The Survivor’s Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life by Ben Sherwood

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Stars: *****

I received this book from Hatchette for review.

Summary: In tough times, who bounces back and who doesn’t? Who overcomes adversity and who gives up? And perhaps most important: What do survivors and thrivers know about beating the odds that the rest of us don’t? In search of answers, Ben immersed himself in the world of surviving and thriving.

This topic of The Survivor’s Club really interests me. Ben says that everyone will be a survivor in their lifetime and it’s true. Being a survivor isn’t limited to things such as plane crashes or wars. It includes dealing with a dying parent or a car accident or coming back from having cancer. When I think of it that way, I’ve survived quite a few things already.

The book is all about learning why some people survive and other’s don’t and how you can use that knowledge to your benefit. It can be a little depressing at times but it’s also very hopeful since it tells you how to be a better survivor.

In the summary it says “Ben immersed himself in the world of surviving and thriving.” What does that mean? It means Ben subjected himself to dangerous situations with the help of trained professionals to learn about survival. He learned how to escape a sinking helicopter with the Navy, how to made a deadly weapon with a bandanna by the Air Force and how to run and jump from a smoke-filled airplane by the FAA. Now that’s some research for your book.

Here are the chapter subtitles:
The Three Rules of The Survivors Club, Why So Many People Die When They Shouldn’t, The Wrong (And Right) Things to Do in a Plane Crash, Who Lives and Who Dies in the ER, How Much of Life (and Death) Do You Really Control?, Prayer/Miracles and the Power of Faith, How Did Anyone Survive The Holocaust, Why Good Things Always Happen to the Same People, How Fear Can Save Your Life, Does the Will to Live Make Any Difference, Who Bounces Back and Who Doesn’t and Why Adversity is Good For You.

Those are the chapters in Part 1. Part 2 is where you discover if you are a survivor. The website has a Survivor Profiler test that will help you discover your survivor personality and your top three strengths. You can only access it if you bought the book as you have to enter a code into the website to get to it. The chapters in Part 2 help you understand the results you get from your profiler. There is also the Prologue, Introduction, Afterword and Appendices that have extra information.

If you read the list of of chapters, you may have noticed there is a chapter on faith. Many people believe it was their faith in God that kept them alive so I can see why it needed to be covered. I was happy to see that the book was written from a fairly neutral standpoint. It seems the author believes that faith can make a difference but the chapter is still not biased. What wasn’t covered as much as should have been, is the idea that faith helps them because they believe everything will turn out all right, not because an actual deity will help them. Whether or not that’s true, it’s still a theory.

Throughout the book are stories from real survivors such as The Central Park Jogger. Some of these stories were a bit hard to read but to think that they survived these atrocities, leads me to believe the human race is stronger than I thought.

Another thing that sparked my interest was that the chapter on Luck talks all about Richard Wiseman, who wrote Quirkology, a book I reviewed fairly recently and was my absolute top nonfiction book of 2008.
I especially liked the chapter on Plane Crashes and you can bet I’ll be rereading that chapter a few times before I ever get on a plane. It has some good advice. There is advice on the best place to sit and clothes to wear and such but by far the most important advice is to LISTEN to instructions by the flight attendant EVEN if you’ve flown all your life, every week. NEVER fall asleep during takeoff or landing nor kickback with no shoes or pop a pill. You need to be ALERT to LIVE.

Be sure to check out the website, even if you don’t have a copy of the book. It is full of LOTS of resources, not just the profiler test.

Other Reviews: Dreadlock GirlBermudaOnion’s Weblog,

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.