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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outwit. Outlast. Outread.
As others have stated, this was a quick read. Rarely do I finish a book in one day, but my love for the show and interest in this 'behind the scenes' written companion wouldn't let me put it down.
Lots of good stuff here. I enjoyed the frankness of the author/creator of the show. I wouldn't have expected him to be as candid as he was here (voicing strong...
Published on September 14, 2000 by Timothy P. Sandifer

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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For hard-core Survivor fans only
This is a book that was obviously put together in a tremendous hurry. The grainy, black-and white photos of the cast members are oddly placed, with a photo of Stacy showing up in the text long after she's been kicked off the island. The photos are not captioned, so unless you watched most of the episodes, you'll have no idea who is who.
There are a few...
Published on September 14, 2000 by Book Woman


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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For hard-core Survivor fans only, September 14, 2000
This review is from: Survivor : The Ultimate Game (Paperback)
This is a book that was obviously put together in a tremendous hurry. The grainy, black-and white photos of the cast members are oddly placed, with a photo of Stacy showing up in the text long after she's been kicked off the island. The photos are not captioned, so unless you watched most of the episodes, you'll have no idea who is who.
There are a few interesting "behind the scenes" details, but not any that you won't hear regurgitated by the entertainment press. The author (Burnett? Dugard?) indulges in a lot of flip descriptions of castaways, most of which struck me as entirely too harsh. The challenges are not described in much detail (I had hoped for some insight as to how they were conceived) and either cast members are deliberatly and tellingly misquoted, or the author is mixing together aired dialogue and dialogue that was never broadcast.
Survivor was an intriguing, well-edited television program that was frequently compelling and always entertaining. I wish I could say the same for this companion book.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outwit. Outlast. Outread., September 14, 2000
This review is from: Survivor : The Ultimate Game (Paperback)
As others have stated, this was a quick read. Rarely do I finish a book in one day, but my love for the show and interest in this 'behind the scenes' written companion wouldn't let me put it down.
Lots of good stuff here. I enjoyed the frankness of the author/creator of the show. I wouldn't have expected him to be as candid as he was here (voicing strong opinions about the castaways). I'm sure there are things he is still choosing to hide from the general public, but for the most part, I'm satisfied with the amount of 'new information' I have gained.
As others reviewers have touched on, I too was disappointed that the book seemed to include fewer details as it pressed on. Several of the challenges were glossed over or mentioned after the fact. The final vote, which lasted about an hour on television was only covered on about 2 1/2 pages of the book (hardly the 'expanded treatment' promised by the back cover). Clearly these were the most dramatic moments on the show. And for all the psychoanalyzing this author does in other parts of the book, he barely mentions the infamous Sue Speech (which, to me, begs for in-depth analysis).
Something that also distracted me from time to time was the abundance of errors (spelling errors, spacing errors, misplaced names). I just chalked it up to pressing deadlines, but still... (there were 'editors' right?)
All in all, I was pleased. I think anyone, like myself, who was completely captivated by the show from day one... or even those who jumped on the bandwagon later in the series... would benefit from reading this book.
...Oh yeah, and I really wish there were more pictures of Colleen. Oh, my sweet Colleen. Ahhh.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fun But Less Than Informative Book, November 23, 2000
This review is from: Survivor : The Ultimate Game (Paperback)
Needless to say, if you weren't captivated by the Survivor television show, you probably don't want to read this book. Even for Survivor diehards like myself, however, this book is not a perfect gift from the jungle gods. It does give the reader some great insight into the production side of the story, which is very interesting. As an example, I was quite surprised to learn that the Malaysian bar Kelly was taken to as a reward was actually a building on Pulau Tiga, improvised on the fly when the producers learned that the castaways were expecting something "big" for the reward to that particular challenge---the original reward being just a can of beer, pure and simple (this after Sean's night on a yacht with his father in the previous reward challenge). What were they thinking? On the down side, I was disappointed to find that many incidents I knew from the show were simply glossed over or ignored altogether. Kelly's "loss" to Gervase in the boating challenge--not mentioned; Rudy's incredible gaffe at the last challenge--mentioned in passing. The story of the final tribal council, a time of incredible tension, is given two pages. Sue's speech is barely mentioned, and not only is there no discussion of who voted for whom, there is not even a breakdown of who voted for whom. If you didn't watch the show, you will not find out in this book which four voted for Rich and which three voted for Kelly, let alone why they did so. This should have been the longest chapter in the book, yet the authors sprint through it almost recklessly. That is the biggest disappointment I felt in reading this; in the story of the last three days on the island, we could have really learned who these people were and how the 39 days on the island had changed them emotionally, yet that story is not here. I must also add that the editing, at least in my early printing of the book, is horrible. I understand that this book was probably rushed to the printing press, but I have to ask if anyone proofread the final printing at all. There are a large number of errors here--words jumbled around, apostrophes in the strangest of places, etc. This isn't War and Peace--one person could have proofread this printing in one day and eliminated dozens of mistakes. All in all, I must say that only diehard fans should read this book; anyone wanting to really understand the individuals in this drama, though, would do better to watch all of the episodes over again because this book does not provide much insight into their natures.