How to Survive isn’t your typical survival book. While it’s got some things that you would find in your “Dummies Guide To Survival” kinds of books like how to build a fire or how to build an igloo, it’s less of a how-to book and more of a book on how survival psychology works and why you need to do certain things to not just survive being marooned on a deserted island but also to make it through the stresses of everyday life.
Written by RAF survival instructor (and the British Dude on “Dude, You’re Screwed” which aired on Discovery way back when), John Hudson breaks down why you need to train yourself to react.
(JSYK He’s the guy not wearing the sunglasses)
Hudson goes into this not because you’re going to be kidnapped by your friends and dropped into a survival situation, but because every day we are in a thousand different survival situations and we don’t even realize it.
The book covers the gamut including: How to handle panic attacks. How to handle things like, oh say, a global pandemic that locks down your city/state. It’s a book on psychology but a practical book that’s filled with anecdotes featuring people who survived but also those who didn’t and it analyzes what they did right and what they did wrong and how you can apply that to your standard life.
I do want to note that the book is aimed at people who are neurotypical. As someone who is neurodivergent, I still found this book had useful advice and would be of value to someone neurodivergent with the understanding that not all advice is going to work in all situations.
The book is laid out in a logical manner, centering around anecdotes and stories from history as a framing device and learning module to build upon the core concept - be it prioritization, adaptability, working in groups, etc. I found it easy to follow, and I also appreciated the bullet points at the end that were essentially a TL:DR for the chapter. It reminded me in some ways of a textbook, which makes sense considering what the author does for a living.
(John is the dude in the blue)
It’s a book that as I read I could see a lot of value it. It answers a core question: Why. Why study survival? Why prepare for the worst case scenario? Why carry a few small supplies, just in case. Why do things in a certain order. Etc. I’ve already recommended it to a few people, and I’m absolutely going to recommend it as a whole.
Additionally as an editor, I also would recommend this book for people who are interested in writing characters dealing with a survival situation. Knowing how an everyday person vs. a trained person reacts can be invaluable in creating believable scenarios and characterizations. This extends beyond the action/adventure genre but also into sci-fi, fantasy, YA, paranormal, urban fantasy, and even Romantic Suspense.
Wanna write about characters surviving a plane crash? This book goes into it. Wanna write about a soldier being captured? This book goes into it too. Seriously, I see all sorts of uses for this book.
I fully enjoyed this book.
And so because of that I give this:
If this is your jam, you can get it here.
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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley.