Monday, March 16, 2009

"The Unthinkable: Who survives when disaster strikes, and why" by Amanda Ripley

Why I read it: Recommended by my friend Nadine. Also, I read an interview with the author in Salon? where she listed off a few things that you can do now to survive in the future.

Bookmark: Library receipt.

Tastes like chicken: "The Lucifer Effect" by Philip Zimbardo.

This book is packed with anecdotes about different disasters, and people who survived, and people who didn't. Kind of a compare-and-contrast.

What I liked: This book used references in what I think of as the Rolling Stone style. That's where the author refers to an expert, and then repeatedly re-refers to them using some clever note, like "Robyn, the tech writer" so I could remember quickly and easily who they were, and what they were experts on. A lot of the newspapers and magazines I read don't do that, and in long-form journalism, I often find myself searching back for who the heck this person was. That drives me nuts.

By the way, I think of it as Rolling Stone style because that's where I first noticed it, and I figured they did it so the stoned people reading the magazine, or the ones with "long term loss of short term memory", would still be able to enjoy the articles.

Not so much: Like some of the negative Amazon reviews, I wished there was more practical advice. Sometimes it seemed like a catalog of disasters, rather than a survival guide. At the same time, there's always the US Armed Forces Survival Guide.

Lesson: Wear flats, stay fit, stay calm, learn to text on my phone...

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