The Resilience Dividend

Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong

With a richly anecdotal range of stories, Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin shows how people, organizations, businesses, communities, and cities have developed resilience in the face of otherwise catastrophic challenges. Building resilience—the ability to bounce back more quickly and effectively—is an urgent social and economic issue that Rodin believes should be at the top of every community’s to-do list. 

384 pages. ©2014.
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Reader Reviews for this Book


Review posted March 18, 2019


Such a great book on the resilience efforts and needs in our communities


Review posted February 11, 2019


As a therapist, I am all about building resilience. It's a tough world out there and it's impossible to come without community and hope. With the entire West Coast being on the verge of a serious natural disaster, I can't help but think that this is a chilling view of what is to come for us.


Review posted January 29, 2019


This book may well become even more salient with time. The examples of resilience it gives are useful, and should resonate not only in our current era, but as the ramifications of worldwide economic decisions and climate change mitigation failures begin to appear with more breadth and frequency. Thank you for including this on the list.


Review posted January 3, 2019


A good read for the community that wants to change. The people need to change with the help of leaders.

Purple Crayon Consulting

Review posted November 25, 2018


An engaging narrative about resilience mostly at a population, rather than individual level. However, community-wide concepts can be applied to personal or interpersonal situations, and many of the concepts apply at multiple levels. This is a hopeful book.


Review posted September 26, 2018


This is a good book for looking at the big picture, such as businesses and communities. I was hoping for a more personal level of resiliency or small community such as a family or classroom. With that in mind, I didn't quite finish it. The situations were engaging and it was hopeful in the scenarios described.


Review posted June 12, 2018


This book was eye opening and a great tool to use in my practice.


Review posted April 22, 2018


A book that everyone should read. It helps change, shape and builds understanding of living in a society together -- how we can improve the way we think about it.


Review posted April 8, 2018


I really enjoyed the perspective of this book.


Review posted March 26, 2018


Amazing book

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Review posted March 4, 2018


This book was not what I expected. I got some good nuggets out of it, but it was definitely not a page turner. The highlight for me was the challenge and potential of the emerging sharing economy. Those last few chapters were the best.


Review posted September 26, 2017


I found this book slow to read. It was interesting, but the focus was on organizations and bigger community and I had hoped to focus more on individuals since I teach.

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Review posted August 15, 2017


This book reinforces that resiliency can be learned and that community and relationships are a foundation point in order for this to happen. After reading many books about trauma, this book gives a new perspective that reinforces my current beliefs.


Review posted May 19, 2017


While a bit lengthy, this was an incredible book! As someone who supervises students who come to college with a wealth of experiences -- and struggles -- learning more about resiliency was helpful in developing my mentoring relationships with them.


Review posted May 16, 2017


This book topic is very timely. Resilience in on our minds, and is a big part of my job working in state government. The stories in this book remind us that we, as humans, are resilient - but there are things we can do to make sure we can bounce back quickly after an emergency. Cascades Earthquake, anyone?


Review posted February 17, 2017


Helps to shed light on to why some people "bounce back" from difficulties and others do not.


Review posted February 8, 2017


This book is not only readable and compelling because of the specific examples and stories it presents, but it also can be naturally adapted for any kind of reader--teachers working with students of any age, mentors working with mentees, job seekers who want to build their soft skills, and community leaders working on various projects, to name just a few.


Review posted December 23, 2016


Resilience has replaced sustainability as the new buzz word and while I holds promise as a framework, I was disappointed that this book did not address that better. The five characteristics of resiliency are useful but she seems to lose her focus on the framework.


Review posted November 18, 2016


Now more than ever we need to understand what resilience looks like and how to cultivate it in our towns and communities. The Resilience Dividend is a heartening look at what works well ...and why working well towards real resilience helps everyone near and dear. We don't have to be victims of circumstance. Rodin covers post 9/11 New York and our experiences there. Having lived through it myself I can tell you what she gleaned in on point. We are extraordinary all of us. We are capable and resilient beyond measure...we just need to prepare and see ourselves for what we are. This is a great read for this moment.


Review posted November 1, 2016


This is an amazing, current, very readable book. The fact that I have access to all of these great resources through the Select Books Program continues to be a resource I am so grateful for.


