Amanda Ripley, a longtime TIME Magazine contributor, writes about human behavior and public policy. Her book, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes — and Why, is the first major book to explain how the brain works in disasters — and how we can learn to do better. Ripley is a literary pragmatist. In her book and in her work for TIME and other magazines, she obsessively investigates the mysteries of human behavior--not just what we do, but why. Over the years, she has written or contributed to more than a dozen TIME cover stories, including Person-of-the-Year profiles of Bill and Melinda Gates, Rudy Giuliani, FBI Whistleblower Coleen Rowley and WorldCom Whistleblower Cynthia Cooper. Ripley is currently a Bernard L. Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, where she is studying public schools around the world. Amanda’s work has also appeared in the Atlantic, Slate, the New York Times Magazine, the Times of London, National Geographic Adventure and the Washington Monthly. She has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Newswomen’s Club of New York and the Washington Monthly, among others. Before joining TIME, Amanda covered the D.C. court system for Washington City Paper and reported on Capitol Hill for Congressional Quarterly. She graduated with a BA in Government from Cornell University. Currently, she writes feature magazine stories from Washington, D.C.