Book Review In Pursuit of Foresight

Strategic Security
Book Review: In Pursuit of Foresight

In Pursuit of Foresight: Disaster Incubation Theory Re-imagined. By Mike Lauder. Routledge;; 248 pages; $126.

Disasters produce both winners and losers, but most of those affected lack the analytical skill to understand why. In Pursuit of Foresight explores the multiple fields of study that nibble at the edges of disaster and the individuals trapped in social structures that too often fail. It merits widespread attention.

Drawing on an earlier work by B.A. Turner, this book extends Turner's thinking and develops a tool that security professionals, disaster management professionals, and risk managers can use to anticipate possible future disasters. Building on disaster incubation theory, author Mike Lauder develops a three-dimensional framework useful in developing foresight. He offers varied examples of practical usage and illustrates how updated thinking can help to avoid mistakes of dysfunctional organizational momentum. Lauder also discusses the plowman effect, which is the unintended adverse consequences of plans in place, as well as practical drift, which is the efficacy of standards and precautions reduced over time as the environment changes. Its advanced concepts use many critical thinking and emerging innovation techniques that are found today in big data analysis and analytics.

Overall, the book provides real-life information, informative theories, and concepts. It offers advice on what to expect and how to prepare for in an emergent situation. However, it is not a quick read. This book is an excellent text for disaster management professionals and anyone who is looking for a comprehensive all-hazards type text that discusses disaster mitigation. In addition, it provides a clear look at the policy process and how it works or, as is often the case, doesn't work.

This comprehensive book on disaster management includes case studies and useful updates on matters that readers will find useful in transmitting the core elements of disaster management. The critical thinking elements are relevant and helpful to those looking for an overview of disaster theory, and those who are seeking clarification of the concepts employed in the discipline. The book provides foundational information while actively engaging readers to gain a deeper understanding of the material, encouraging them to contemplate and learn more, rather than simply absorb what is given to them. The readings for each chapter create a climate for active learning, emphasizing the importance of what's being learned and how it can be applied.

In whole or in part, this book will help the public, public safety personnel, and policy makers understand why disaster policy too often is short-sighted and poorly implemented. This impressive work of scholarship makes an important contribution to disaster studies and would be an excellent text for graduate courses. Further, because the book is detailed, interdisciplinary, and reflects a broad perspective, it adds to the body of knowledge in disaster studies and theoretical research.

Reviewer: Dr. Mark H. Beaudry, CPP, is a frequent reviewer for Security Management and a member of ASIS.