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Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back Audible – Unabridged

4.4 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 7 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
  • Audible.com Release Date: July 10, 2012
  • Whispersync for Voice: Ready
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008J8LXJC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Book Fanatic TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
There are certainly things to like about this book. I really enjoyed the 1st half. Here you find the main ideas of the book and some fascinating case studies and examples. The second half starts dragging though and quite frankly I would find myself bored. I think here the authors began to stretch their thesis beyond its usefulness. There is a long description of a specific program in Chicago to reduce violence. Apparently it has been very successful but this is supposed to be an example of a resilient community. Instead it is a very specific program aimed at a very specific problem. Way too many details and I fail to see how that describes a resilient community.

I hate to give this book only three stars. However, in the end I was just wishing I would finish it. After a promising start, it ended up less than compelling. Further this is not at all about how an individual becomes resilient. If that's what you are looking for you only need to read a small fraction of the book.

It's OK. Just didn't suit me in the end.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Two stars, one each for readability and for marginally bringing a useful notion to people new to it. Three stars off for inconsistency, conclusions not in evidence and the vague prescription.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading a bunch of books about the political and economic issues facing the U.S., I wanted to read something that focused on more than just a tick list of discrete symptoms & solutions that might get us back on track. While the term 'resilience' is not exactly a common concept compared to others like 'sustainment,' this book promised to look at how components and people function within systems. Zolli and Healey describe how seemingly innocent decisions made early in varied ecosystems (e.g., fishing coral reefs, sinking wells to find clean water in Bangladesh) have led to eventual disasters and that solutions typically need to interact in unexpected ways to bounce back (or ahead) to a future state that might get individual people, groups, countries, organizations, or our planet functioning again. "Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back" absolutely addresses those issues, but you have to "work for it" to follow the authors' logic and observations that will help to address the disruptions that increasingly confront us.

Given that resilience is not generally discussed, the Introduction goes through a challenging baseline discussion to position the concept. By listing some sample disruptions -- Katrina, Haiti, BP, Fukushima, the Crash, the Great Recession, the London Mob, the Arab Spring -- they help to set the stakes. As they point out near the end of the book, some of these ecological or socioeconomic time bombs may be difficult for Americans to understand because we've been fortunate enough to be largely insulated from fragilities and disruptions that others in the world have had to deal with. "In a world temporarily devoid of consequences, the slow erosion and increasing inelasticity of our political, financial, socioeconomic and ecological systems scarcely seemed to matter.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Zolli & Healy bring a tremendous amount of research & erudition to the idea of resilience.

This work is coherently sequenced exploring, for a start, the nature of our tightly coupled world &, while this may be an efficiency maximizer, how this may compromise the construct of resilience. They go on to define what resilience is & then how it may manifest in our systems & closer still, in our lives. Having described then the various aspects of resilience, the final chapter tries to put it all together - a great summary, in my mind.

I'd say the chapters on systemic resilience are rather easier to comprehend - in a comparative sense
- than the chapters on human resilience. But the chapters on aspects of human resilience are much more fascinating. The great quality of this book is bringing together some truly interesting stories that exemplify an aspect of resilient humans or societies. And because of the research, & in spite of the great story-telling, data & information underscore lucidly the achievements of such resilient constructs making the tales more credible.

My sense is that ultimately the idea of resilience, though beautifully described here, cannot be divorced from its context in some sort of a deterministic way. The determinism is limited to the qualities of the resilient system but what the resilient system is depends on the context. I think that such ambiguity isn't necessarily a bad thing, though some of us might expect a more prescriptive dossier.

The authors, I felt, might have lightened up a little along the way. But this remains one of the more interesting & engaging books I've read this year.
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