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Book Review: “The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why”

Premise: How often do you die? In Unthinkable, Amanda Ripley asks that query and embarks on a journey to explore the mindset of humanity to grasp what distinguishes one survival instinct from one other. If we have ever asked ourselves, “What would I do within the event of a disaster,” Ripley’s book is the most effective answer for her readers. Ripley explores different levels of human behavior through quite a few case studies and eyewitness accounts, leading readers to attract conclusions about themselves. Unthinkable asks us a difficult query: “Will my decision in a disaster result in survival or death?” More importantly, Ripley asks why we exhibit certain behaviors and whether we are able to change them to make us more resilient during a disaster.

Our review of Amanda Ripley’s The Unthinkable

Ripley explores a variety of disasters, each natural and man-made, asking us if we’re enamored with the psychic qualities of a survivor. The overarching query is probably the most poignant considered who’s most definitely to die in a disaster: why?

Unthinkable introduces a “survival arc” of actions and reactions when experiencing a disaster. Ripley identifies three phases throughout the survival arc: denying that something is mistaken, weighing the choices into account, and deciding what we must always and should not do.

Each chapter of the book focuses on a particular disaster that involves specific emotions and actions during a disaster, and explores how they’re related to one another. Much has been said about our instinctive responses to danger. Why can we perform acts of heroism? How do crowds of individuals suddenly turn out to be mortal? What physical reactions do our bodies undergo within the face of unimaginable fear? How do you stop yourself from freezing and transcend denial? Unthinkable definitely focuses on psychic survival during disasters, but there’s loads of practical advice interspersed with the reading to bring Ripley readers home, including a knowledge base on specific disasters that readers can face personally and mentally practice what to do they did.


Unthinkable, discovering the dark side of disasters, intertwines with a way of hope. The tragic stories of the survivors of the disaster are sobering and at the identical time heroic as they reflect the human soul to avoid wasting themselves and the lives of others. The stories range from the attacks on the World Trade Center to the Virginia Tech shooting. Ripley weaves empirical evidence throughout his writing to indicate why a few of us usually tend to die in a crash. However, these tragic stories contain a positive side, which is that humanity rises to the duty of doing good greater than we expect, even in times of disaster.

In an awesome library of disaster novels and self-help books, Ripley deserves praise for her work. Unthinkable is a well-researched and optimistic reflection on disasters and the way people cope with them. We often separate our surroundings from our emotions, believing that disaster may not occur to us. However, that is the idea that Ripley excels at breaking up, telling us not only why we’re liable to such pondering, but in addition break it. She combines her research with the fitting balance of judgment and private commentary, making it relevant to all her readers, not only those involved in disaster preparedness. She is adept at reaching her audience through individual stories somewhat than simply aggregated data, making her work comprehensible and straightforward to use when giving advice.

This book must be on everyone’s personal shelf. It is crammed with fascinating stories about how people react during disasters and provides us practical advice on prepare ourselves mentally before we take part in them. By understanding probably the most common the reason why people die in disasters, we equip ourselves with practical information that may save us in such times. If we ever think we’ll overlook the misery around us, Ripley is there to warn us that we’re all vulnerable to human response. at its base, Unthinkable is a book that believes within the humanity and resilience of individuals, especially as they struggle with their mental toughness during a disaster. It gives hope in times of despair, especially because it teaches us that we are able to overcome the most important obstacle to surviving disaster: ourselves.

About the book

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Book and creator
The unthinkable: who will survive the catastrophe – and why
By Amanda Ripley

Harmony; Illustrated Edition (2009)

Suggested Retail Price
$16 Paperback (Amazon)




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