Amanda Ripley, longtime staff writer for Time, has been extensively involved in the magazine’s 'Person of the Year' cover stories and now covers homeland security and risk from Washington, DC. Her disaster reporting recently helped Time win two National Magazine Awards.
America has long compared its students to top-performing kids of other nations. But how do the world's education superpowers look through the eyes of an American high school student? Author Amanda Ripley follows three teenagers who chose to spend one school year living and learning in Finland, South Korea, and Poland. Through their adventures, Ripley discovers startling truths about how attitudes, parenting, and rigorous teaching have revolutionized these countries' education results. In The Smartest Kids in the World, Ripley's astonishing new insights reveal that top-performing countries have achieved greatness only in the past several decades; that the kids who live there are learning to think for themselves, partly through failing early and often; and that persistence, hard work, and resilience matter more to our children's life chances than self-esteem or sports. Ripley's investigative work seamlessly weaves narrative and research, providing in-depth analysis and gripping details that will keep you turning the pages. Written in a clear and engaging style, The Smartest Kids in the World will enliven public as well as dinner table debates over what makes for brighter and better students.
It was 8.46 a.m. on 9/11 when Elia Zedeno, who had worked in the World Trade Center for twenty-one years, heard a booming explosion and felt the building lurch violently to the south. She grabbed her desk, taking her feet off the floor, and screamed, 'What's happening?' How would you react to a disaster? Would you be paralysed with fear? Would you panic and lose control? Or might you suddenly discover hidden strengths in yourself? In The Unthinkable, award-winning journalist Amanda Ripley investigates some of the most harrowing catastrophes in history in order to piece together exactly how we react in a crisis. Through compelling interviews with survivors and experts she uncovers our instinctive reactions, shows how primitive parts of our brains take over when we're put under pressure, and demonstrates that we can, in fact, train ourselves to do better. We all have a 'disaster personality' that reveals itself at moments of crisis. In The Unthinkable you can become acquainted with yours.Who knows? One day, understanding how it works may save your life.
It lurks in the corner of our imagination, almost beyond our ability to see it: the possibility that a tear in the fabric of life could open up without warning, upending a house, a skyscraper, or a civilization. Today, nine out of ten Americans live in places at significant risk of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, terrorism, or other disasters. Tomorrow, some of us will have to make split-second choices to save ourselves and our families. How will we react? What will it feel like? Will we be heroes or victims? Will our upbringing, our gender, our personalityanything weve ever learned, thought, or dreamed ofultimately matter?Amanda Ripley, an award-winning journalist for Time magazine who has covered some of the most devastating disasters of our age, set out to discover what lies beyond fear and speculation. In this magnificent work of investigative journalism, Ripley retraces the human response to some of historys epic disasters, from the explosion of the Mont Blanc munitions ship in 1917one of the biggest explosions before the invention of the atomic bombto a plane crash in England in 1985 that mystified investigators for years, to the journeys of the 15,000 people who found their way out of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Then, to understand the science behind the stories, Ripley turns to leading brain scientists, trauma psychologists, and other disaster experts, formal and informal, from a Holocaust survivor who studies heroism to a master gunfighter who learned to overcome the effects of extreme fear. Finally, Ripley steps into the dark corners of her own imagination, having her brain examined by military researchers and experiencing through realistic simulations what it might be like to survive a plane crash into the ocean or to escape a raging fire. Ripley comes back with precious wisdom about the surprising humanity of crowds, the elegance of the brains fear circuits, and the stunning inadequacy of many of our evolutionary responses. Most unexpectedly, she discovers the brains ability to do much, much better, with just a little help.The Unthinkable escorts us into the bleakest regions of our nightmares, flicks on a flashlight, and takes a steady look around. Then it leads us home, smarter and stronger than we were before.From the Hardcover edition.