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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Altering (Shark Attack Survivor)
Mine is one of many stories in this book, of survival and its aftermath. Almost ten years ago, following a physically and emotionally devastating shark attack, I shunned the media and denied all interviews. When author Laurence Gonzales asked whether he could include my story in this book, I felt certain that it was time, and that his book is the right venue. His...
Published on September 6, 2012 by Micki from FL

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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but unscientific
I have dedicated my career to the study and treatment/after-effects of trauma and loved Deep Survival, so I was very excited to read this next topic. Unfortunately, beyond entertaining anecdotes, this book is at times misleading and unsubstantiated by the large body of research examining what promotes healing from trauma. It misrepresents psychotherapy as ineffectual and...
Published 17 months ago by ag


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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Altering (Shark Attack Survivor), September 6, 2012
By 
This review is from: Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (Hardcover)
Mine is one of many stories in this book, of survival and its aftermath. Almost ten years ago, following a physically and emotionally devastating shark attack, I shunned the media and denied all interviews. When author Laurence Gonzales asked whether he could include my story in this book, I felt certain that it was time, and that his book is the right venue. His previous best seller, Deep Survival, changed the way I look at the physical world. Surviving Survival changed the way I look at everything. My story is horrific enough, but as I read the stories of the other survivors included in this book, and the after-journey each of them has traveled, I felt awed and humbled.

Laurence does a brilliant job of putting the reader in the moment. The most poignant story for me in this book is that of a Holocaust survivor. I've read many accounts in the past, but this is so raw and painful and riveting and so deeply personal that I literally had to put the book down in the middle of it and walk away for several hours before I could continue reading.

I wish that every person enduring divorce, or suffering the loss of a loved one, who's battling cancer, or coping with traumatic injury or stress, could read this book. It is both sobering in its intensity, and a soothing balm in terms of leading you through the coping mechanisms and survival journey of others. Masterfully written is an over-used term, but in this case I can't think of a better fit. Thank you Laurence for this fabulous book.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly powerful read ..., September 16, 2012
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This review is from: Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (Hardcover)
I discovered "Deep Survival" when friends bought it for my husband. When I read of "Surviving Survival", I ordered it immediately. I can't begin to relate how profoundly "Surviving Survival" has impacted me. Two years ago, my dog died in my lap after two days of uncontrollable seizures. It's not a shark or croc attack, but it devastated me. I cried and then tried to put it away. It is in my DNA to think I must be tough. Last January, I learned my friend of 31 years had 6 mos to live -- she died in April. Last month, we lost my mom after two years of a downward spiral that began with what was supposed to be simple shoulder surgery. On top of it I am a reporter for a large daily and very frequently cover very dark stories. These past 8 months or so I have been in living hell. I was physically ill. I had panic attacks and overwhelming bouts of sheer dread. Fortunately for me, I long ago discovered the power of a good shrink, but even she wasn't helping nearly fast enough. In fact, I was getting sick just thinking of seeing her. I no longer knew myself. And then I picked up this book and I got it. Suddenly, everything made sense. I don't know how I managed to live 52 years and not know the information in this book, but knowing it now is truly a gift and one that will stay with me always.
This book is aptly titled -- it is about how we survive surviving -- but make no mistake this is no dull science read, rather a compelling collection of tales from everyday people faced with situations that are beyond horrifying. It's written with compassion, grace and honesty. Bravo to Laurence Gonzales. This is destined to be a classic.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than a how to book - it inspired me to get on with life!, September 15, 2012
By 
Dan Priest (Camino, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (Hardcover)
A friend of mine who is actually featured in this book recommended it randomly on Facebook. It's not a book I would normally read but coming from her the recommendation stuck with me. Turns out this book was perfect! I've been divorced for for 3 years and stuck. Others seem to move on after their divorces what was wrong with me.... I got locked in a loop that started to isolate me and that made things worse. After reading this book I understand my wiring better and how to help my mind move on! At times moving, others confronting and inspiring. I highly recommend this book!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So you've survived a major crisis or trauma. Congratulations!! Now what??, December 1, 2012
By 
This review is from: Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (Hardcover)
XXXXX

"It is nearly impossible to live a full life without trauma. It may not be a shipwreck or war. It might be a husband who tries to kill you. It could be a bear that tears off half of your face. It might be cancer. But all such events share a dramatic quality that seems irresistible to the storyteller within us.

