Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: The Suvivors Club

After reading Ben Sherwood's book The Suvivors Club, I can tell you that in a crisis you probably won't panic. And that's a good thing. Nope, instead you'll probably freeze up and do nothing. This, of course, is just as bad as panicking, if not worse.

Sherwood explores this brain freeze issue, as well as many other topics of survival in his book. One explanation for why you'll probably lock up is that in a crisis your brain will go off searching for a comparable experience, only to not find one, which in turn kicks off the search again. The result is an infinite loop.

One way to combat this phenomenon then is go through training, which gives your brain some experiences with which to compare the current crisis too.

Using this line of logic, I think most valuable aspect of the The Survivor's Club is that the comprehensive list of stories can serve as sort of a starting point for dealing with emergencies.

And what a comprehensive list it is: from cancer and holocaust survivors, to a woman who fell 30,000 feet from an airplane (and lived), he's got it covered. From well known tragedies such as the Central Park Jogger to more private individual stories, such as a survivor of an attempted suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge. You've got to hand it Sherwood -- he's done amazing amount of research for this book.

While the stories are spellbinding, I did find the comprehensive nature of the book a bit tedious at times. Every angle of survival is explored, so I guess its only natural that some parts of this topic didn't interest me.

I almost didn't rent The Survivor's Club from the library. I thought listening day in and day out to disaster after disaster would be just too depressing (and not to mention fear inducing). I'm glad I ignored this instinct. The stories here, for the most part, are positive and having some reference point for the best way to survive a particular disaster is just too invaluable.

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