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The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes--And Why by Amanda Ripley

My streak of nonfiction reads continues--and ends with The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes--And Why by Amanda Ripley, a writer for Time magazine. I read a short article by Ripley in Time; it was about the survivors of the Hudson River passenger jet crash and their behavior in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

The Unthinkable is a fascinating read. Ripley examines the various stages one goes through in a disaster (for example, denial, deliberation, determination...) and the different reactions people have and why (for example, paralysis, panic, action, heroics...). It also examines who responds in what way and why they respond this way in a crisis or disaster and what we can do to improve our chances of survival in the midst of a disaster such as a fire or a tsunami or a plane crash (for example, rehearse evacuation, locate all the exits in an unfamiliar place...). Ultimately this book is an examination of human behavior as it is influenced by genetics and experience in the face of the worst circumstances humans face. And it is analyzed through the lens of accounts of various disasters throughout human history, such the terror attacks of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, crowd stampedes in Saudi Arabia, and the 2004 Asian tsunami. The behavior and experiences of survivors are shared by the survivors themselves and are explained, analyzed, and enlightened by experts in psychology, emergency management, and other fields.

I highly recommend this book; it is unlike any other you have read, and it just might help you out if you ever find yourself in a disaster. You can also check out the book's website by clicking here where you will find more resources for disaster preparation as well as related articles about current events.

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