2018 Top 10 Books an EM Must Have

Top 10 Books every EM should Read

Hi and welcome to EM Weekly, and this is your host, Todd DeVoe speaking.

And this week we’re not doing an interview. Nope, this week it’s Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is today!

Happy Thanksgiving. Everybody who’s listening to this Thanksgiving, 2018.

First of all, I just want to say what I’m thankful for: and I’m thankful for all of my guests who have come on EM Weekly and to all of the listeners of EM Weekly.

I couldn’t be here without you guys. You know, we do this for you, we do this for the community. It’s not about us. We just happened to be the conduit and, and I do really appreciate all you all being here. It’s exciting too when I get to meet some of the audience members when I’m out at the conferences, or when people give me a call, I’m always open to talk to everybody.

So again, I do appreciate everybody who has listened in and who is part of this community. I do appreciate everybody on the EM Weekly Facebook group. That’s a lot of fun. I love interacting with everybody over there. Some of the conversations that go on there. Realistically today would not have happened. The book list that’s coming out today came from that group. And so I do appreciate and I’m thankful for everybody who, who participated in that poll regarding what book or books belong on the emergency managers bookshelf.

So I was debating on whether to start with number one and start from there and go down to number 10, but I decided I’m going to start at number 10 that way kind of leads up to number one, right? So that’s exciting, you know, give me the envelope for the number one book or books that belong on the bookshelf.

And in this case, number one is definitely just one book. It was close and a tie game right to the end.

So I’m going to start it off. It’s kind of exciting and we’re going to have these lists on the website, on www.emweekly.com Obviously those that are in the group can see it and you can all these books, you can get all of them, you can get an Amazon, you can get a Barnes & Noble, most booksellers, some you can go directly to the author and buy them. I highly recommend these books to go on your bookshelf or even better yet, you know, the holidays are coming up and if you don’t know what to buy an emergency manager or your friends or family, buy these books. It’s a, it’s always nice. And I like in books at Christmas time for me, it’s always nice. It’s better than underwear, I suppose. Unless you like underwear, or, pajamas, I suppose there are always comfy, but you can always get a book.

And so we’re going to start off with number 10.

I was surprised when it came in. Number 10,  I thought this was going to get a little bit more play on the list, however, it didn’t. I think it’s two things. One is it’s really specific to a set of disasters. And number two, it’s fairly new. Just came out April of this of 2017 and the name of the book is The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us and What We Could Do About Them by Dr. Lucy Jones.  Dr. Lucy Jones is in southern California and is kind of a fixture in during the earthquake times and whenever there’s an earthquake she is on TV, she used to be with Caltech.

She has retired since however, She’s still on TV.  I had the honor of being onstage with Dr. Jones on a couple of presentations that we did over the years, uh, here in southern California and she’s a really great lady and I’m excited that she has this book out and I’m excited that she made the list, although be it number 10, I would expect this to be a little bit higher.

I did not put this book on our list. So just to go back a little bit and talk about the list. The idea was I would put some books on Facebook in a poll that I thought were kind of cool and then everybody had the opportunity to vote on them or they too could place a book on the list as well and make it a group effort.

So a bunch of people put other books on the list outside of the ones I started with. So we ended up having somewhere around, think it was 30 books on the list. I don’t know, that could be wrong, I’ll go back and count, but somewhere on that number. So Dr. Jones made number 10.

Basically, it’s about earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, and volcanoes that all stemmed from the earth. What does disasters occur? We can do? It’s a really interesting book. I have it on my shelf myself. Uh, I’ve, I’ve started reading it. I have not read the entire thing. I have to be truthful. All right. Lucy Jones, sorry. But,  I haven’t read the entire thing. I’ve read parts of it, but it’s a really good book as far as what I’ve read of it. And I know that other people who have read it really recommended it in this made number 10 on our list.

