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Resilience: Why Things Bounce Backby Andrew Zolli
Synopses & Reviews
In an age wracked with devastating natural disasters, global economic meltdowns, and escalating political turmoil, Resilience uncovers the hidden interconnectedness of systemic failures—both natural and man-made—and shares paradigm-shifting lessons in recreating stability and sustainability in a volatile world.
When the fallout of Hurricane Katrina led to staggering oil price hikes in the U.S., domestic farmers were encouraged to produce ethanol—a cheap byproduct of corn—as an alternative fuel. However, with the American export of grossly marked down crops, Mexican farmers were practically put out of business while locals faced a 400 percent increase in the cost of regionally grown corn for tortillas. A crisis was at hand—and this was just one of many to come.
Our planet, our economy, and our lives are in a constant state of intertwined upheaval, but instead of taking a doomsday approach to this seemingly inevitable wave of change, Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy offer a powerful new lens through which to view the world. Using the emerging field of resilience research, they explain how we can combat the steady disruption of our ecosystems, businesses, and governments with better shock-absorbers.
Resilience is a pioneering book that first observes how catastrophes are resolved within a wide range of disciplines from finance and neuroscience to oceanography and social psychology. Through original reporting, the authors then apply these insights to larger questions: Why are some systems more adept at absorbing change while others completely unhinge? Since most systems are interdependent, how can one stave off the impact of crisis upon another?
Provocative and eye-opening, Resilience sheds light on the multifaceted nature of change and gives readers access to cutting-edge tools—developed by the leading thinkers of our time—to help us adapt to an ever-evolving world rather than fall prey to its unpredictability.
"This intriguing, wide-ranging probe ponders the underlying principles behind whether complex systems of every sort — government, business, social, natural — function or fail. Zolli, director of the global innovation network PopTech, and financial and technology journalist Healy ask: since 'olatility of all sorts has become the new normal,' is it even possible to isolate causal factors in an ever more complex world? Their findings emphasize the importance of examining the importance of elemental interconnectedness in contrast to isolating and addressing features individually. To demonstrate deep linkages between apparently unrelated events, they cite the role Hurricane Katrina played leading up to the 2007 Mexican food riots. This is followed by analyses of international terrorism, the 2008 financial crisis, and the ad hoc international effort to assist Haiti following its catastrophic 2010 earthquakes. Indeed, the term 'adhocracy,' coined by 1970s futurist Alvin Toffler, is invoked to describe the spontaneous coalition of forces that the digital age makes possible. Throughout, Zolli and Healy commendably avoid simplistic nostrums and note a potential problem: that increased systemic complexity can itself be a source of fragility. And while the measurement and feedback that illuminate a system's health are vital, even they occasionally bite back. The authors emphasize 'there are no finish lines here and no silver bullets,' though their vision is optimistic and should engage anyone contemplating our shared future. Agent: Zoe Pagnamenta, the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
IN THIS TIME OF TURBULENCE, scientists, economists, social innovators, corporate and civic leaders, and citizens alike are asking the same basic questions: What causes one system to break down and another to rebound? Are we merely subject to the whim of forces beyond our control? Or, in the face of constant disruption, can we build better shock absorbers—for ourselves, our communities, our economies, and for the planet as a whole?
The answers to these vital questions are shaping a new field of inquiry, and a new agenda, focused on resilience: the ability of people, communities, and systems to maintain their core purpose and integrity amid unforeseen shocks and surprises. By encouraging adaptation, agility, and cooperation, this new approach can not only help us weather disruptions, but also bring us to a different way of being in and engaging with the world.
Reporting firsthand from the coral reefs of Palau to the back streets of Palestine, Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy relate breakthrough scientific discoveries, pioneering social and ecological innovations, and important new approaches to constructing a more resilient world. Along the way, they share insights to bolster our own psychological resilience, foster greater stability within our communities, and establish leadership imperatives for more resilient organizations. Zolli and Healy show how this new concept of resilience is a powerful lens through which we can assess major issues afresh: from business planning to social development, from urban planning to national energy security—circumstances that affect us all.
Provocative, optimistic, and eye-opening, Resilience sheds light on why some systems, people, and communities fall apart in the face of disruption and, ultimately, how they can learn to bounce back.
About the Author
Andrew Zolli is the founder and curator of Pop!Tech and a Fellow of the National Geographic Society. His work and ideas have appeared in a wide array of media outlets, including PBS, The New York Times, NPR, Vanity Fair, Fast Company, American Demographics, Popular Science, and many others. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Ann Marie Healy is a playwright, screenwriter, and journalist. Her essays, ficiton, and plays are published through Smith and Kraus, Samuel French, and The Kenyon Review. As a journalist, she has covered financial and technology news for magazines like Institutional Investor and Financial Technology. She lives in Saugerties, New York.
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