expert Allison Schrager believes that understanding risk and probability can help you navigate life far better and increase your chances of success. In An Economist Walks into a Brothel, she draws on sophisticated strategies from financial economics to offer five principles for dealing with risk.

Schrager outlines how to better know what risks you should take, how to measure them, and how to maximise their payoffs. She also discusses how to prepare for uncertainty, asserting it is possible to plan for the unplannable.

According to Schrager, the biggest mistake people make is not having clearly defined goals. People often take big risks just because they want a change but, she says, taking a risk without knowing what you want can be a recipe for disaster. She acknowledges knowing what you really, really want can be tricky, but includes a strategy to identify and define reward and then gauge how much risk you should take on it.

As you might glean from its title, Schrager’s book is no dull trundle through the numbers. From big wave surfing to the Gulf War, it brims with stories of the world’s most adventurous risk-takers. It’s a fun yet informative read, not unlike the Freakonomics titles by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.

Detecting Accounting Fraud Before It's Too Late

By Oriol Amat

Detecting Accounting Fraud Before It's Too Late

Creative accounting, accounting shenanigans, income smoothing, the big bath – whatever you call it, accounting fraud is on the rise. Half of organisations globally have been victims of fraud and economic crime, according to PwC’s 2018 Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey, and half of those frauds were perpetrated by someone inside the organisation. Oriol Amat’s book is a comprehensive guide to help managers prevent fraud and auditors to detect it.

Amat begins his book with a brief history of accounting fraud and debunks the myth that it’s a new phenomenon. Fraud has existed for as long as accounting has, dating back 4000 years to Mesopotamians tallying tributes to finance their temples.

The clearest signals of fraud are found in the accounts themselves. Warning signs include unnecessarily complex transactions to asset outflows concealed as loans, or sales that consist of non-monetary operations.

To illustrate how it’s done, Amat references cases from across the globe. He then describes fraud-detecting procedures, pertinent questions to ask, and supplies a risk matrix.

He also pays considerable attention to non-financial red flags. The problem, he says, is that in 21% of frauds the warning signs are as clear as day, but no-one takes any notice.

So is there such a thing as a ‘typical’ fraudster? PwC’s survey concluded that a big motivator for committing fraud was to receive a bonus. Entrepreneurs who, after experiencing rapid growth and success, are now in trouble may also cook the books.

As Warren Buffett said, “In the business world, the rear-view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” Amal’s book could assist accountants to clear the fog and reveal what lurks beneath

Also recommended this month 

Nine Lies About Work: A freethinking leader's guide to the real world
By Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall
(Harvard Business Review Press)

Nine Lies About Work: A freethinking leader's guide to the real world

Is leadership quality really a thing? These provocative ideas could make you rethink common perceptions about leadership, work culture and what makes people follow others.

The Moment of Lift: How empowering women changes the world

By Melinda Gates
(Pan Macmillan Australia)

The Moment of Lift: How empowering women changes the world

Melinda Gates discusses the irrefutable link between the empowerment of women and the health of societies, and shares her personal journey to becoming one of the most influential women in the world.

A Wunch of Bankers: A year in the Hayne Royal Commission

By Daniel Ziffer 
(Scribe Publications)

A Wunch of Bankers: A year in the Hayne Royal Commission

Charging fees to dead people and blatant conflicts of interest were just some of the lowlights revealed by Australia’s investigation into its banks and finance sector. ABC journalist Daniel Ziffer peers into the dark heart of banking.

MrExcel LX: The holy grail of Excel tips

MrExcel LX: The holy grail of Excel tips

By Bill Jelen
(Holy Macro!)

Know your report slicers from your portable formulas? Bill Jelen, the master of Excel, shares 125 tips, tricks and techniques to speed your spreadsheet workflow.


Lean Six Sigma Foundations

By Steven Brown,
LinkedIn Learning

(Run time: 1 hr 10 mins)

Want to improve processes across your organisation? This lecture is an engaging introduction to Six Sigma management techniques, from Henry Ford and Toyota to how Lean can be applied to a modern business.


The Three Types of Leaders of Innovative Companies

HBR IdeaCast
(Run time: 25 mins)

What’s the secret sauce to creating a company culture that promotes innovation, creativity and a growth mindset?

Read more:

Available from the CA Library

All resources featured are available for members based in Australia and New Zealand to borrow from the Chartered Accountants ANZ Library. Electronic resources are available for all members to download from the library catalogue.

All library services, excluding the cost of returning books, are free to members. The CA Library also offers tools, templates and resources tailored to both public practitioners and members in the corporate sector.

Members can also use the CA Library to access EBSCO, an online journal database that includes accounting, business and management journals such as Harvard Business Review and Strategic Finance, and newspapers such as The Australian Financial Review.


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