Upshift: Turning Pressure into Performance and Crisis into Creativity

By Ben Ramalingam

‘[A] creative and original book on resilience through crises’ DAVID MILIBAND

‘[A] fascinating book is full of insights … I highly recommend it’ KATE RAWORTH, AUTHOR OF DOUGHNUT ECONOMICS

From a leading international crisis management expert, a breakthrough book about performance under pressure that will change the way you think about stress

When we experience too much stress, we often feel like shutting down and escaping the source: we ‘downshift’. With too little stress, we become apathetic and disengaged. But what happens in the middle zone – when we experience what psychologists call ‘positive stress’ – and how can we use it to overcome extraordinary barriers and perform at our peak?

From his role as a globally recognised change-maker at the likes of the United Nations, the International Red Cross and the World Bank, Ben Ramalingam has a unique vantage point from which to identify the key principles that can enable anyone to use stress as an opportunity for change. We learn how a switch in mentality helps musicians dazzle huge crowds against all odds; how astronauts focus on originality to overcome life-threatening incidents; and how discovering a sense of purpose allows emergency health workers and aid experts to deal with unprecedented crises.

Through a sweep of fascinating interviews, in-depth research and inspiring human stories, Upshift provides us with an everyday toolkit that can help to improve our work, relationships and mindset, and places us on the road to success. Taking readers on an epic journey from early humans’ survival of the Ice Age to how modern social movements emerge and propagate in the digital world, Upshift is a reminder that creative solutions to complex problems will always exist – as long as we’re ready to innovate.

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 16 Feb 2023
Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-0-00-849830-6
Ben Ramalingam is a senior leader, innovator and researcher specialising in international crisis management and development. He is the executive director of the United Kingdom Humanitarian Innovation Hub and has worked with and advised the United Nations, the World Bank, national and regional governments, non-governmental organizations and businesses. In 2020 he was named a Humanitarian Change Maker of the 2010s, as one of the ten people or organizations who had done the most to improve international humanitarian work over the course of the decade. His first book, Aid on the Edge of Chaos, was widely acclaimed.

‘Ben Ramalingam has brought all of his considerable passion and experience to write this creative and original book on resilience through crises. I will be looking for Upshifters from now on!’David Miliband -

‘How can we experience stressful situations not as a threat to avoid, but as a challenge to rise to? This fascinating book is full of insights from Ben Ramalingam's rich personal and professional experience of responding to crisis. I highly recommend it’Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics -

‘A fascinating and inspiring read for everyone who aspires to harness creativity in the face of extreme constraints - which in today’s runaway world is every single one of us’Jaideep Prabhu, author of Frugal Innovation -

‘Upshift is an inspired book about those moments when operating on the edge of your comfort zones, when you discover not only who you really are but who you have the potential to be. It's essential for you - and for those around you’Mike Adamson, Chief Executive Officer, British Red Cross -

‘A reassuring guide to empowerment’Kirkus -

Praise for Aid on the Edge of Chaos -

‘Groundbreaking … Important and relevant’Financial Times -

‘Ramalingam sets out a challenge … to rethink our basic assumptions and to think and act in ways that are more attuned to the real world in all its complexities’Sir Richard Jolly, former Assistant Secretary Generalof the United Nations -

‘Marrying science, policy and practice with a deep moral conscience, [Ramalingam] points to a future that we should all be working toward’Peter Doherty, Nobel Laureate in Medicine -

‘Impressive … Sets a new milestone’Guardian -

‘A leading champion of the adaptive, scientific,trial-and-error thinking that the aid industry badly needs’Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist -