292 of 304 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life lessons
Here's a club everyone wants to be a member of. It's probably human nature to wonder if you have what it takes to survive in a crisis. This thought-provoking book not only profiles dozens and dozens of people who have done just that, it also gives you a way to grade yourself on your likely survivorship, and tips on how to raise your score. You even learn which seats on an...
Published on January 26, 2009 by Julie Neal
110 of 125 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I give it a B or B-
This book was alright. I finished it, from beginning to end, which is an accomplishment in and of itself proving that if anything, the book was an entertaining read. But after a while, Sherwood seemed to repeat the same points over and over: have faith in some form of divine authority, be positive, and be on the lookout for lucky opportunities. And that is what made the...
Published on August 14, 2009 by Bibliothecaire Extraordinaire
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292 of 304 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life lessons,
This review is from: The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life (Hardcover)Here's a club everyone wants to be a member of. It's probably human nature to wonder if you have what it takes to survive in a crisis. This thought-provoking book not only profiles dozens and dozens of people who have done just that, it also gives you a way to grade yourself on your likely survivorship, and tips on how to raise your score. You even learn which seats on an airplane are the safest (be near an exit, and forget about that window seat).
The three rules of the Survivors Club, according to author Ben Sherwood, are that everyone is a survivor, one person's crisis can't be compared to another's, and people are stronger than they know. Attitude has a lot to do with it. If you see yourself as a survivor, you'll likely be one.
You learn many of the reasons why people do not survive. One is called the Incredulity Response -- people simply don't believe what they are seeing. Two gripping stories bring this idea to life. In the first, a car-ferry sinking in the Baltic Sea, many victims didn't move or try to get out of the sinking ship, but were rather "frozen to the spot" looking like "marble statues, pale and immoveable." 852 passengers died. In the second story, a fire in London's Underground train station killed 31 people, with many commuters marching "right into the disaster, almost oblivious to the crush of people -- some actually in flames -- who were trying to escape."
"Brainlock" is another reason some people in crisis die. They respond to the shock of the situation by forgetting to think. "Under stress... people often display memory problems. They seem to forget what they're supposed to do." This isn't good if you're skydiving. As Sherwood puts it, "panic is the archenemy of survival."
The final section of the book is devoted to helping you understand your own survivor potential, with quizzes to take and a website to visit.
Reading this book will make you think about how you live your life, and ways to ensure you can keep on living. It's fascinating.
Here's the chapter list:
Prologue: Brace for Impact
Introduction: The Survivors Club
Part 1: What It Takes to Survive
1. A Knitting Needle Through the Heart: The Three Rules of the Survivors Club
2. The Statues in the Storm: Why So Many People Die When They Shouldn't
3. Ninety Seconds to Save Your Life: The Wrong (and Right) Things to Do in a Plane Crash
4. The Organ Recital: Who Lives and Dies in the ER
5. The Supersonic Man: How Much of Life (and Death) Do You Really Control?
6. Rescued from the Lion's Jaws: Prayer, Miracles, and the Power of Faith
7. The Dancer and the Angel of Death: How Did Anyone Survive the Holocaust?
8. The Science of Luck: Why Good Things Always Happen to the Same People
9. Hug the Monster: How Fear Can Save Your Life
10. Too Mean to Die: Does the Will to Live Make Any Difference
11. The Resilience Gene: Who Bounces Back and Who Doesn't
12. What Does Not Kill Me: Why Adversity is Good for You
Part 2: Are You a Survivor?
13. The Survivor Profiler: Discovering Your Survivor Personality
14. Your Survivor IQ: What Type of Survivor Are You?
15. Your Survivor Tool Kit: What Are Your Top Three Strengths
Afterword / How to Eat an Elephant: The Lessons of the Survivors Club
Appendix A / The Science of Falling Cats (and Babies)
Appendix B / The Arithmetic of Dying Too Soon
116 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live Longer!,
This review is from: The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life (Hardcover)In America, life expectancy is 78.14 years. If you would like to live longer, read this compelling self-help book. It's loaded with detailed research material and anecdotal tips on surviving--what to do when: being impaled with a foreign object, finding yourself lost in the woods, experiencing an airplane crash, having a heart attack, or making a trip to the ER.
