Deepwater Horizon: The Movie


Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon (trailer) premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, so I had a chance to see it before it hits theatres at the end of this month.

It was a bit difficult for me to enjoy this movie, but that’s just because I know the story quite well. I’ve read the report, taught the case a bunch of times, wrote about the accident, and am writing about it again. When you know all the plot twists that are coming, a film is just not that interesting. So I will let more qualified others comment on its merits as a piece of entertainment.

But I do want to say that the film did a nice job of covering the main themes of the event and (some of) its causes. It’s a Hollywood disaster movie, rather than a documentary, so one shouldn’t expect a perfect coverage of all the details. But the essence of the disaster is quite well captured, from the relationship between BP and Transocean to the disturbing scene (and a compelling illustration of confirmation bias in action) when the negative pressure test is redone because it doesn’t initially provide the “right” result.

So it’s worth watching. And if you’re looking for a more in-depth, scholarly analysis–something more Harvard than Hollywood–check out Deepwater Horizon: A Systems Analysis of the Macondo Disaster (by Earl Boebert & James Blossom; Harvard University Press), which also came out this month.



More experts, more bankruptcies?


My friend John Almandoz and I recently published a paper on the relationship between the proportion of banking experts on a bank’s board of directors and the likelihood that that bank will fail. A reader-friendly summary just appeared in the online edition of Harvard Business Review. Click HERE to take a look, and let me know what you think!

Poets & Quants MBAs To Watch: Anthony Harbour







Congratulations to Rotman School of Management graduate Anthony Harbour for being selected by Poets & Quants as one of their MBAs To Watch this year. Anthony was a student in my Catastrophic Failure in Organizations course as part of a great cohort in 2016 (thanks for the shoutout to the course, Anthony!). A Los Angeles native, Anthony came to Rotman with prior experience at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and left a lasting mark on the Rotman School. You can read about his many great contributions to our community on his Poets & Quants profile. Congratulations, Anthony!