If you are an outdoor enthusiast, this book is a must read. Even if you arent (and I am not) you will probably be very entertained. Although I found the book a little slow, it gets much better and exciting as it goes. The stories get more amazing and I found them inspiring.
The author draws many observations about "how to" survive, many which seem legitimate, but I found the true stories themselves worth my time. It has made me want to go to survival school.
This is a very good read. As you proceed through the book you realize more and more how this subject matter pertains to everyday life. If you were lost in the wilderness, would you sit down and die? Many people do just that. Don't do it in everyday life. Get a plan and "do something". Choose this book and listen to it with an empty glass.
yes, it won't teach you survival techniques. he tells you right there in the book: survival is all about mindset. the stories are interesting, with a little Taoism tossed in. entertaining and enjoyable.
oh, and the narration is terrific (sounds almost like anthony bourdain).
There are very few stories about survival in this book, it's mainly an expose on the mentality of those who survived great hardship versus those who didn't. This is an interesting topic, but the author stretched what could easy have been a pamphlet into a book by being very repetitive. What was needed was more harrowing stories of survival sprinkled with a little insight about the mental requirements instead of the opposite.
I was fired up to listen to this audiobook. The premise seemed great --- harrowing stories of survival with insights into why certain people (not necessarily the ones you would expect) make it out alive. Sadly the book didn't live up to my expectations. My two main issues were:
1. The author has some serious father issues which he feels compelled to weave into the narrative. His Dad sounds like an amazing guy but really we don't need to hear about how awesome he is for hours on end. We get it.
2. The structure of the book is very disjointed. Stories stop and start and take meandering detours into pop psychology. At a couple of points (during the motorcycle chapter, for example) the author goes into a Finnegan's Wake-esque ramble about Hell's Angels, religion, motorcycles and survival. Quite bizarre.
It's not all bad though. There are some fascinating stories in the book and it did get me thinking about how one should behave (or try to behave) in a survival situation. Overall it was just about worth a credit.
First the book is fun to read. The stories are incredible and amazing. But I really don't buy the premise that some people have got "it" and thus survive and others do not. The book selectively shows people who survived "against all odds." But in reality there are far more people who died when they were "against all odds." That's why it's "against all odds." Further, there are even more people who set out prepared, were skilled and ended up dying anyway. I do not doubt for a moment that in many cases survival comes down to having your personal amount of "it." But his a basic claim is that if you survived "against all odds" you have "it."
Several firefighters were inside World Trade Centers when they collapsed. A few survived. They did not survive because they had "it" and the other firefighters did not. They survived because they happen to be standing in the right place at the right time. People standing in front of them and people standing behind them did not survive. A six month old baby (with an oxygen mask) could have done the exact same thing (I personally like to believe that those firefighters had more "it" than anybody on the planet). Having said all that this is still a fun book to read if you enjoy survivor stories and particularly if you believe that you have "it." And I believe I do.
The recording and narration itself are excellent.
I was somewhat torn on how to review this book. When I first read the book, I came away feeling like I had learned alot about how the mind works and what it is that makes some people able to survive these life threatening situations.
After giving the book some time to process, I started to realize there's very little content or real information. A lot of theory (which only modest science behind it) and a lot of antecdotes.
I participated in a 1-hour meet-and-greet with the author to discuss his book and ideas. I was not at all impressed. Very little scientific method behind his ideas. His book makes it sound like his ideas have broad-reaching applications, but it turns out that they apply only to a very specific class of person.
Office workers, intellects, and city-dwellers need not apply. The mindset and skills he talks about only exist in survivalists, militia groups, and rural-country folk. This, more than anything else, was the most disapointing aspect of this book--learning that the author believes his book has no value to someone like me.
Studied Literature. Went to war. Wrote some stories. Spend most of my time reading, watching, or listening to stories while I work.
Short review: This is one of the most interesting and best books I've ever read.
You should read it.
Everyone should read it.
Period. No questions.
This book is incredibly interesting. Gonzales has managed to sift through and find the most interesting examples to reference and re-tell. The story of his father's experience being shot down (which serves as a kind of backdrop for the entire book) captures your attention immediately. Then he moves you from one incredible tale to the next while slowly building your understanding of the larger picture by tying everything together into a universal context. Superbly done.
The book is about exactly what the subtitle says: "who lives, who dies, and why" (appears on the cover). How does intellect and emotion factor in? Why do experienced adults often die while inexperienced, under-equipped children often live? For me, the "why" is most interesting, but i think everyone can simply appreciate the stories.
Great. A+ job. The voice fits the writing style and subject matter perfectly. It's so perfect that I think I would have a hard time talking to the actual author if his voice wasn't similar. It would mess with my head, at least initially.
I read (or listen) to this book at least once a year (since 2004 or 2005). The true number is closer to 2 times a year. It's one of those subjects that can always help to brush up on, especially if you like to enjoy the outdoors or any activity that is inherently risky.
With that said, this book is not just for those who enjoy the outdoors or risky recreational / occupational pursuits. This book primarily uses those as examples, but the context is larger and can be applied to bankruptcy, divorce, or anything traumatic you can imagine. Everyone can find something in their life that applies.
Just read it.