[These] stories always end like this: Just when Debbie and Brad seem doomed, the Russian freighter heaves into view and they are rushed to the hospital. Music up. Roll credits. Then they all live happily ever after. Offstage, of course.

But let's put the players back on stage and see what happens next."

The above extract is found in the prologue of this interesting and powerful book by Laurence Gonzales. He is a journalist and author.

This book is about coping and resilience AFTER a major trauma. In many cases, trauma or crisis survivors suffer more AFTER the trauma than they did during the actual trauma.

The author in each chapter describes the actual life-threatening experience that a person has survived (these alone makes for compelling reading) and how that person has coped in the aftermath of that experience.

Along the way (and I found this really interesting), Gonzales delves into several topics such as neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and biochemistry.

The last two chapters are entitled "The science of adaptation" and "The rules of life." These chapters put together all that was mentioned in the beginning chapters into precise and concise packages.

Finally, there is a two-page "Author's Note" at the end of the book. Here, the author tells us among other things what's going on now with all the survivors mentioned in this book.

In conclusion, this book, in my opinion, is simply brilliant. It presents vividly unforgettable stories of "fear, courage, and the adaptability of the human spirit."

(first published 2012; prologue; 15 chapters; main narrative 220 pages; author's note; notes; references; acknowledgements; credits; index)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

XXXXX
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars understanding the aftermath of traumatic events, September 14, 2012
By 
fran girard (Wilmette, IL, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (Hardcover)
As a clinical psychologist who works with people who have experienced significant traumatic events and have gone on to transform their lives, I am so grateful to have Laurence Gonzales's thoughtful and inspiring book to offer to both patients and friends and colleagues. "Surviving Survival" is an informative and insightful review of the aftermath of traumatic experience and the excruciating journey to reclaiming a full life. The personal stories of survivors are told by Mr. Gonzales with great sensitivity and wisdom. This is a compelling read, I highly recommend it to everyone interested in how people survive and often thrive after life altering events.
Fran Girard, Psy.D.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Thrilling, November 12, 2012
This review is from: Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (Hardcover)
Having read Deep Survival, I at first wondered what else we could learn from Laurence Gonzales and his study of human reaction to terror and trauma. The answer? Triumph.
What a great read, a collage of neurology, human tragedy and the survival instinct only partially summarized by the word Resilience.

Surviving Survival is a testament to the body's automated response to trauma, a roadmap to find your way out and a eloquent ode to much of what makes us human.

This book ought to be required at every VA Hospital in the nation.

For those who have suffered ghastly trauma, the book is essential. For those fortunate not to have been pulled under, the lessons are equally relevant -- a heartening but clinical argument that there is always a way out.

Simply a marvelous book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wife's perspective, September 13, 2012
This review is from: Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (Hardcover)
About 2-3 years ago I received a telephone call from Laurnce Gonzales wanting to speak with my husband, Leon W. Wells. Sadly, my husband had recently passed away. Mr. Gonzalea told me he called to speak to him, because he was writing a book about survivors and had read my husband's memoir and other books concerning the Holocaust.
He asked me if I would talk to him about Leon and his life after his arrival in America. I told Laurence about his amazing love of humanity, his positive outlook and ability to live a successful life.
I can only praise Gonzales' ability do depict him accurately and with keen understanding. He got the sense of him and I am proud that he is part of this most interesting and inspiring book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exceptional Book., May 7, 2013
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This review is from: Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (Hardcover)
This excellent, well-written, and informative book from the author of Deep Survival is a "must-read" for anyone who wants insight into one of life's greatest challenges.

Surviving Survival takes on the complex issue of what happens to people in the aftermath of a terrible, life-changing incident, and explores what some have done to move on with their shattered lives.

A survivor is, by definition, alive, and for most observers that means "end of story". As Gonzales makes abundantly clear, however, the real struggle to survive is just beginning.