The next one, which I was really surprised this one was on the list and I read this book a while ago, it’s a really good book, but it really goes into  instincts of survival and it’s called the Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence by Gavin de Becker and Gavin de Becker, if you guys don’t know who he is, he’s the industry’s largest or biggest or most important, I guess, personal safety companies that’s out there.

The gift of fear really goes into why that feeling of fear, that gut feeling of fear is really important and how it, how it kind of saves you until listen to your gut, trust your instincts. That is, again, you can get this on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or any other booksellers. Those are the big ones online I suppose, and I highly recommend it in some cases you can find pieces of it as well on pdf via google search. So if you want to take a look at it before you buy it, that’s an option to do as well.

So the next book, I have, to be honest with you, I have not read this book, nor have I heard of it until it made this list. By the way the Gavin de Becker Book and  Dr. Jones’s book are number 10 is a tie. So this next one is number nine.

Number 9 is Deep Survival: Who lives who dies and why.

And this is by a Lawrence Gonzalez. I have not read this book. I really can’t give you a personal recommendation, but it made the list and again, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, you can find it there. and other booksellers, I suppose.

So the Amazon write up says;

Over a decade since its original publication, a Lawrence Gonzalez his bestselling Deep Survival has helped save lives from the deepest wilderness and just as, as improved readers, every day lives. It’s a mix of adventure narrative, survival science, and practical advice has inspired everyone from business leaders to military officers, educators, and psychiatric professionals on how to take control, stress, learn to assess risk and to make better decisions under pressure.

Now, with the new introduction to his book, this is the newest, a copy of it and you can get it and you can also get it on audible. And, so this one I may check it out, you know, I haven’t read it, it made the list. It’s number nine on our list of the top 10 books that belong on your bookshelf.

So let’s move it on. This is kind of a cool one here. And this looks kind of interesting.  it’s actually the only author, to have two books on the top 10.

So this book is called the Dichotomy of Leadership and I’m actually reading that book right now. It’s full of stories that kind to show you leadership principles and how to really kind of balance that what leading a company or leading an organization is really about.

It’s Jocko Willink and also Leif Babin and they are two Navy SEALs and they take their stories of combat and put them into action and show leadership styles. And they have some stories regarding the businesses that they did some consulting for and how they were able to use those principles that learning in the military into action in the business world.

2018 Top 10 Books an EM Must HaveIt’s really a leadership book. The stories for me personally… I find that because of my time in the military, the war stories are whatever. But the interesting part about it is the principles of leadership, of how they take the military aspect of it and put it into the everyday business side of leadership. So if you like war stories and that type of stuff in this book might be for you.

But if you’d like, the idea is the principles of using the military style leadership and putting it into, into business. This is a good book for you. And again, this made number eight, is that Dichotomy of Leadership

This next book, I had the opportunity of reading and we just keep missing each other, but we’re going to have him on the show and it’s by Kelly McKinney and it’s called The Moment of Truth. And I really liked the way he put this book together and again, it’s a little bit of storytelling, but they’re taking potential disasters, some real disasters that occurred.  putting faces and names to it and using the principles of emergency management to tell the story and then going into how those principles of emergency management could be applied in that said disaster. So there’s some, a little bit of 9-11 in there, some active shooters stuff in there.

It’s a really interesting book. Kelly did a great job putting it together. I’m really excited that made the list and that one made the number seven on the top 10 books. So Kelly’s book because it was really great, I’m waiting to get him on the show. We’ve had a couple times where he was scheduled and we just couldn’t make things work out for whatever reason. and Kelly, if you’re listening out here, we’re waiting for you to come on the show to talk about your book and your process.  He is an emergency manager out in New York City. So he, he’s the real deal. So it’s not just a guy writing a book, it’s, he is one of us.

Kelly’s a practitioner of emergency management and he wrote this book called The Moment of Truth.

So moving onto number 6, we’re now we’re back into Jocko and Leif’s second book, or technically it’s their first book,  but the, it’s the number six on the books that should be on the bookshelf of the emergency manager and it’s called Extreme Ownership, how us Navy SEALs lead and win.

