- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (3 July 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802777961
- ISBN-13: 978-0802777966
- Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2.5 x 20.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,56,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril Paperback – 3 Jul 2012
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“Clear, flowing prose … The book made me think long and hard about how the pace and priorities of our daily lives can hinder our ability to live as decently and as truthfully as we can.” ―New York Times
“A tour de force of brilliant insights.” ―Philip Zimbardo
“An engaging read, packed with cautionary tales ripped from today's headlines … Even better, [Heffernan] points the way out of the darkness.” ―Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
About the Author
Margaret Heffernan, former CEO of several interactive media companies, blogs for BNET and the Huffington Post. She is the author of The Naked Truth and How She Does It, and lives in New Hampshire and England. Her TED have been viewed by over six million people. Visit her Web site at www.mheffernan.com.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Margaret Heffernan makes a strong case for how we make ourselves more vulnerable and less powerful by refusing to see what is right in front of us. America's multi-billion dollar dysfunctional relationship with emergency preparedness might well be called one of the most widespread and persistent examples of our willingness to ignore a situation to our own peril. Heffernan writes "...the Challenger explosion, the poorly coordinated response to Hurricane Katrina, climate change—can only happen when individuals and organizations turn a blind eye to what they know."
Throughout the book Margaret Heffernan provides example after example, where regular people -- not crazed haters of humanity -- simply avoided being present to realities, and it cost us dearly. The stories of the Bernie Madoff fraud and scandal, ENRON, BP's Deepwater Horizon and their Texas City Oil Refinery explosion, and so many other disasters are FILLED with people who didn't speak up, claimed to be unaware, accepted the status quo, etc.
Countless people in positions of authority in emergency preparedness and disaster response all across the country, but particularly in disaster-prone regions could be featured in any sequel to this book. Like so many people in Willful Blindness, they ignore the research on the efficacy of preparedness programs, and they continue to promote and put forth brochures, binders, pamphlets, classes, campaigns and trainings they know have never worked. Beyond the waste, and beyond the fact that people will suffer from the lack of preparedness, some know that this material is actually harmful* and they know that other less costly/more effective solutions exist. Willful Blindness gives us language to describe and discuss this phenomenon.
Heffernan is careful to not paint bystanders and others remaining willfully ignorant as monsters. She, in fact, acknowledges the benefits derived by not confronting hard and distressing issues, and she gives high praise to the "Cassandras" -- the people who cannot leave the truth unknown.
If you are a Cassandra for the topic of community emergency preparedness, Willful Blindness is filled with quality examples and a good dose of hope. This book could help people to find the courage to speak up, or provide more compelling arguments against our status quo lack of preparedness, and it's also an easy and thought-provoking read.
* Two papers related to the detriments of fear- and threat-based messages in emergencies and disasters. http://cardcanhelp.org/images/I-Cant-Hear-You020915-Final.pdf and http://cardcanhelp.org/images/public-perception-of-disaster-preparedness-Rocky-Lopes.pdf