This book addresses the huge and complex task that survivors of traumatic events face when they begin - as all survivors must - coming to terms with what has happened to them. The world around them is often the same, but they have been irrevocably changed, and the daunting challenge that lies before them is how to rediscover themselves and forge a new relationship with the world.

Anyone who has been through a truly major crisis in life, whether it's a bitter and protracted divorce, physical trauma, a home invasion, the loss of a treasured loved one, or a wilderness experience gone terribly wrong, will find themselves in this book, because it speaks directly and eloquently to their struggle.

As he did in Deep Survival, Gonzales has woven together a fascinating tapestry of real events and good science to give readers a look at terrain that most have never considered, let alone experienced.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible and remarkable study of how survivors evolve and overcome, February 26, 2013
This review is from: Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (Hardcover)
I wish I had this book when I was going through my own hell as a battered wife, especially for the aftermath as my whole life was destroyed. It cost me my home, my children, my career, my mind and almost my life to get away from my ex-husband's abuse. Divorce solved nothing, his rage and his revenge only escalated until I was so broke down that I was building an altar for battered women alone in my bedroom with only God helping me and speaking to me.

It took me years to recover. When a life changing event like that happens to you, you really need to learn the skills to be able to survive. Laurence breaks it all down in five good approaches:

1. Sublimation-doing something to channel your energy and anxiety (for me, that was writing my book).
2. Altruism-doing something for someone else (since then I have tried to help battered women).
3. Suppression-not thinking about your trauma and distracting yourself from it (I took up scrap-booking and working jigsaw puzzles).
4. Anticipation-seeing the future clearly and preparing for it (I have never been in an abusive marriage since as I became an expert on the male batterer).
5. Humor-can't laugh and worry at the same time (I laughed at myself and said I had "Stupid Women's Disease" for taking all that abuse for so many years).

He also explains immature behaviors that are not helpful like projection, passive aggression, dissociation, acting out, fantasy and hypochondriasis. He then goes on and explains the 12 steps that will get you through the crisis. He tells you how the mind works and how it evolves from becoming a victim to a survivor. His research is current and his case studies give examples of what trauma victims did to go on and live, cope and overcome their painful past.

However, this book was a difficult read. I found myself crying several times when I read his survivor's stories. In fact, I was very troubled, and I had to quickly read over their horrors. I don't think I shall ever forget them. Now I have nothing but admiration for them for their courage and the persistence they portrayed in reinventing their lives all over again. I believe this book should be a mandatory reference in every counselor's office. I applaud Laurence's work and I will study this book again.

It was so completely compelling, that I read it in one day and it stirred me into my own writing again. If you need help, buy this book, recommend it to others and follow his guidelines. Remember you were created to live, there will be a direction for your life to follow and you will have happiness and joy again.

Thank you so much for writing this profound book, Lawrence. It had a great impact on me and it will help others.

Kelly Cyr
Author of "Supreme Love: A Battered Woman's True Story"
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but unscientific, July 10, 2013
This review is from: Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (Hardcover)
I have dedicated my career to the study and treatment/after-effects of trauma and loved Deep Survival, so I was very excited to read this next topic. Unfortunately, beyond entertaining anecdotes, this book is at times misleading and unsubstantiated by the large body of research examining what promotes healing from trauma. It misrepresents psychotherapy as ineffectual and misunderstands its mechanism of change (i.e. implying it acts only on a cognitive level not addressing deeper more emotional and physiological changes in the brain). Instead, it provides simplistic, unstudied solutions such as knitting to heal from a traumatic loss. Trauma does not happen to a blank slate. One's history and the context immediately post-trauma has a powerful effect on how someone will respond. This means that of course there is no one size fits all treatment. However, as I continued reading, I found myself growing increasingly concerned that trauma survivors would rely upon this misinformation to guide their choices or become unfairly distrusting of traditional methods that have demonstrated positive results. Instead, I'd recommend Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman. It's is a beautiful book that integrates the societal effects, human side as well as the science of healing from a traumatic event.
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Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience
Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience by Laurence Gonzales (Hardcover - September 10, 2012)
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