There’s a second edition out there for this book, and again, you can get this at any,  bookseller around or at Amazon or Barnes & Noble are the ones online that I found and I have not read this book and I haven’t started it. , I started with obviously the Dichotomy of Leadership that’s extreme ownership I guess for everybody in this has been recommended a few times by our guests and said, this is a really good book. It is actually on my list to read. I purchased the book, I have not read it yet.  so it’s on my list to read and it’s in my bookshelf, already. So it’s Extreme Ownership by Jocko and Leif Jacko Willink and Leif Babin and this is made number six on our top 10.

So number five on the top 10 list here is the Edge of Disaster, Building a Resilient Nation. And I read this book a while ago. This was actually an older one. It’s from February of 2007  when it came out and it’s by Steven Flynn and it really gets into the fact that we were really unprepared as a nation. The Book goes into terrorism a little bit, talks about natural disasters, where are we vulnerable, what we can do to fix it. And we really haven’t learned those lessons necessarily from Katrina and you know, obviously, we see this with Rita and we see this with Maria and Harvey and the super-storm Sandy.

So these disasters are hitting us. What are we learning from? If you want, we should go back in time here and read this book on the Edge of Disaster by Steven Flynn and I think that you will enjoy it. I enjoyed it. It’s on my bookshelf.  Actually, this is one of the ones I did put on the list and it got voted as number five on the list.  like I said, it’s an older book, but I still think it’s really worth the time to take a look at and read and Steven Flynn comes with some really good credentials behind his name. It’s a page turner if you will, and you’re really going to take some life lessons from it.

I took this book and as I was reading it and highlighted areas, underlined things and put them into practice. What I teach my emergency management classes at the college. I use a lot of the stuff here from the edge of disaster. We’re talking about recovery and really building that resiliency into our communities. So number five is the edge of disaster by Steven Flynn.

Moving up to the next one here and it’s a number four. It is, Light’s Out a Cyber-attack A Nation Unprepared Surviving the Aftermath, and this is by Ted Koppel. And, you know, at first, I was like, Ted Koppel, you know, he’s a reporter. What’s he know, but I gave it a shot so I pick up the book, I started reading it. I’m like, wow! This is an exciting book. Ted has done a really good job of researching it and living this and he really believes it.

I mean, he’s, he’s prepared and he has his family prepared for disasters. And I think that if you could take a guy like Ted Koppel, who as a reporter is very stoic when he reports and he’s longtime reporter been to many incredible places. He was a war reporter and has that in his background. I think it’s kind of exciting to see someone like that, who’s that mainstream going out and tell people to be prepared and why and really talking and making a case for how we need to make our infrastructure… when I say infrastructure, we are talking about the electrical infrastructure stronger.  I don’t know if you’ve guys have ever dealt with a large scale black before. I was involved in one in south orange county,  the event actually started in Arizona and it cascaded all the way into Orange County, California, and it was amazing to see how fragile our electrical system really is.

I know we’ve had a couple guests on talking about the grid and what we can do to harden it, to make it, to make it more strong. I think that,  you will enjoy this book if you have not read it. I highly recommend it and matter of fact, I’ve actually bought a copy of this book for somebody for their birthday and so I’m glad that they’re able to read it and enjoy it. Again, it’s paperback right now, not very expensive, somewhere like on the $10 range. So again, it’s a little older book. it came out in 2016. So it’s not necessarily, you know, fresh off the off the press, but it’s not super old, but I do highly recommend it. It’s a paperback book as it’s a fun read. it’s not boring it by any means. It’s not wonky in any case. I think that if you’re going to give it as a gift, I think people who read will enjoy it. People who know Ted Koppel enjoy his work. and to people who want to prepare for disasters will enjoy it. So I think it’s one of those books that would go over well as a gift and that’s not the only one that we had on, on here that has to deal with the grid. And we’ll get to that in a second.

