Book cover - The Unthinkable
The Unthinkable, by Amanda Ripley

The Unthinkable is, at its core, a book about saving lives: saving your own life, and saving the life of others. Persuasively and accessibly written, it addresses what happens in the case of disasters.

Amanda Ripley writes clearly about several key ideas to reduce the risk of dying in the case of a disaster such as a mass shooting, a tsunami, a fire, an earthquake or a plane crash. She explains the importance of being prepared for the reality of disaster by taking the time to practice (or at least read the evacuation card) before an emergency, and then the importance of actually taking action during an emergency.

Ripley discusses several disasters where more people could have lived – and conducts original research that provides a compelling explanation of why some people died, and some people survived. Some of this was explained in distressing detail: distressing in the sense that it is emotionally frustrating to see the description of people who could have survived the crowd crush or the wedding fire – but did not survive. Of course, in a disaster, some deaths are unavoidable, and learning of avoidable deaths is like watching a horror movie where the audience can see the bad guy.