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Book Review: The Survivors Club

In the book The Survivors Club, Ben Sherwood who writes for the L.A. Times, interviews people from around the world who survived events that would kill most, trying to answer the question “Why?”.  Why do some people survive while others capitulate and die from similar circumstances. 

by Ed, a contributing author of

The Survivors Club:
The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life

This book, published back in 2010, has been sitting on my desk for quite some time where I can reach it.  I recently picked it up again and The Survivors Club Book Reviewthought I would add it to the book review list at Survival Cache.  I hope that you find the book as thought provoking as I did when I first read it.

In Part 1 of this book, Sherwood answers the question “What does it really take to survive a catastrophe?” In order to get a true sense of what it takes to survive a life threatening situation, the author attended military survival schools and the government’s airplane crash evacuation course. He also provides riveting accounts from interviews with dozens of survivors of POW camps, plane crashes, fires and other catastrophic events.

In addition to survival stories, The Survivors Club also recounts stories of how people have perished by not reacting to a survival situation.  For example; “freezing up or brain lock” during a life threatening event or waiting for someone to tell them what to do rather than reacting to save their own life.  Ben Sherwood provides vivid examples of how people mindlessly walked down into a subway tunnel while it was on fire or parachutists failing to deploy their main or back up chutes even though they remained conscious and had no equipment malfunctions.  People often respond to a terrible situation by locking up or as the author puts it “Panic is the archenemy of survival.”

Part 2 of The Survivors Club allows readers to determine what kind of survivor they are by going on-line and completing a “Survivor IQ Test”, or profile. This profile will allow the reader to identify and improve upon his or her psychological strengths before actually being faced with a survival situation. The results of the profile will categorize you into one of five survivor types (which will then compare you to survivors interviewed in the book) and will determine which of the twelve essential tools of survival that you posses.

Here’s what is in the book:
Introduction: The Survivors Club
Part 1: What It Takes to Survive
1. A Knitting Needle Through the Heart
2. The Statues in the Storm
3. Ninety Seconds to Save Your Life
4. The Organ Recital: Who Lives and Dies in the ER
5. The Supersonic Man
6. Rescued from the Lion’s Jaws
7. The Dancer and the Angel of Death
8. The Science of Luck
9. Hug the Monster
10. Too Mean to Die
11. The Resilience Gene
12. What Does Not Kill Me
Part 2: Are You a Survivor?
13. The Survivor Profiler
14. Your Survivor IQ
15. Your Survivor Tool Kit

The Survivors Club provides both inspirational storytelling and practical advice for those who want to improve their survival chances.  I first read this book a couple of years ago, and have continued ever since to make a habit of preparedness and increased situational awareness as the author suggests.  The good news for those who fail the internet based test, Ben Sherwood says that your attitude has a lot to do with your survival, if you see yourself as a survivor then you likely will be one.

The 3 rules of the Survivors Club:
1.  Everyone is a survivor
2.  One person’s crisis can’t be compared to another
3.  People are stronger than they know

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