Andrew olli and Ann Marie Healy: Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012)
have been interested in the concept of resilience for some time. It seems to me that an understanding of resilience is critical in the contemporary world. Having some concept of why certain circumstances crush some people while others survive might give a clue to survival in a complex and often threatening world.
Zolli and Healey take a systems approach, often ranging wide in their discussions and occasionally venturing into topics about which they have less expertise than others. The book, however, is a fairly thorough exploration of the concept and gives a good introduction to the concept of resilience. Some of the situations report in the book bear further reading and exploration. The book, however, does provide an excellent starting place to think about the topic.
The range of systems explored is remarkably wide. Everything from coral reefs of Palau to the back streets of Palestine is discussed. The book is filled not only with reports, but also with opinions, some well founded, others that are a bit harder to follow.
With extensive footnotes and a large bibliography, the book purports to be a scholarly study. I’m not sure that i am as impressed with the academic quality of the book. The authors didn’t focus sufficiently for my tastes. I would have preferred that they examine in depth rather than cover the broad range of the topic. However, the book opens the door to more reading and offers a fairly comprehensive study of the literature on the topic. I’ll keep it as a reference for further reading in the future.