- File Size: 2297 KB
- Print Length: 338 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (July 10, 2012)
- Publication Date: July 10, 2012
- Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
- Language: English
- ASIN: B006NZ7HQQ
- Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,061 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back Kindle Edition
|Length: 338 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Top customer reviews
The book is a tour de force of accounts of individuals and systems that are able to bounce back from unavoidable and unexpected shocks. The topics covered and the examples given range from biological and ecological systems to businesses to communications networks to individuals and communities. By the end of the book, the authors have addressed with great effectiveness the question: "What causes one system to break down and another to rebound?" The answers are necessarily complex, but can be summarized in the following way: "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."
I find that the authors' conclusions fit well with the recently published "The Rainforest - Building the Next Silicon Valley" by Victor W. Hwang and Greg Horowitt. Using a different matrix, they uncover similar principles.
This seminal work will help launch a new field of study into the broader ramification of resilience across multiple disciples.
The value of this book depends more upon the reader than the writers. If this is your first exposure to any kind of "systems" view of the world, then there's a high probability you will find Resilience to be intriguing and frustrating. This is a book of anecdotes that are supposed to demonstrate resilience and offer lessons; sometimes the conclusions/lessons make sense though they're all offered ipso facto, occasionally though the anecdote may be intriguing, you have to wonder how the story even fits within the resilience topic. The frustrating part is there's nothing actionable. Resilience is certainly a useful notion and there are a lot of "systems" professionals in every field from biology to banking who practice it, some more successfully than others.
Even if you're new to the topic, a better start is Gerald Weinberg's much shorter classic, "An Introduction to General Systems Thinking." And although it may not seem relevant, Peter Senge first pushed his "Fifth Discipline" systems thinking in 1990, revised in 2006; Senge's context is `the learning organization' but he could have called it `the resilient organization' as well.
Resilience is defined as "the capacity of a system, enterprise, or a person to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances." The "system" term appears frequently (504 times) and is a fundamental part of resilience but gets no real attention. ("Resilience" or "resilient" occurs only 461 times)
As one example, the authors argue that the 2008 financial collapse was obviously predictable because "At the core of the network, just sixty-six banks accounted for 75 percent of the daily value of transfers. Even more telling, the network topology revealed that twenty-five of the biggest banks were completely connected - so intertwined that a failure among any strongly suggested a failure for all, the very definition of `too big to fail'." All that's within the quotes may well be true, but "completely connected" is not defined and that's an odd way to think about the 2008 financial collapse. Arguably whether the banks were "connected" was irrelevant with a system built upon the house-of-cards of widely suspect and in the end, faulty risk models. If the risk models had been accurate, then connectedness would have been irrelevant. As another reviewer wrote, the Ceasefire example is interesting, but that's clearly a case of straightforward "problem solving" not "resilience." There's nothing systemic about Ceasefire.
Despite the final chapter's implications to the contrary, one of the problems with Resilience is that it's descriptive and not prescriptive. "...Resilience is often found in having just the `right' amounts of these properties - being connected, but not too connected; being diverse, but not too diverse; being able to couple with other systems when it helps, but also being able to decouple from them when it hurts. The picture that emerges is one of strategic looseness, an intentional stance of both fluidity (of strategies, structures, and actions) and fixedness (of values and purpose)." Seems like that's a little like teaching someone to cook by telling them to be sure to use the right amount of everything.
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