Moving to number three and this book we’ve had, we’ve had Garrett Graff on the show and uh, it’s called Raven Rock, the story of US government secret plan to save itself while the rest of us die. And it is a hardcover book. It’s a great book. I highly recommend it’s on sale right now. Well on, Amazon at least.

I highly recommend buying this book. I actually bought this book three times and the reason why I bought it three times, one on Audible copy of it. The second one I bought a hard copy to have and then I gave it away and then the third one, I bought another copy from directly from Garrett and he had him sign it for me as kind of a cool,

So Garrett, really great guy, number one, number two outstanding book, well written, it really gets into the beginnings of, of emergency management, the beginnings of FEMA. It goes all the way back to Truman and all the way to today and what we do as emergency managers, what FEMA is, how, why it got developed civil defense system. If you like the history of emergency management, you’ll love Raven Rock and I can’t recommend this book more, again it got voted as number three, a book on the, on the shelf.

So now we’re moving up the ranks here to the top two, but realistically two of them will have a tie and we’ll get into that in a second.

But again, Raven Rock number four, buy it, buy a couple copies and tell Garrett I sent you alright.

So this one now I’m going to talk about, and it’s been again, recommended highly by people who have been on the show right when I asked that question. What book books or publications you recommend

The Unthinkable who survives when disaster strikes and why by Amanda Ripley has come up time and time again and there’s a reason behind it.

It’s an outstanding book. I have a copy of that on my bookshelf. I got to see Amanda Ripley speak a couple times. Actually, at the IAEM conference, one time and I’m at the CESA conference here in California and it was amazing to be able to see her speak.

Her speech is really good. It’s basic, you know, if you get to hear her you’ll enjoy it, why she’s doing what she’s asked. What the cool part about it is she started writing this book after she’s been responding to disasters around the world, um, and seeing who survived and why. And She asked that question why? And I really enjoy that question. Right? And that’s one of the things I really get into is why, why did things happen? What’s the process behind it? Why did this person to survive in this person, not, you know, you take a look at homes that caught on fire and why did that one catch on fire and this one not in a wildland fire and that why question really sticks with you.

And so she went back and took research and took a look at it and she found out why people survive disasters. And if you haven’t read this book, you really need to, uh, this was a little older, 2009. But like I said, it’s been highly recommended a bunch of times on the show. I highly recommend it. The stories in there are unbelievable stories of 9-11 are in their stories from back in the, uh, back in the history of, of why peoples or by different things. And I don’t think that you’ll go wrong by buying the book as a gift. So that’s the Unthinkable and Who Survives.

The next book coming up. It’s an amazing story. And uh, I had a friend of mine recommend this book to me and I went and I read it and I was like, holy smoke.

This is one of those books that you go, incremental decision making makes for bad policy and not they have a plan written down to follow.

It’s, it just shows how terrible, terrible incremental decision making is during a disaster. And the name of the book is called Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink. I’m kind of speechless right now with this because the deal is, is that it’s a hospital and people went to this hospital because it was one of those fixtures in the community. I think that the system let people down. I don’t want to judge anybody in this thing. There’s the story that’s told in this book is powerful. She lays out a really good case about what she researched and did and she’s investigated this thing. It’s not just an opinion piece. This has been litigated in court, not her book, but the story. Well, when she’s talking about it and the people were found not guilty, but I would say that the reason why people died, Memorial Hospital was incremental decision making gone bad.

And I think that if you take a look at this book and see why, if you work in a hospital, you need to read this book. If you know somebody who works at a hospital, they need to read this book. If you have a hospital in your jurisdiction, you need to read this book. If you like emergency management, you need to read this book and there’s a reason why it made number two. I voted for myself on here and I didn’t put it on the list but I voted for it. And Five Days at Memorial I highly recommended if you don’t read this book, you’re really, really missing out.

Now we’re coming to number one.

Number one, this book was one of those books that you read it and you go, wow, I could see myself making not the same decisions necessarily, but going through that process and this book really kind of gets into the first book that there’s.

