How to survive a crisis


Coincidental bad luck can easily cause a situation to spiral out of control. By then, it might be next to impossible to pull things back together, and there’s a real crisis to manage rather than just a local emergency. Slow burning crises, and bad luck, happen more often than they should in the world of business and politics. Professor Sir David Omand, formerly both a director of GCHQ and the UK’s Security and Intelligence Coordinator, shows how to manage crises in myriad forms, using methodologies employed by the British intelligence agencies. Through examples from his storied career, including from the COBRA room in government, to lessons from historic crises such as Chernobyl or the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, he equips you with military intelligence techniques such as situational awareness and adaptive resilience that can be used in any crisis, from the professional to the personal.

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‘David Omand is exactly the man you need in a crisis’ Rory Stewart

‘An extraordinary achievement. Probably the best book ever written on crisis management’ Christopher Andrew, author of Defence of the Realm

We never know when a crisis might explode. Some ‘sudden impact’ events, such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters, blow up out of a clear blue sky. Other ‘slow burn’ crises smoulder away for years, often with warning signs ignored along the way until, as if from nowhere, the troops storm the palace.

In How to Survive a Crisis, Professor Sir David Omand draws on his experience in defence, security and intelligence, including as Director of GCHQ and UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, to show how you can detect a looming crisis and extinguish it (or at least survive it with minimum loss).

Using gripping real-world examples from Omand’s storied career, and drawing lessons from historic catastrophes such as Chernobyl, 9/11, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the WannaCry ransomware cyberattack, this empowering book is filled with practical advice on how to survive the multiplying crises of the future. Not every crisis need tip into disaster – if we have invested in personal, business and national resilience.

This is an essential toolkit for our turbulent twenty-first century, as well as an exhilarating read for anyone interested in the state of our world – and how we might improve it.

‘Piercingly insightful, brilliantly lucid and illuminating, frightening and wise . . . From nuclear meltdown to apocalyptic cyber-attacks, from pandemics to the drums of war, here is a remarkable record of how the threads of society can be held firm in the darkest days’ Sinclair McKay, author of Berlin

‘An amazing book. Timely, essential and important. The brilliantly insightful David Omand draws on his unmatched experience to explore the complexities of crisis. He shows us how poor preparation leads to failure, but applied intelligence saves lives’ Richard Aldrich, author of GCHQ

‘This book is the instruction manual we all need’ Sir Alex Younger, Chief of MI6

Additional information

Weight 0.476 kg
Dimensions 22.4 × 14.4 × 3.3 cm










658.4056 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K