12 Lessons in Crisis Management

Jonathan McMahon

As a key insider to the Irish bailout, McMahon witnessed what it takes to manage a crisis that threatens a nation. In Post-Pandemic he applies those lessons for recovering from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Date Published :
September 2020
Publisher :
The Liffey Press
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781916099876
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 9.2 X 6.1 inches
Stock Status : In stock


In little more than a decade the world has faced two major upheavals that few foresaw and fewer still had plans to address. As populations went into lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 and economic activity collapsed, many countries had barely recovered from the previous global financial crisis.

The pandemic swept across Ireland in 2020 as quickly as confidence in the country’s banks had vanished in 2008. In the earlier crisis, only the tough decisions of a small group of regulators and officials kept Ireland from collapse, though the price of salvation was a huge national debt and years of lost opportunities.

As a key insider to the Irish bailout, Jonathan McMahon was at the heart of the response, witnessing what it takes to manage a crisis that threatens a nation. Battle-hardened by his experiences at the top of UK financial regulation during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Jonathan’s advice on how to deal with crises is invaluable as governments grapple with the effects of COVID-19.

What will be the long-term consequences of the current pandemic for society? Just how bad will the economic crisis be? What can be done to make it less painful for billions of people? And how can we make our societies and economies more resilient for the future?

Jonathan does not have all the answers, but he does have strong and informed views on the actions governments and business leaders must take to make the world safer, fairer, and better prepared for future crises.

Post-Pandemic is not just a personal account of a crisis past, but also an essential guide for dealing with the crisis present. It is a book for our times.

About The Author

Jonathan is a Director of Green Arbour, a strategic advisory consultancy, and Well Human, a business focused on integrating physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing. He recently stepped-down as Joint-Chief Operating Officer at St. James’s Place Plc., where he was also Chief Risk Officer until 2016. He started his career as Sir Howard Davies’s Private Secretary at the Financial Services Authority in the UK, where he had a ringside seat to the financial effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In his early 30s, he worked as a Director at the Central Bank of Ireland where he played a leading role in the work to rebuild the economy following the global financial crisis. He was educated at St. Andrews University, The College of William & Mary in Virginia, London Business School, and IMD in Lausanne.


Chapter 1 – Out of Road
Lesson #1. No one knows what is going to happen.
Chapter 2 – Muscle Memory
Lesson #2. Get out of your bubble.
Chapter 3 – At the Storm’s Edge
Lesson #3. Imperfect decisions need to be made imperfectly.
Chapter 4 – Repairing and Central Bank
Lesson #4. People who agree with you are not always helping.
Chapter 5 – Failing a Way to Success
Lesson #5. Talking about the real issues requires courage.
Chapter 6 – Eastern Front
Lesson #6. Numbers are not real things. People are.
Chapter 7 – Waiting for Ashoka
Lesson #7. Be (too) emotional.
Chapter 8 – Making a Troika
Lesson #8. It is very hard to fix a problem you created.
Chapter 9 – The Mother of All Stress Tests
Lesson #9. Know thyself. The importance of mental and physical wellbeing.
Chapter 10 – Taking a Punt
Lesson #10. Confidence is not competence. The uses of doubt.
Chapter 11 – How Much?
Lesson #11. Crises end, but the causes endure
Chapter 12 - Endgame
Lesson #12. When we fix one crisis, we always create another.
A Post-Pandemic World

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