Test Cover Image of:  Rethinking Readiness

Rethinking Readiness

A Brief Guide to Twenty-First-Century Megadisasters

Foreword by: Irwin Redlener
Rethinking Readiness offers an expert introduction to human-made threats and vulnerabilities, with a focus on opportunities to reimagine how we approach disaster preparedness. Jeff Schlegelmilch identifies and explores the most critical threats facing the world today.

Author Information

Jeff Schlegelmilch is the deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He previously worked for the Yale New Haven Health System Center for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response and the Boston Public Health Commission.

Irwin Redlener is the director and founder of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute. He is also a professor at the Mailman School of Public Health and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and president emeritus and cofounder of the Children’s Health Fund. His books include The Future of Us: What the Dreams of Children Mean for Twenty-First-Century America (Columbia, 2017).


William L. Waugh Jr., Professor Emeritus, Georgia State University:
Schlegelmilch provides a new perspective on the major threats and vulnerabilities facing modern society. Readers will find the discussion of megadisasters intriguing and the argument for better preparation compelling. Rethinking Readiness argues for a broader view of disasters and for a sustained effort to reduce the threats and societal vulnerability.

Ksenia Chmutina, coauthor of Disaster Risk Reduction for the Built Environment:
Rethinking Readiness brings information on the scientific elements and socially constructed origins of megadisasters together in a clear and organized way. Schlegelmilch illustrates the interconnectivity of multiple drivers, showing how research and practice should consider these if we are to reach a more sustainable future.

Daniel P. Aldrich, author of Black Wave and Building Resilience and director of the Security and Resilience Program at Northeastern University:
Covering a wide range of natural hazards and man made threats, Schlegelmilch's book pushes us to think through the question that we ask all too often: are we truly prepared? With chapters on biothreats, climate change, critical infrastructure failure, cyberthreats, and nuclear conflict, he sets out a framework to ensure that we take serious risks head on and build resilience to them. A must read.

Alice C. Hill, former senior director of resilience policy on the National Security Council:
This timely book both looks ahead to the mega-disasters on the horizon—disasters that tank economies, shred infrastructure, and take lives—and outlines how communities can start preparing now. It is an essential guide for policy makers and concerned citizens alike who want to build a better future.

Tom Ridge, forty-third governor of Pennsylvania and first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security:
It is often said that the tragedy of 9/11 was rooted in a failure to imagine a disaster of that particular character and scale. Jeff Schlegelmilch reminds us once again of the continued relevance of that hard-earned lesson. He guides us through extreme but plausible scenarios of some of the most existential threats we face—biological catastrophe, cyber infrastructure collapse, and other civilization-altering events—providing a straightforward account of what could be in store for us if we fail to invest in prevention and mitigation. Rethinking Readiness forces our leaders to answer the question—have we done all we can? Now is the time to imagine!

Audience: Professional and scholarly;