Many topics are covered with proof that they help people live: the power of prayer, managing fear, the will to live, and having good genes. Adversity can work to make people appreciate life and have a better perspective. Daily joy can be experienced after a traumatic episode.
Offered are such informative chapters as: The Survivor Profile, Your Survivor IQ, and Your Survivor Tool Kit. I suggest using this volume as a resource tool. Though it is interesting enough to be read straight through, I want to keep it around to refer to often.
110 of 125 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I give it a B or B-,
This review is from: The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life (Hardcover)This book was alright. I finished it, from beginning to end, which is an accomplishment in and of itself proving that if anything, the book was an entertaining read. But after a while, Sherwood seemed to repeat the same points over and over: have faith in some form of divine authority, be positive, and be on the lookout for lucky opportunities. And that is what made the book lose points, in my opinion. Everybody knows that already!
I enjoyed reading the plentiful anecdotes, but I felt disappointed by the title of the book, for the book didn't really share very many tips or science about survival, other than the three points mentioned in the paragraph above. What also made the book lose credibility was the test offered online after completing the book. Though Sherwood raved that this test was the "real deal" and as accurate and scientific as psychometrics gets, to me it seemed no more relevant than an online personality quiz or a horoscope reading in a women's fashion magazine. The results bore little resemblance to me. Rather, it sounded like feel-good babble.
Maybe if I hadn't been egged on to take that test I would have respected the book a little more. That and the lack of MORE case studies and science rendered this book nothing more than another hyped up opinion piece.
Once again, I encourage all future readers of this book to get it from their libraries; or if you absolutely MUST own a copy, get it used and at a cheap price.
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stay awake nights.... learing how to survive!,
After reading the book, each book club member had a list of comments and questions. Mr. Sherwood spent over an hour answering our questions and provided more details about some of the survivors featured in the book. It was a fascinating experience. Each of us was enriched by this experience and as far as reading retention is concerned...? We will not soon forget the valuable lessons gleaned from reading this book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn the skills required to survive some of life's most challenging events. This book isn't focused solely on how to survive a plane crash or other catastrophic events, rather, it teaches how to survive ALL life's challenges large and small. It provides an interesting quiz to discover your strong personality traits or attributes and the ones that could use a little help in improving. Who among us wouldn't find this information useful? Who knows, perhaps it could save your life! Definitely worth purchasing, but please don't let this book simply gather dust on the book shelf, read it, learn from it and then pass it on to those you love.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pros and Cons of The Survivors Club,
Extensively researched and well written with many detailed accounts of true survivor tales
Easy to read and structured to allow the reader to select portions out of sequence if he/she wishes
Contains some good life advice in the book; from the value of optimism and laughter to being aware of context, to where to sit (or not sit) on an airplane to improve your odds of surviving a crash
It passes the "common sense" test; it mostly hangs together pretty well
Its way short on science, despite its sub-title that promises ".. Science that Could Save Your Life"
The web-based Survivor Profiler is a disappointment. It did not yield any new insights or suggested courses of action; its mainly a gimmick
It overplays the fact that people who face and conquer terrible challenges usually emerge stronger; we already knew that, though the examples are often compelling.
60 of 77 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disjointed...the author has a point? and it is....?,
This review is from: The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life (Paperback)I think the author published this book merely to procure a revenue stream from book sales. The provocative and misleading title is great marketing, though. It certainly duped me into picking up the book at my local independent bookseller yesterday. I was unfortunate enough, during my perusal, to land on the 2 or 3 paragraphs (on different pages throughout) that made it seem worthy.
The "stories" within are disjointed, incomplete vignettes of the wandering thoughts variety. Very annoying to read as "stories" jump back and forth. Much of it isn't even stories of survival. The author clearly thinks that a 3-4 sentence summary about an event can constitute a survivor's story. This is the TV/Hollywood script sound bite presentation masquerading as a book. Teasers I believe they are called. And that is what this book is. As they say in Hollywood...Get me rewrite!!!!
How Bob has survived, if this is the way his brain computes, can only be attributed to...luck. How he even got this published can only be attributed to...connections.
