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The Unthinkable

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It was 8.46 a.m. on 9/11 when Elia Zede o, who had worked in the World Trade Center for twenty-one years, heard a booming explosion and felt the building lurch violently to the south. She grabbed her desk, taking her feet off the floor, and screamed, What s happening? How would you react to a disaster? Would you be paralysed with fear? Would you panic and lose control? Or might you suddenly discover hidden strengths in yourself? In The Unthinkable, award-winning journalist Amanda Ripley investigates some of the most harrowing catastrophes in history in order to piece together exactly how we react in a crisis. Through compelling interviews with survivors and experts she uncovers our instinctive reactions, shows how primitive parts of our brains take over when we re put under pressure, and demonstrates that we can, in fact, train ourselves to do better. We all have a disaster personality that reveals itself at moments of crisis. In The Unthinkable you can become acquainted with yours.Who kn
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How will you react when disaster strikes?

About the Author

Amanda Ripley, longtime staff writer for Time, has been extensively involved in the magazine's 'Person of the Year' cover stories and now covers homeland security and risk from Washington, DC. Her disaster reporting recently helped Time win two National Magazine Awards.


"A must read. We need books like this to help us understand the world in which we live." -- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of 'The Black Swan' and 'Fooled By Randomness' "A fascinating book ... The Unthinkable is part study of the science of reaction to extreme fear, part indictment of the US government's response to the terrorist threat, part call to arms" -- Robert Crampton * The Times * "Excellent and accessible study of how people react in disasters ... aside from the sound advice, one of the main strengths of this book is the wealth of anecdotal material and startling facts' 4 stars" * London Lite * "Ripley's survey of a vast area of research is impressively handled and eminently readable and, should disaster strike, the insights she provides into how you and those around you may respond might just save your life" * New Humanist * "Spiced with surprising factoids, this book might save your life one day. Just don't read it on a trans-Atlantic flight" * Bloomberg *

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