417 of 448 people found the following review helpful
Not as advertised.,
This review is from: Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life (Paperback)
I read an excerpt of this book on Tim Ferriss's blog, and I bought it on the presumption that it would answer some of the questions set forth. Namely, how are wealthy people preparing for potential economic emergencies and how will Neil, a not-so-wealthy author, use that information to prepare himself? Tim Ferriss talks about how he gets "in" with the author to find out about the "mysterious 5 flags." He later summarizes the book as follows:
"Neil's new book, Emergency, teaches you how to become Jason Bourne.
Multiple passports, moving assets, lock-picking, escape and evasion, foraging, even how to cross borders without detection (one preferred location: McAllen, Texas, page 390)-it's a veritable encyclopedia of for those who want to disappear or become lawsuit-proof global citizens."
That is not at all what this book is actually about. It has more in common with 'Travels with Charley' than 'Bourne Identity'
What this book is not:
1. A manual that dwells on options. Example, the only solution Neil offers for economic safeguarding is wiring $500,000 to St. Kitts and buying property there, and later becoming a citizen. Not a scalable solution.
2. About currency, passports, swiss banking etc. - basically all the topics about becoming a "lawsuit-proof global citizen" or opening up your personal options internationally are glossed over. The law firm in charge of "lawsuit proofing" Neil is under investigation by the end of the book.
3. A practical guide to anything really that can save your life, unless you take it to be advice that you should take a half dozen survivalist courses and practice sleeping in your backyard.
What this book is:
1. Aw-shucks musings about his girlfriend, who he presents as nails-on-chalkboard ditzy and selfish, but gosh darn it, if ya look at it the right way, downright wise! If the phrase "I'm going to Kendra's" will somehow save your life, then perhaps this is the book for you.
2. A page turner - all in all a pretty good story. I read it in one sitting without too much boredom.
3. FULL of celebrity name dropping and other very dishy stuff about his billionaire friends. "When I saw Leonard Cohen..." "When I crashed Tom Cruise's bike..." "I looked over toward President Clinton..." "Trisha (Yearwood) wanted us backstage..." Lots of glam setup for a story basically about a guy learning to camp.
4. A classic 'city slicker wises up' type story with the feel good ending that Neil decides to help people at the end by becoming an EMT. It even features the "begrudging respect" when someone he initially dismisses turns out to have some value in their "potato head."
5. Very heavily weighted toward caching/stashing food, emergency toilets, camping, foraging, knife and gun skills, tracking etc. However, all of these topics are approached anecdotally, as in "I can identify over 700 kinds of tracks" with only one photographic example, and no real segue into how this relates to anything.
All in all it was an entertaining read, but I wouldn't recommend it to perform as advertised because there isn't anything in it that is truly useful.
Tracked by 4 customers
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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 6, 2009 5:05:00 AM PDT
Jeffrey Wyman says:
Posted on Aug 19, 2009 11:09:29 PM PDT
A great review.
Love this summary:
"Lots of glam setup for a story basically about a guy learning to camp."
Posted on Nov 9, 2009 5:38:35 PM PST
G. Charles Steiner says:
Thank you, Ada, for your honest and scathingly biting/funny review! With the title such as it is, what a sham you saved me from buying. Absolutely loved your writing, and maybe such honesty and truthfulness can only come from an autodidact! You do good work!
Posted on Nov 14, 2009 8:59:10 PM PST
Ha! Loved this review. : )
Posted on Dec 20, 2009 5:53:47 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2009 6:35:28 PM PST
I find it amazing that you trash this book based on one misleading blog which Strauss had no control over...unless a person were born yesterday, or were dense, it would be easy to surmise that a writer who's previous books are about pick-up artists, drug addicted rockstars, and pornstars is not going to write a comprehensive@treatise about surviving the collapse of society; the title and cover of the book are not meant to be taken literally.
Instead this book is about one man's journey into the world of survivalism, self-sufficiency, and ultra preparedness. It's witty, irreverent, and will probably offend the black helicopter crowd who take this type of thing a bit too seriously.
In the end, Strauss comes to the conclusion, that self preparedness is important but only the tip of the iceberg, that in the end it's about helping one's fellow man; and taken to it's extreme, survivalism is an exercise in selfishness, isolation, and delusion.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2010 2:09:26 AM PST
Rox Hayward says:
I'd say the Reviewer was disappointed by the difference between the blog description and the book, but he clearly read the book and fairly listed his likes and dislikes.
I didn't think it was going to be any kind of comprehensive manual or How-to, but I did think there some spaced devoted to how the reader could further their own efforts to survive when the SHTF. A few bullet points here and there... so yeah, it's just Strauss' personal anecdotes. And I might add that I really got the sense that he went on some of his escapades solely to add chapters to his book. I never got the sense that he really took it that seriously, but went through the motions because he had a book to write.
Some of the adventures were entertaining, but I thought more than a few were also contrived and pointless beyond just padding a hundred extra pages.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2010 7:18:57 PM PDT
B. Fisher says:
Since I didn't know who Strauss was, I wouldn't have presumed this before buying, and generally agree Ada Cole's review. This book seeks out a new market then his last titles I guess (I'm married and have little interest in celebs, pickup skills, etc.) and I bought it also from Tim Ferriss's review. I would still have bought it now that I've read it, but I'll likely never reference it again... however, it has caused me to rethink some things... so who knows... the changes I make based on that info could "save my life".
Posted on Sep 17, 2010 6:29:27 AM PDT
J. R. Fielhauer says:
I also found Emergency through Tim Ferriss and am disappointed to hear it's not what his blog says. Too bad the book is on the way. It sounds like it will still be an interesting read - just not what I was intending to buy.
Posted on Oct 21, 2010 3:59:23 PM PDT
W. C. Bryant says:
Wonderful review, saved me from an impulse buy that would have been driven by similarly unmet hopes and expectations.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2012 10:03:59 AM PDT
Bernardo Rivas Carrillo says:
I completely agree with the "I'm doing this to add chapters to my book" theory. I see that on the motorbike and the EMT parts.