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The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science That Could Save Your Lifeby Ben Sherwood
Synopses & Reviews
Which is the safest seat on an airplane? Where is the best place to have a heart attack? Why does religious observance add years to your life? How can birthdays be hazardous to your health?
THE SURVIVORS CLUB
Each second of the day, someone in
The fascinating, hopeful answers to these questions are found in THE SURVIVORS CLUB. In the tradition of Freakonomics and The Tipping Point, this book reveals the hidden side of survival by combining astonishing true stories, gripping scientific research, and the author's adventures inside the U.S. military's elite survival schools and the government's airplane crash evacuation course.
With THE SURVIVORS CLUB, you can also discover your own Survivor IQ through a powerful Internet-based test called the Survivor Profiler. Developed exclusively for this book, the test analyzes your personality and generates a customized report on your top survivor strengths.
There is no escaping life's inevitable struggles. But THE SURVIVORS CLUB can give you an edge when adversity strikes.
"Sherwood (The Man Who Ate the 747), a writer for the L.A. Times, travels worldwide to gain insight from people who have survived a slew of near fatal phenomena ranging from a mountain lion attack to a Holocaust concentration camp, and interviewing an array of experts to understand the psychology, genetics and jumble of other little things that determines whether we live or die. Readers curious about their own 'survivor profile' can take an Internet test, which is explained in the book's later pages. Sherwood's assertion that survival is 'a way of perceiving the world around you' is enlightening, as are some of the facts he uncovers: you have 90 seconds to leave a plane crash before the cabin temperature becomes unbearable; luck has more to do with personal perspective than chance. But Sherwood's balance of self-help, scientific theories and first-rate reporting is diminished by occasionally overwrought prose as well as the countless survivors' stories, which can run together in a touchy-feely stream of faith and optimism." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Please do not review the aircraft's safety features in the seat-back pamphlet in front of you, and instead continue to read your Dan Brown. Do not heed the flight attendants' Kabuki of precautions, and instead pop a Xanax. And do not expect to survive should something go wrong. Even if you've flown a million times, you are neither prepared nor alert enough. In the unlikely event... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) of an unanticipated loss of cabin pressure or a water landing, you will be the first to panic and make bad decisions. And then ... Crash. Boom. You're dead. "The Survivors Club" reminds its reader to approach each day with a healthy dose of paranoia. Death is just around the corner, courtesy of the cement truck, the coked-out maniac with a knife, or the gaggle of geese that gets sucked into your plane's engines over the Bronx. The book has an ingenious built-in marketing hook: Read this if you want to live! Join the Survivors Club, why don't you? We're hanging by a thread, as Ben Sherwood repeats throughout his pseudo-self-help book, but there are ways we can tighten our grip on that thread. Such as by honing a healthy will to live. Or being mindful. Or crossing our fingers. Or praying. Blah blah blah. These conclusions hardly warrant a 383-page treatment, even from a novelist/journalist who subjected himself to military survival training for the book. Tucked between these obvious feel-good tenets, however, are more compelling tips. 1. Always nab a seat within five rows of an exit, preferably behind the wing, and keep in mind that you'll have 90 seconds to evacuate before a crashed plane becomes inescapable. 2. When you break through ice on a frozen lake, you have 60 seconds to thwart hyperventilation, 10 minutes of muscles sufficiently limber to paddle you to safety and 60 minutes before you lose consciousness. 3. Avoid getting stabbed, shot, or smashed into a brick wall. In terms of survivability, if you have to choose among the three, go for the knife first, then the gun, then the brick wall. Just FYI. "The Survivors Club" is not for those who feel faint at the mention of blood. Beyond Sherwood's tips — the only practical ones have already been mentioned in this review — is an impressive parade of survivor anecdotes. The book is essentially about bearing witness to survival. It is suitably graphic. There's the woman who got a knitting needle through the heart, the man who escaped a capsizing freighter in stormy seas, the woman flayed within a millimeter of her life by a mountain lion and, most miraculously, the man trapped in the fiery impact