chapter  1
26 Pages

The Great Seattle Fire: An Analogy for Our Times

On June 6, 1889, in the frontier town of Seattle, WA, a cabinetmaker accidentally knocked over a pot of glue that started a fire. His attempts to extinguish the flames spread the grease-based glue. The fire spread to adjacent buildings, and by the time it had burned itself out, 25 city blocks of the bustling seaport town lay in ashes (Figure 1.1). Some could have been completely crushed by these events; the leaders among them recognized the opportunity.