Review posted May 23, 2016


As an educator, it was beneficial to read Rodin's ideas on how to navigate the changing climates and cultures that our students and society are facing every day. The interconnectedness of the social systems is highlighted in a way that helps you understand how multiple factors work together to effect the present and future well being of the children I work with.


Review posted May 15, 2016


Disruption affects us all in our communities. It is taking place in business, non-profit organizations and government. This book does a good job of describing how to successfully build more resilience ourselves.


Review posted April 23, 2016


A fascinating book. I have never thought to look at disruptions in this manner. It will definitely cause me to re-evaluate how plan for future events.


Review posted March 8, 2016


Excellent book! I appreciate the application of resilience to communities and organizations, and not just individuals.


Review posted March 3, 2016


Great Book. Useful.


Review posted February 2, 2016


This is a great book about the essence of building resilient communities -- not only communities subject to natural disasters, but communities which want to come out of any challenges to be vibrant leaders. I would recommend it to anyone interested in living in a community which really is a great place to live.


Review posted January 26, 2016


This book provided a lot of examples of resilience through challenges-successes and failures in between. There were many ideas to consider as the process of developing resiliency through overcoming challenges and dealing with circumstances when less than desirable--which can become the satisfying and rewarding part of moving forward--in the end keeping balance and paying off with a dividend of resiliency.


Review posted January 15, 2016


useful information


Review posted January 8, 2016


Interesting read, definitely eye opening and worth a read.


Review posted December 24, 2015


The Resilience Dividend begins with great promise but stumbles. The promise is a framework for understanding what comprises resiliency, a word that seems to mean everything to anybody. Rodin lays out five characteristics of resiliency: Aware, Diverse, Integrated, Self-Regulating and Adaptive. This is very useful. But she clutters up her argument with too many, too detailed descriptions of sundry activities so that she loses her focus on the framework. A shorter work would be more effective in conveying her points and providing readers with useful guidelines to make their own work more resilient.


Review posted November 14, 2015


This book inspired me to begin the process of working with my community to look at our community and how we can protect it from catastrophic wildfire to become a Fire Resilient Community with one area of Resiliency (Wildfire Resiliency) completed with a strategic plan and actionable items, ready for the community to engage and expand upon.

Stacey Howard

Review posted September 29, 2015


The Resilience Dividend highlights the possibilities of what communities can achieve by aggressively and creatively addressing their vulnerabilities. The author also highlights the need for constant and vigilant attention to the threats communities face, as often forward strides can be lost as a community loses its sense of urgency. According to the author, communities need a dedicated core group of leaders willing to work within the community to build support for new initiatives, and to educate and engage individuals and groups in new ways of approaching resilience building.


Review posted September 14, 2015


The concept of community resilience in the face of difficult situations is what propelled my interest in this book. However, after reading it, I was still left wanting more explanation (hows and whys) and practical humanistic inspiration. The dividend yielded was not what I expected.


Review posted September 6, 2015


I have been reading about resilience in children, but this is resilience on a city or even nationwide scale. Earthquakes, flooding, terrorism are all events discussed and particular examples are used to show how each city or area either showed resilience or failed to show resilience. Sometimes a huge failure resulted in much better planning for the future. For example, the 1989 earthquake in the Bay Area forced San Francisco to work on making a better plan for future earthquakes. Initially I found this book a challenge to continue reading. Each chapter contains multiple examples of resilience, but only a small piece of the particular example is presented. Another small piece will show up in a future chapter. For example, in Chapter 1 Medellin, Columbia and its challenges are discussed. However, it was not until page 149 (Chapter 8) that the innovative solution of escalators was discussed. The use of escalators to combat gang activity was a complete surprise to me. I also wonder about the relevance of this book even 10 years from now. The book uses many modern examples and so will always be a historical record of ways cities attempted resilience efforts. The actions of the Rockefeller Institute are noted extensively; the author is the president of the Rockefeller Institute. It is hard to tell if this is a comprehensive review or simply focused on those events in which the Institute has been involved in some manner. I highly recommend this book for city planners and others involved in emergency preparedness. It is useful for the average citizen as well once you figure out the flow of the book. It inspired me enough to see whether Portland is one of the selected 100 resilient cities ( It is not. Given the recent hype about a huge earthquake/tsunami potential in the northwest (, I hope someone is working on this. An interesting idea to take from Superstorm Sandy on the east coast was the use of Airbnb to find places to stay for displaced people. Airbnb reconfigured their site to allow people to list their places at $0. Lastly, this quote from a Shell executive was quite thought-provoking. I had previously thought of sustainability as an excellent goal to strive toward. Here’s the quote, “’With sustainability, the emphasis is on sustaining things and avoiding change. With resilience, it’s more about accepting that change is inevitable.’”


