The Best Compliance Books

For Compliance professionals, CEOs and Senior Management or anyone who wants to better understand the history of the industry and improve their practice, here are some great reads with regard to the best compliance books.

Whether it is in times of a crisis or as a general exercise to understand a subject better or learn something new, there is no better way than reading up on it.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus constraining many people around the world to stay at home as much as possible, we suddenly have more time at our hands to read something interesting, useful or simply entertaining.

If this is the case for you or you merely would like to build your knowledge about Compliance, we put a list of titles together. While experience on the job often cannot be replaced, expertise goes a long way regardless how long one has been in the business.

Obviously, with an estimated 2 million new books published each year, such a list can never be conclusive, but here is our selection of some of the best Compliance books:

Corruption: The New Corporate Challenge 

Nothing makes a message believable than an authentic account – Nick Kochan already provided a fascinating account deep inside the world of money laundering in the Washing Machine (another title that could have made the list but is a bit outdated in times of money laundering using cryptocurrencies). In Corruption: The New Corporate Challenge, he explains the roots of corruption, outlines worldwide efforts to combat the problem, and explores enforcement and policy choices for businesses faced with a new international environment. By using several case studies the book shows how to operate in high-risk industrial sectors and geographical regions and and shares practical compliance tips for businesses.
Find it here >>

How To Pay A Bribe: Thinking Like a Criminal to Thwart Bribery Schemes

Another book using a practical approach to explain how crimes are done in order to prevent them, is Alexandra Wrage’s How To Pay A Bribe. She uses the real stories of people that show why they have gone down this past as well as how far some go to make money by using offshore front companies in remote place – relevant not only since the Panama Papers. With just over a hundred pages, it’s also something you can through relatively quickly to get a perspective.
Find it here >>

Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance: It Can’t Happen to Us–Avoiding Corporate Disaster While Driving Success

With the ambitious goal to show senior executives and board members how to ensure that their companies incorporate the necessary processes, organization, and technology to accomplish strategic goals, the book examines how and why some major companies fail. Richard Steinberg describes shortcomings and explains the critical elements that successful firms use. He shows how CEOs and senior management need to drive to cultivate a culture, that results in achieving business objectives and related growth, profit, and return goals.

Jay Lorsch Professor at Harvard Business School called it an „outstanding book provides a critically important perspective on how risk management can only be truly achieved by aligning culture, strategy, compliance programs, and compensation. It should be must reading for any board member concerned with improving the management of risk”
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Compliance Management: A How-to Guide for Executives, Lawyers, and Other Compliance Professionals

If you are in the Compliance business, this is probably the kind of title you are looking for: a step-by-step guide to creating and managing an effective compliance program, nothing more and nothing less. It comes with easy-to-understand overviews and recommendations for complying with specific laws plus heaps of interviews from high level compliance professionals, regulators and whistleblowers. If you need to implement a Compliance program, it will tell you where to start and what matters most in order to succeed in implementing efficient processes and procedures..
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Fully Compliant – Compliance Training to Change Behaviour

Talking about corporate culture, if you’ve ever been through a compliance training chances are you understand the perception of time wasting of front office personal and the frustration of compliance staff. Travis Waugh, the author of Fully Compliant, argues that Compliance training succeeds when you balance the needs of not just the organization but also the employees who you hope will learn and change their behavior. Compliance training needs to cover more and more aspects, while at the same time become less efficient and unsustainable. By connecting context, habits and motivation, he promotes compliance programs are flexible and create real learning experiences that change real behavior, thus diminishing the chance of misconduct in the first place. A must read for learning professionals and compliance staff delivering training!
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The Business Guide to Effective Compliance and Ethics: Why Compliance isn’t Working – and How to Fix it

Despite an ever-increasing number of regulations, countless corporate scandals and the demand for more transparency in the financial world, compliance programs often remain costly but ineffective. One reason certainly is, as authors Hayward and Osborn point out, the remaining rules-based, tick-box mentality. While this still is certain to fail, they lay out their view for organizations seeking to flourish and succeed and thanks to its engaging style helps the reader to understand what everybody should know and practice in compliance and ethics
Find it here >>

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

If you were rather looking for something catchier, read Michael Lewis’ story from the global financial crisis of 2007/2008, which is a personal favourite. In a gripping and excellently written tale, the author of Moneyball and Liar’s Poker (another two great books) follows four not-so-average people in the world of high-finance who predict the credit and housing bubble collapse before most of us.
Find it here >>

Did we miss anything in our selection of some of the best compliance books? Have you read a great book we should add to this list? Then drop us a line at!

Also, just to be fully transparent, no one has asked us to put together a list of the best compliance books or to promote the ones on the above list, we genuinely believe they are worth reading and as always with regard to a  situation where we accept forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation, we would like to point you to our dedicated policy for such cases.

Lavanya Rathnam

Lavanya Rathnam is an experienced technology, finance, and compliance writer. She combines her keen understanding of regulatory frameworks and industry best practices with exemplary writing skills to communicate complex concepts of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) in clear and accessible language. Lavanya specializes in creating informative and engaging content that educates and empowers readers to make informed decisions. She also works with different companies in the Web 3.0, blockchain, fintech, and EV industries to assess their products’ compliance with evolving regulations and standards.

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