Kirkus Star


Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong
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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. 11th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1610394703
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2014


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