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Survivor, the inside dirt., September 12, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Survivor : The Ultimate Game (Paperback)
This book provide the diehard Survivor fan with an inside view into the world of Survivor. The book covers many elements of the production of the show as well as behind the scenes information on the Tagi and Pagong tribes members. Many readers will be surprised on the many revelations including the real dirt on the true facts about the Pagong tribe and why they didn't really get along. While the book covers these elements well, it provides little detail about the challenges and other events already covered in the television show. What it does best, is offer a look into the minds and thoughts of the cast and crew of this summers biggest hit show.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A smart reinvention of the companion book, November 10, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Survivor : The Ultimate Game (Paperback)
I put off buying this book, figuring it was just another companion book to a pop culture phenomenon. However, I'm sorry I waited so long. This is a page-turner. Survivor isn't a sanitized version of island life, but a book full of surprises and insights. Burnett obviously took the time to interview the castaways and get inside their heads. The judgements and psychological nuggets he delivers about them don't come across as flip, but well thought-out. Yeah, the book had a few typos, but over the course of 240 pages, a half-dozen minor mistakes hardly constitutes a sloppy book. I realized, after reading, that the reason I waited so long to read it was that I'd fallen prey to the same arrogance many reviewers of this book have displayed in this forum. I assumed that since it was about popular culture the book was meant to be looked down on. I was wrong. Put this under "guilty pleasures." Not only was Survivor well-written (economy of language, crisp rhythm), but the pacing was deliberate and insights penetrating. Those reviewers that slam this book for the sake of sport and self-glorification are revealing loads about their pettiness and intellectual insecurities. I'm looking forward to Burnett's next Survivor book. The man can flat-out tell a story.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new here at all, October 12, 2000
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This review is from: Survivor : The Ultimate Game (Paperback)
This book is disappointing. If you have been wondering how Jenna and Sean were chosen as "ambassadors", what the challenges were that weren't televised, or where the raincoats came from, you will still be wondering after having read this book. We learn nothing new and the author's voice is one of all-knowingness that's annoying, at best. Too bad: it could have been a great read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Have You All Got Amnesia??, September 15, 2000
By A Customer
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This review is from: Survivor : The Ultimate Game (Paperback)
I'm not sure if anyone could have been anticipating the release of this book more than myself. Known around the office as "survivor.com," I couldn't wait to take my preoccupation to a new level. At first I was very entertained, but as some of my favorite scenes from the show were recounted, I found myself leaping from my reading chair, sounding frighteningly similar to Kathy Bates from Misery, shouting, "What's the matter with you people? Have you all got amnesia?? That's not what happened!" Misquotes were discouraging to me, and the "dozens of photos" were a bit of a disappointment. I'll still love the book, just because of its' association with the most significant television event in my life. I just thought potential readers should ensure they've seen the real (at least in my world), more entertaining story on television.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rich's book would've been much better, September 25, 2000
By 
Gerald Mahoney "robotmonsterman" (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Survivor : The Ultimate Game (Paperback)
What a disappointment! As a HUGE fan of the show, I couldn't wait to read this. But Mark Burnett seems to be under the impression that he's writing a novel -- and "The Great Gatsby" at that. There are LOOOOOOOOOOONG descriptions some of the travails of the crew and the stormy conditions of the sea, and extremely little new light is shed on the actual contestants of the show. Also, there's no commentary about anything that happened after the castaways left the island. (Were the producers behind the false rumors about Gervase winning? How about that doctored opening-credits shot of the supposed "final four"? We'll never know...) Rather than a companion piece to the show, it's merely a retelling, and a sloppy one at that.
The problem becomes clear at the very end of the book, when Burnett reveals that he wrote the book entirely when he was on the island and didn't change a word afterward. Well, he should have! It's called rewriting, and it's part of what makes books entertaining to the reader.