Distill down the 383 pages to actually USEFUL advice and you'll have a maximum of (and I'm being extremely generous) 3 pages that might be worthwhile. Who cares if the author knows honcho Jeff Zucker and believes Jeff to be the most courageous survivor. Ever. Nothing more than name dropping or ego stroking in that bit. Puh-lease! This book is just a bunch of snippets presented in a haphazard fashion with not enough information or background to even keep the reader fully engaged on any story. I had to skip large swathes of the book within each chapter, which is saying something because I am a voracious reader and can usually engage if there is actually something interesting and/or informative about the words. Bob finds a way to disengage even me.
I will save you $14.99 and disclose all the "secrets" the book reveals: 1. Sit within 5 rows of an airplane exit, 2. Be situationally aware of your surroundings, 3. Make sure you WANT to live - keep repeating that mantra in the face of insurmountable odds, 4. Maybe you'll be lucky and survive, in spite of (or because of) your DNA, your optimism, your new-found believe in God or other higher deity at the moment of your peril etc., 5. Make sure that when you have a heart attack that you are in a Las Vegas casino and finally 6. if you're anything other than healthy and fit 16-19 year old male, then you're doomed and don't even think about being a survivor.
That No. 6 theme is pervasive throughout the book. Maybe this book would appeal to that age/gender group. Bob was there once.
87 of 113 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Misleading Subtitle,
Sherwood candidly admits his own belief that many survivors' tales are the result of godly intervention, and he offers up page after page of anecdotal evidence for this assertion. But when it comes time to deal with the science of survival, Sherwood is quite dismissive of facts that undermine his beliefs. He will admit, for instance, that peer-reviewed, double-blind studies have found no evidence that prayer affects the recovery of hospital patients, but he does so in a single sentence at the end of a half a dozen anecdotal tales attesting to effectiveness of prayer. And even then he downplays the significance of the studies by saying only that they "seem" to show that prayer has no effect.
Sherwood also demonstrates that he doesn't understand statistics. On p.134 he tries to prove that faith in god is a key factor in survival by stating that as many as 75 or 80% of catastrophe survivors cite a higher power as a reason for their survival. He seems naively unaware that at least 75 or 80% of all human beings believe in a god that takes a hand in their daily lives. His statistic, therefore, proves the opposite of what he intends. Survivors are, in fact, no more likely than any other randomly selected group of people to cite god as a reason for their survival.
My advice to Mr. Sherwood is that he remove the word "science" from the subtitle of his book. My advice to readers seeking reliable information on survival is to skip The Survivor's Club and read either Deep Survival by Lawrence Gonzalez or The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley. Both are excellent.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Survivors Club book review,
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars SKIP this book!,
This review is from: The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life (Kindle Edition)This book is one of the most frivolous, poorly organized, dumbed down pieces of non-fiction I've read in recent memory. The information has no real flow or reasoning to the order in which it's presented. Mostly, the book presents different hypotheses for survival, but doesn't explore any at length, or make a strong case for them, with the exception of its argument for belief in a higher power. At this turn, it suddenly feels like a piece of religious propaganda.
The only "interesting" bits are the accounts of near death experiences and a few facts about escaping a plane after a crash.
Here's all you need to know: Sit close to an exit row. Pay attention to the safety demonstration. Have a plan of escape. And don't drink or take sleeping pills, which compromise your reaction time. Also: you have a minute to get out of a burning plane, before the flames burn through the shell and kill you. Stay calm, have a plan, and don't freeze up with fear.
We learn that people who are prepared, stay calm, stay positive, and don't freeze up with fear tend to survive more than those who do everything wrong.
There. Now you don't have to waste money and time on the other few hundred pages.
Skip this book! I certainly wish I had.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Survivors Club,
This review is from: The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life (Paperback)Although this book was well touted as a 'must' addition to my reading, I personally felt that reading this book was a waste of my time. It repeated circumstances of survival that were vaguely familiar usually found in the press and other materials that dealt with the characteristics of certain survivors. I did not learn anything new from reading this book and that's why it was a waste of time. I would not recommend it. G Hiebert
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The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life by Ben Sherwood (Hardcover - January 26, 2009)
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