Book of the Day: Resilience

* Book: Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back. Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy. Free Press/Simon and Schuster (UK by Headline Books), 2012.

“Resilience” explores why some systems, people, organizations and ecosystems are able to persist, and even thrive, amid disruption. It is the culmination of a three-year journey my co-author, Ann-Marie Healy and I undertook to explore the patterns of resilience in many different contexts – from ecosystems to individuals and organizations. It was a journey that took us from the coral reefs of Palau to the back-streets of Palestine, to cutting-edge research labs.

Selected Citations

“Adhocracies thrive on data. And by the stroke of fantastic luck, we’re currently witnessing the global birth of an adhocracy of data — a global revolution that, for the first time, empowers orgranizations with the capacity to collect and correlate widely distributed real-time information about the way many critical systems are performing. This kind of open data will play a central role in resilience strategies for years to come.” (pg. 266, Resilience, Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy)

“And for organizations of all types there is a powerful lesson here: Resilience benefits accrue to organizations that prioritize the collection, presentation, and sharing of data.” (pg. 269, Resilience, Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy)

“A related theme in the resilience discussion is the importance of networks, which provide a universal, abstract reference system for describing how information, resources, and behaviours flow through many complex systems. Having a common means to describe biological, economic, and ecological systems, for example, allows researchers to make comparisons between the ways these very different kinds of entities approach similar problems, such as stopping a contagion – whether an actual virus, a financial panic, an unwanted behavior, or an environmental contaminant – when it begins to spread. Having a shared frame of reference allows us to consider how successful tactics in one domain might be applied to another – as we’ll see in newly emerging fields like ecological finance.” (pg 19, Resilience, Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy)

“Rather the resilience frame suggests a different, complementary effort to mitigation: to redesign our institutions, embolden our communities, encourage innovation and experimentation, and support our people in ways that will help them be prepared and cope with surprises and distruptions, even as we work to fend them off.” (pg 23, Resilience, Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy)