The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit

The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit

by Dmitry Orlov
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The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit by Dmitry Orlov

A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Financial, Commercial,Political, Social and Cultural Collapse

…one of the best writers on the scene today, working at the top of his game. There is more to enjoy in this book with every page you turn, and in very uncertain times, Orlov’s advice is, at its core, kind-spirited and extraordinarily helpful. Albert Bates, author, The Biochar Solution

When thinking about political paralysis, looming resource shortages and a rapidly changing climate, many of us can do no better than imagine a future that is just less of the same. But it is during such periods of profound disruption that sweeping cultural change becomes inevitable. In The Five Stages of Collapse , Dmitry Orlov posits a taxonomy of collapse, suggesting that if the first three stages (financial, commercial and political) are met with the appropriate personal and social transformations, then the worst consequences of social and cultural collapse can be avoided.

Drawing on a detailed examination of both pre- and post-collapse societies, The Five Stages of Collapse provides a unique perspective on the typical characteristics of highly resilient communities. Both successful and unsuccessful adaptations are explored in the areas of finance, commerce, self-governance, social organization and culture. Case studies provide a wealth of specifics for each stage of collapse, focusing on the Icelanders, the Russian Mafia, the Pashtuns of Central Asia, the Roma of nowhere in particular and the Ik of East Africa.

The Five Stages of Collapse provides a wealth of practical information and a long list of to-do items for those who wish to survive each stage with their health, sanity, friendships, family relationships and sense of humor intact. Shot through with Orlov’s trademark dark humor, this is an invaluable toolkit for crafting workable post-collapse solutions at the scale of the family and the community.

…Orlov does us all a great service by teasing apart the kinds and degrees of collapse so that we can prepare for what is likely and “dig in our heels” to prevent what is unsurvivable. Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute, author, The End of Growth

Dmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States in the 1970’s. He is the author of Reinventing Collapse, Hold Your Applause! and Absolutely Positive, and publishes weekly at the phenomenally popular blog

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780865717367
Publisher: New Society Publishers
Publication date: 05/28/2013
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 800,371
Product dimensions: 6.22(w) x 8.82(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Dmitry Orlov is a Russian-American engineer and writer who was born in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. He was an eyewitness to the collapse of the Soviet Union over several extended visits to his Russian homeland between the late eighties and mid-nineties. Orlov lives off the grid, sailing his boat up and down the Eastern Seaboard and commuting by bicycle. He believes that, given appropriate technology, we can greatly reduce personal resource consumption while remaining perfectly civilized. He is the author of Reinventing Collapse and blogs regularly at Club Orlov (

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The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
His theory is broken down well; easy to understand - good examples, and it makes sense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Probably one of the best books I've read in a very long time. It is not so much about why or how collapse happens in complex societies or what we can do to prevent it, but rather about the firms and shapes of collapse, illustrated with examples of old and new collapse societies. If anything, the case studies are incredibly compelling and informative. The book is not about what to do to survive a collapse, but what you could expect to see complex societies collapse.  The point of view the author takes in this book is also interesting. He writes in a detached, matter of fact, style. You can't help but think that it is written by someone used to observing our society from outside and he has acquired a sharp, and cold as steel, understand of what makes us who we are, as we are now. Be prepared to have your dearest beliefs shaken to the core, but if you can step outside of yourself for a second, you might just realize that the arguments presented in this book connect the dots in a way that helps you make sense of many things you've been wondering about, assuming wondering is what you do on occasion.