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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Gray Rhino

The Gray Rhino

How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore

Michele Wucker

St. Martin's Press

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The #1 English-language bestseller in China - the book that is shaping China's planning and policy for the future.

A "gray rhino" is a highly probable, high impact yet neglected threat: kin to both the elephant in the room and the improbable and unforeseeable black swan. Gray rhinos are not random surprises, but occur after a series of warnings and visible evidence. The bursting of the housing bubble in 2008, the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, the new digital technologies that upended the media world, the fall of the Soviet Union...all were evident well in advance.

Why do leaders and decision makers keep failing to address obvious dangers before they spiral out of control? Drawing on her extensive background in policy formation and crisis management, as well as in-depth interviews with leaders from around the world, Michele Wucker shows in The Gray Rhino how to recognize and strategically counter looming high impact threats. Filled with persuasive stories, real-world examples, and practical advice, The Gray Rhino is essential reading for managers, investors, planners, policy makers, and anyone who wants to understand how to profit by avoiding getting trampled.


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MEET THE GRAY RHINO

In the autumn of 2001, Glenn Labhart was chief risk officer at Dynegy. The energy company was considering buying an energy trading company whose stock had fallen by 80 percent...

Praise for The Gray Rhino

"This helpful guide to getting out of your own way long enough to see the rhino charging over the hill will be useful reading for managers, entrepreneurs, and risk takers of all stripes." --Publishers Weekly

"A valuable guide for individuals and policymakers who want to act when they see the lights of an oncoming train." --Kirkus

"Even more important than a Black Swan is a Gray Rhino: the highly probable, high impact event we often fail to act on. This book offers some easy tips on how to move to action and create competitive advantage."--Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

"Why on earth would we need a book to tell us to pay attention to and prepare for obvious, high probability events? Because we resolutely avoid and deny what is right under our noses. The Gray Rhino explains why and lays out a valuable set of steps to become more resilient and realistic about the threats and challenges that will redefine our world."--Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America and author of Unfinished Business and The Idea that is America

"Michele Wucker provides an updated assessment of the challenges that confront society, that need to be addressed, yet we ignore. Public officials would serve us well by getting busy addressing the Gray Rhinos that are out there, rather than waiting for the next predictable surprise." --Max Bazerman, Straus Professor Harvard Business School, Co-Director, Center for Public Leadership and author of The Power of Noticing… More…

"This helpful guide to getting out of your own way long enough to see the rhino charging over the hill will be useful reading for managers, entrepreneurs, and risk takers of all stripes." --Publishers Weekly

"A valuable guide for individuals and policymakers who want to act when they see the lights of an oncoming train." --Kirkus

"Even more important than a Black Swan is a Gray Rhino: the highly probable, high impact event we often fail to act on. This book offers some easy tips on how to move to action and create competitive advantage."--Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

"Why on earth would we need a book to tell us to pay attention to and prepare for obvious, high probability events? Because we resolutely avoid and deny what is right under our noses. The Gray Rhino explains why and lays out a valuable set of steps to become more resilient and realistic about the threats and challenges that will redefine our world."--Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America and author of Unfinished Business and The Idea that is America

"Michele Wucker provides an updated assessment of the challenges that confront society, that need to be addressed, yet we ignore. Public officials would serve us well by getting busy addressing the Gray Rhinos that are out there, rather than waiting for the next predictable surprise." --Max Bazerman, Straus Professor Harvard Business School, Co-Director, Center for Public Leadership and author of The Power of Noticing

"Michele Wucker is right. Often we can see crises coming: climate change, terrorism, financial crashes. Yet, we fail to act. This valuable book explains why. It’s a must read for leaders of all organisations, public and private as we prepare for the inevitable challenging times."--Kishore Mahbubani, Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (National University of Singapore), and author of The Great Convergence

"In a lucid and accessible style, Michele Wucker forces us to see the knowns we have been treating as unknowns, and teaches us to see opportunities in crisis. This book is a useful primer for rethinking how we manage everything from our personal life to the global economy." --Parag Khanna, author of Connectography and How to Run the World

“Equally vital for companies and countries, [The Gray Rhino] serves as a critical reorientation of crisis management strategy and policymaking.” —Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group and author of The J Curve, The Fat Tail, and Every Nation for Itself

“The world urgently needs a risk-management paradigm shift. This book makes a compelling case for fixing the very risks we create, a bit more every day, or decide to ignore. When your eyes cross those of a Rhino, it's too late.” —Professor Erwann Michel-Kerjan, Executive Director, Wharton Business School Risk Center

“The Gray Rhino offers strategies for dealing with the biggest and most dangerous weak spot for organizations, companies, and nations: the willful failure of business and policy leaders to perceive warning signals... This important, insightful, and original book will be a must read for global decision makers and thought leaders.” —William Saito, CEO of Intecur and author of The Team: Solving the Biggest Problem in Japan

“As Michele Wucker warns us: It's not if; it's when. This is a book for our time, when we face multiple, evident existential threats... This book reminds us that denial will not save us, and provides strategies for navigating a way forward to survival by ferreting out the opportunities born of crisis.” —Mira Kamdar, author of Planet India: The Turbulent Rise of the Largest Democracy and the Future of Our World

“If Black Swans leave one feeling helpless, Gray Rhinos teach us that we do have the power to act. In this original proposal Michele Wucker alerts us to how important it is to wake up to what's looming before us and make good decisions about how to respond in time.” —Dr. Noreena Hertz, author of Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World

The Gray Rhino should be required reading for decision makers in business and policy. Drawing on many examples from politics and business, social and economic policy, Michele Wucker provides amazing insights into how organizations can define and confront their obvious but neglected risks. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will have many Gray Rhinos if we don’t act in time to create the necessary principles and rules to direct technology and progress in a way which deflates the risks but uses fully all the great potential.”-- Professor Klaus Schwab, Chairman, World Economic Forum and author of The Fourth Industrial Revolution

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Reviews from Goodreads

Michele Wucker

Michele Wucker is the author of Lockout: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right and Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola. Wucker has been recognized as a 2009 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow. She has held positions including president of the New York City-based World Policy Institute; vice president of studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and Latin America bureau chief at International Financing Review. She has written for The New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and World Policy Journal, among others. She lives in Chicago.

Read a Daily Beast interview with Wucker

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