Review posted August 20, 2015


Resilience is an incredible attribute to develop and apply to many of life's challenges and this book does an excellent job of defining and describing the powerful difference resilience makes in an often challenging world.


Review posted August 18, 2015


good book..took awhile to get thru it but it was informational.

Deborah Rogge

Review posted July 13, 2015


This book was awesome. I moved to Oregon after Katrina because I was tired of stressing over potential storms every summer. I now prep for earthquakes. I have joined a C.E.R.T. team here in Molalla to help others prepare. I am also the Mayor of Molalla for 16 more months and am in the process of updating our disaster plan so this book was very timely. Project Impact was of interest to me so I went online to read more. I will be working closely with Clackamas county for preparedness but believe that community preparedness is better handled by working with individuals in area neighborhoods and local social organizations. This book speaks to that approach in Chapter 7. I have seen first hand how disasters cascade due to human ignorance and lack of preparation. I have also seen first hand how people pull together after disasters strike post Katrina. My neighbors pulled together to help empty out the wet and smelly damaged goods from each others houses and helped tarp roofs before hurricane Rita hit. There was no one else around for months to help do these immediate things. The whole region was decimated and we had to rely on each other. I will probably go on to read " Clear as Mud" and "Five Days at Memorial..."


Review posted July 6, 2015


Really good

Susanna Hamilton

Review posted June 6, 2015


Introductory, yet insightful book that looks resiliency in communities and organizations around the world. I did not find any of the information revolutionary, but a nice reminder that preparedness before a disaster equals a more successful recovery after.

Walter J Smith

Review posted May 28, 2015


This book is written for and aimed at institutions working to help communities that have experienced disastrous challenges to their existence. It attempts to make clear how any communities (entities), geographic, corporate, or otherwise, build resilience within and around themselves through the five listed primary characteristics of resilience, each of which is described with examples from the field of the writer's long experience: Awareness, Diversity, Integration, Self-regulation, and Adabtablilty. These will sound familiar to anyone with experience in any situation where disaster has struck; they will also ring true for the student of building resilience in their community, whether disaster has appeared or not. Many of us are aware that disaster is increasingly likely to strike, no matter where we live, as a result of climate change, and no matter to what we attribute climate change. Indeed, most of the examples the book uses to illustrate the power/absence of any of those five characteristics of resilience, are from areas hit by disasters caused either by war or climate change. And, as the Pentagon keeps saying with more regularity, wars are increasingly spawned by climate change & climate change will increasingly become the Pentagon's primary challenge. In short, we all need some schooling on resilience - how to achieve it, sustain and conserve it, and grow it. This book will inform anyone who wants to know of the institutional view and how institutions might respond, to whom, and why, when resilience has become an emergency issue. It is not a primer for communities seeking to build resilience. For that, one still needs to visit places on the web like,, or


Review posted May 10, 2015


Living on the side of a volcano in the Cascadia region, I thought I recognized the importance of resiliency. I underestimated the impact of my choices in the area. Excellent food for thought.


Review posted April 8, 2015


This book is not entirely original or unique, but it's a fairly good introduction to thinking about resilience. It covers being prepared for a disaster, responding to a disaster, and recovering from a disaster in a way that leaves the entity better off than it was before the disaster, and better prepared for future disruptions of the same or different kinds. It focuses mostly on large scale disasters that affect entire cities or regions, like floods or explosions, but also discusses the relevance of resilience planning for organizations and even individuals. One of my favorite recommendations in the book is to deliberately incorporate small scale, planned disruptions in ways that not only help prepare for major unplanned disruptions, but that inspire new ideas and constant innovation. Overall, there's enough value in this book to make it worth reading.


Review posted March 30, 2015


Great book showing that even though we are diverse in culture or opinions on preparedness that at the end of the day we all belong to a community. We are stronger together.