Credit: Modification of photo by Josué Goge shared via Flickr Creative Commons

Summer Reading: 10 Wildfire and Behavior Change Books to Choose From

By: Allison Jolley

Topic: Collaboration Communications / Outreach Wildfire

Type: Essay

“Did you lock the house? Turn off the coffee pot? Pack the books?”

That will be me next week, as my husband and I hit the road for a long-awaited beach getaway. Along with the beach towels, shade structure and sunscreen, books are at the top of my packing list. Thinking some of you may be on the cusp of a similar summer excursion, FAC Net members, staff and partners kindly provided reviews for some of their recent favorite reads regarding behavior change, collaboration and wildfire.

Behavior Change

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

“Decisive provides great examples of how people, groups and organizations have managed to make some pretty good decisions, instead of falling into the traps of narrow framing, confirmation bias, short-term emotion and overconfidence.”

-FAC Net staff

Book cover of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness, by Richard Thaler and Cass SunsteinNudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

“This book reviews and recommends policies that can and have improved people’s lives. Cass Sunstein worked at the Office of Information and Regulations from 2009 to 2012, where she implemented many of the ideas discussed in the book.”

              -FAC Net member


The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters
, by Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther

“An enjoyable read, though it definitely had some hindsight bias. That said, it was valuable to categorize people’s resistance to preparation into specific categories. It helped me understand the mindset of homeowners who do not want to complete mitigation projects, allowing me to respond to their concerns in a more targeted way. I can now consider their logic in terms of the biases explained in the book and respond to the underlying issue, not just the concern that they vocalize.”

               -FAC Net member

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

Cover of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman“By one of the founders of the field of behavioral economics, this book goes a long way toward answering the question “Why won’t those people do the thing that’s obviously in their best interest?” (Also, it addresses the less frequently asked question, “Why do I keep doing stupid things?”) Bottom line is, we have two systems for thinking: a fast one that works on rules of thumb (quick decisions), and a slow one that gathers and compares information (“rational” decisions). Guess which one takes less effort?

The book is a fascinating read — I read it just for fun, but kept coming across bits that made me think “Oh, everyone who is doing outreach should know this,” or “Wow, this would be useful when trying to get people to change their behavior.” If that reminds you of the book ‘Nudge,’ that’s because it’s from the same body of work. This book is less applied in its focus — and far richer.”

-FAC Net staff

Co-Learning and Collaboration

Breaking Robert’s Rules: The New Way to Run Your Meeting, Build Consensus and Get Results, by Lawrence Susskind and Jeffrey L. Cruikshank

“A quick read and point of reference for anyone the needs to facilitate groups or run productive meetings. The book provides great insights and solutions for good group decision making processes.”

-FAC Net staff

Learning in Landscapes of Practice: Boundaries, Identity and Knowledgeability in Practice Based-Learning, by Etienne Wenger-Trayner; Mark Fenton-O’Creevy; Chris Kubiak, Steven Hutchinson and Beverly Wenger-Trayner

“Landscapes of Practice provides a useful update to Wenger’s original ‘Cultivating Communities of Practice.’ It outlines an integrated version of net weaving that includes communities of practice and social learning in-between practices, describing those “in-between places” as landscapes of practice. It’s a bit nerdy for summer reading, but it bridges the academic and practice parts of social learning.”

-FAC Net staff

Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder, by Kent Nerburn

“Nerburn challenges your perspective on the cultural landscapes that many of us are endeavoring to engage with.  We all have assumptions that shape our approaches, as well as how we see and how we learn.”

-FAC Net staff

Wildfire Reads

Florida: A Fire Survey, by Stephen Pyne, is the first in Pyne’s “To the Last Smoke” series and focuses on Florida.

Book cover of Florida: A Fire Survey by Stephen J Pyne“If you are asking yourself, ‘Why start with Florida?’ you will know exactly why by the time you finish reading this book. In a style unique to his writing, Pyne mixes history, fire management practices and programs, policies, personal stories of key individuals, and his own scintillating insights to distill a must-read for anyone interested in why Florida, and more generally why the Southeast, is at the forefront of wildland fire.”

Read the rest of Alan Long’s review of Florida: A Fire Survey. His review was originally published in the Southern Fire Exchange’s June 2017 newsletter.

Land on Fire: The New Reality of Wildfire in the West, by Gary Ferguson

“To understand the complex interactions of conditions, policies and practices that have gotten us to the present point, and the choices we face in managing forest lands in the future, we need sources of information that present us with clear, unbiased, unpoliticized exposition. ‘Land on Fire’ is such a book. It seeks to be informative, but not prescriptive. It tells a complex tale, rich in historical insight and natural science, of a relationship between land and fire that seems presently out of balance.”

Leland Buck’s review of Land on Fire was originally published on TreeSource.org.

An Oldie but a Goodie

Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact, by Peter Plastrik, Madeleine Taylor and John Cleveland

“This book doubles as a handbook for network builders. The book starts by comparing networks to other group efforts (such as coalitions, alliances and associations). The case for how networks can be uniquely leveraged to work in hyper-complex situations — offering a nimble and expansive approach — helps readers see how taking the leap into a network way of working can yield big impacts.”

Read the rest of Michelle Medley Daniel’s review of Connecting to Change the World.

On the Road or Pressed for Time?

If your summer adventures will involve a road trip, or even if you’re just looking to spice up your morning commute, don’t forget to check your library’s audio book collection and make the most of your time behind the wheel!

Covers of three wildfire and/or behavior change books

Want to repost this story? Please contact our communications manager.

2 thoughts on “Summer Reading: 10 Wildfire and Behavior Change Books to Choose From”

  1. Linda Haynie says:

    My previous experience in emergency management led me several years back to a great book about risk, surviving disasters and resilience: “The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why” by Amanda Ripley. While our focus is on preventing wildfires/disasters, this is an interesting read about survival.

Leave a Reply

Per our policy comments are manually approved by a website administrator and may take some time to appear. Your email address will not be published when you comment.

Required fields are marked with an asterisk.