It’s a three book series, but this first book gets into right after an event occurs, the city coming together, making decisions, opening the emergency operation center, the raw discussions that are occurring in the policy room, the raw discussions that are occurring in the emergency operation center, the decisions that are being made and some of the considerations that are being made after this particular event occurs. And the story is called One Second After by William Forstchen. William Forstchen was on our show as well when he came out with his other book called One Year After. William wrote the final story in the series called the Final Day. And they’re all, they’re all very good, well-written books. It’s fantasy. It’s not a true story. And it talks about electricity going out. An EMP attack is what ended up being, but it talks about electricity going out actually all the power, everything powerful cars stop working, so forth and so on.

You gotta read it with the idea that it is a fiction book that has everything in it is not true. I Don’t know, enough about the EMP to say that that’s exactly how it would work out. But you know, in this case, it’s like I said, it’s a fiction book. I just go with it. Don’t fight the scenario, like we say when we’re doing training and you will really enjoy it. But I thought he really in this first book took the essence of what decision making is during a disaster. The conversations that have to happen during a disaster, implementing the emergency operations plan, especially when you have nothing that works. The fire trucks don’t work, the police cars don’t work, the jail doesn’t work anymore, you know, things like this.

So I really was excited about reading this book when it came out. And again, it’s a little bit older to 2009 a book, but I really think that it took the, the essence of what emergency management is and, and plays it out in this, uh, in this fiction book and I think that William had a really good understanding of what it was to be an emergency manager talking to him about the research that he did on these books. He went through and talked to his city’s emergency manager and sat down with them, ask them questions and, and played this scenario out. So it wasn’t like he just, you know, willy-nilly made this scenario, you know, made the decision-making point that he really did the research, really got the essence of what it was to be in that EOC, under that pressure, making these decisions, life-altering decisions for people. Um, and I think it was really exciting.

So that is book number one, One Second After for the book, books or publications that belong on your bookshelf.

Now there are a few books here that did not make the list. They did not make the list because people didn’t vote for him.  However I want to kind of mention a couple of books, I think that it really kind of good that you might want to have. One book that I think is exciting, especially for people in the western United States with the water crisis. , it’s called the Cadillac Desert. And the other book that I think is I’m reading right now and again talks about water. It’s called Thirst. Those two books didn’t make the top 10. However, I really find them interesting books specifically about water.

So if water is one of your things those two books you should pick them up.

Another book that I’m going to put out there, and again, this is a really good Christmas gift if you want to give it to your CERT team members or loved ones or people who want to be prepared. It’s called Thank You for Being Prepared. And it was by Michael Cantor. That book has really well written for somebody you for preparedness, so I highly recommend buying that as a gift as well.

So anyway, we’re coming down here to the, to the end of the show. You know, these are the books that made the list.

We will do this again next year with the voting.

So, if you have not joined the Facebook group yet, go and do so. So you too can enjoy a voting for the top 10 books or book that belong on your emergency managers bookshelf for the holiday book show.

Again, I’d love to have you guys come over there. You can find us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn and find us over there. Join us, converse with us. Love to have you.

Always come over to  the website, www .emweekly.com And you can also go down there and do the ask. Todd, if you have any questions, I’d love to have any questions that are out there, and again, thank you so much for listening to our show.

Without you were really nothing and it’s exciting to be part of this and I hope you guys have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope that you have a wonderful, wonderful holiday season.

See You, next week.

The List

This is the EM Weekly’s top 10 list of books and emergency manager should have on their bookshelf. Here they are in reverse order from the poll that was taken on the EM Weekly’s Facebook Group. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have. (For your convenience we have linked to Amazon.com we are in no way connected to Amazon.com and they did not pay for us to link to them)

10) The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker

10) The big ones

9) Deep survival

8) The dichotomy of leadership

7) Moment of truth

6) Extreme ownership

5) The edge of disaster

4) Lights out

3) Raven Rock

2) The unthinkable

2) Five Days at Memorial

1) One Second After


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