A convincing argument that becoming resilient is not only possible, but essential; food for thought for all and especially...

THE RESILIENCE DIVIDEND

BEING STRONG IN A WORLD WHERE THINGS GO WRONG

A revealing examination of the anatomy of resilience, the capacity to withstand and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses.

Rodin, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, which launched the 100 Resilient Cities project in 2013, explains why resilience matters and analyzes its components: awareness of assets, liabilities and vulnerabilities; diversity of sources of capacity; integration of functions and actions; the ability to self-regulate; and the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances. Firmly convinced that resilience can be learned, Rodin demonstrates how to build it and how it works through an array of stories from around the world. She shows how the disruptive factors of climate change, urbanization and globalization intertwine and how resilience can withstand these threats. Her stories explore the three phases of resilience—readiness, responsiveness and revitalization—and describe the resilience dividend, the ability to build new relationships, seize new opportunities and take on new endeavors. Many of her examples involve natural disasters: the earthquake and fire in San Francisco in 1906, the tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, and hurricanes Katrina in New Orleans and Sandy in New York. Rodin also looks at the Boston Marathon bombing, as well as crime and poverty in Medellín, Colombia. That story shows how Medellín, once considered the murder capital of the world and now on the Rockefeller list of 100 Resilient Cities, is successfully addressing its problems and moving forward. The author focuses not just on the thinking and actions of various government agencies, but on the efforts of communities, civic groups, businesses, individuals, clubs and other organizations and the tools and technologies that were employed. She clearly shows what went right and what went wrong and what can be learned from past experiences.

A convincing argument that becoming resilient is not only possible, but essential; food for thought for all and especially recommended for community leaders.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1610394703

Page Count: 352

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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