zone of the North Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. They all made it out alive despite microscopic odds. How? Sherwood interviews dozens of survivors — often relating their stories with nauseating drama — but one wonders if a survival thesis can be drawn from both the man who drunkenly tumbled over the side of his cruise ship and the woman who withstood the torture chamber of the Holocaust. Yes, they survived, but such disparate, disorganized examples make "The Survivors Club" more of a pulse-pounding scrapbook than an enlightening how-to manual or definitive dissertation. Sherwood pads the rest of the book with platitudes and statistics. He chews over some provocative topics (the existence of an alleged "survivor gene," the quantifiable power of prayer) but does not spit out a provocative, cohesive conclusion other than: be prepared because bad things are going to happen. It's good advice — the survivors of the US Airways flight that landed in the Hudson River last week escaped the sinking cabin by acting quickly, deliberately and calmly — but hardly revelatory. As a consolation prize, the end of the book instructs you to get a Survivor IQ by visiting www.thesurvivorsclub.com. There you take a personality test. Your answers are sent to a "cluster of computers" at a "highly secure data center in Boca Raton" (a gated fortress of survivors if ever there was one). Then Boca Raton categorizes you into a specific type of survivor, and Sherwood spends the final 30 pages of the book defining Survivor Types and their corresponding traits. My IQ? I am a "realist" with psychological strengths of "ingenuity," "adaptability" and "flow." As a realist, I can't see how reading "The Survivors Club" will give me an edge when adversity strikes. Most things are out of our control, and there's no way we can really change how we deal with a crisis. We just have to hope for the best. Hone a healthy will to live. Be mindful. Cross our fingers. Pray. Reviewed by Dan Zak, a writer for The Washington Post's Style section, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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From a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist comes a fascinating exploration of survival that can help prepare you for life's inevitable struggles, from cancer and crime to car accidents and airplane crashes.
Scientists use the phrase human factors in survival. Translation: Why do some people live and others die? Why do some bounce back and others surrender? THE SURVIVORS CLUB answers these questions with inspirational true stories, cutting-edge research, and the author's behind-the-scenes adventures in the US Navy and Air Force survival schools and the FAA's airplane evacuation course.
In the tradition of Freakonomics and The Tipping Point, THE SURVIVORS CLUB investigates the hidden side of life--and death--including:
Each one of us eventually joins the club of millions who face life's inescapable tribulations and tragedies. THE SURVIVORS CLUB is the companion we need to prepare us for and guide us through the worst.
We are a nation battered every day by stories about horrific calamities, tragic events, frightening statistics. Inevitably our thoughts turn personal and we wonder if we have what it takes to get through the worst thrown our way. While there are plenty of books about coping with adversity, it isn't until now, with WHO SURVIVES, that we discover the human factors that determine survival. It's a combination instruction audiobook and security blanket that blends compelling true stories with cutting-edge science to deliver some of the most important lessons we'll ever need to learn.
The book will:
--list the most important traits necessary for survival (Fear is #1.)
--identify the 5 types of survivors
--debunk myths (like only the strong survive), explore the frontiers of survival science (How much strain and punishment can a human body endure?), and introduce readers to counterintuitive thinking (Ever heard of posttraumatic growth?)
--provide a Survivors Tool Kit, including an online test that measures one's Survivor's Quotient
Each one of us eventually joins the club of millions who face life's inescapable tribulations and tragedies. WHO SURVIVES is the companion we need to prepare us for and guide us through the worst.
About the Author
Ben Sherwood is a bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and the president of ABC News. His novel The Man Who Ate the 747 has been published in 13 languages, and his other novel, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, was made into a feature film starring Zac Efron. A former broadcast producer for NBC Nightly News, he joined Good Morning America in April 2004 as executive producer and stayed in that position until Fall 06. He lives with his wife and sons in New York City.
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