The photos are merely pointless headshots of the castaways, presented without captions and placed randomly throughout the book.
Hey, Mr. Burnett, next time, focus your attention on what you do best-- making a great TV show-- and hire somebody else to write the book. (Like Rich-- and let him write his own book, you big grinch! Maybe he'll tell us the things we REALLY want to know!)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I despised this book... But I recommend it to fans!, October 31, 2000
This review is from: Survivor : The Ultimate Game (Paperback)
In March 1999 the world stopped spinning and time stood still as sixteen people were castaway on Pulau Tiga in the South China Sea. If you don't remember this cataclysmic event in March, it's because all the world but those sixteen people and the television production crew were in a state of suspended animation. There was no war, no famine, no death, no birth... Nothing but the life or death struggle for survival on Pulau Tiga. The rest of us were but microscopic specks of dust swirling in the orbit of the Earth-sized ego that is Mark Burnett.
Don't misunderstand me... I was a HUGE fan of the television show "Survivor!" I never missed an episode and surrounded the weekly event with ritual. So caught up was I, I even spent hours discussing island politics on Internet forums - a brand new experience for me. I applied to be a contestant on the second "Survivor!" I was truly hooked. So, of course, I could not wait for the "Survivor!" book.
If you were a fan of the show, the 228-page book will boil down to about 20 pages of interesting goings-on of which the viewing audience was previously unaware. If you never watched the show, skip the book and wait for the inevitable 13-hour video collection. The book was written as a "companion book" to the series, so it renders every challenge (that it bothers to mention) anti-climactic.
The author's primary goal seems to be to drive home the point that this was a psychological and sociological experiment worthy of Freud, Jung, Skinner, and those other lesser (than Burnett) students of human behavior, whose documentation will soon join the annals of Machiavelli and Sun-Tzu. The author's secondary goal seems to be to place the psyches and the Burnett-conjured inner thoughts of the castaways under the Burnett psychological microscope for all the world to see - and to actually, unbelievably, quote from the findings of the very real pre- and post-show psychological evaluations of the contestants. Thirdly, the author seems to have been looking for just the right venue to congratulate himself ad nauseum for the unbelievable experience(s) he created for these most lucky of individuals and to let us all know just what he really thought of each and every one. And, finally, lest we miss the point, Burnett is either the long lost father of or is totally in love with "Chief" Jeff Probst. His pride and adulation for the man is really one of the more comic elements of the book. On top of all that, Burnett seems actually to make errors in the unfolding of events - the book narrative is not always in sync with the footage from the show. Plus, the rush to get the book to print is evident throughout as you stumble over misspellings and errors in punctuation and grammar.
However, the book does solve a few mysteries, such as 1) why so many Pagongs voted for Jenna after the merge, 2) what Sean's alpha-strategy was really all about, 3) why Sean invited Rich for breakfast, 4) the plans Pagong did make for a counter-alliance, and 5) what Kelly did to make Sue so angry. But I don't know why Burnett did not include these juicy plot twists in the television show - particularly as the show became so predictable after the merge. The end result of it all is that Burnett has once again taken reality and twisted it to create the story he wants to tell, albeit a remarkably different story from the series, leaving me with less faith in the "reality" of future "Survivor!" series.
Note to Mark Burnett: Leave the self-congratulations to Richard Hatch. And leave the psychoanalysis to the trained counselors (and inside the sealed contestant files, where it belongs). All we really wanted to know is the dirt that didn't make it to TV - the REAL dirt, not as seen through your skewed lens.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Burnett...GENIUS as producer, average at best as a writer., September 13, 2000
By 
"vondoom2" (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Survivor : The Ultimate Game (Paperback)
At times written in a strange 'novel style' that I'm guessing was due to the contribution of co-writer Dugard. A LOT of details are skimmed over here, or not touched on at all. And for some weird reason, he refers to host Jeff Probst almost exclusively as 'Chief Jeff' through most of the book. A quick read, and a must for fans of the show. But it makes me wish that the cast didn't have a (rumoured) THREE YEAR gag order preventing them from giving us the real story. WARNING: Cringe-inducing description of Richard Hatch's sexual fantasies about one of his fellow Tagi members. Congrats Mark on a great show...plenty of time for you to improve for your NEXT companion guide. ;^)
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Survivor : The Ultimate Game
Survivor : The Ultimate Game by Martin Dugard (Paperback - September 12, 2000)
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