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Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why Hardcover – October, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
Gonzales bookends the essays with the story of his father, a scientist who, as a young flier during WWII, was shot down over Germany. He survived when his plane was shot down and plummeted to earth, then lived through a harrowing recovery as a POW.
Why did his dad make it when the rest of his crew was killed?
Some of this has to do with events you can't control, and some of it has to do with how to control yourself so that you can find a way out of dire straits. He points out that some people can make every correct decision and end up being killed, while others make every wrong decision and walk out of the woods (or off a mountain...) unscathed. But, you can learn to THINK like a survivor, and greatly increase your chances of getting through what may seem, even to others in the same sinking boat, like a no-win situation.
Gonzales's dad taught him, "Plan the flight. Fly the plan, but don't fall in love with the plan." Being prepared is only part of the equation; being able to adjust to changing circumstances is what a lot of us forget about.
Reading this book is an adventure in itself.Read more ›
He explains the paradox so well--that in order to survive, one must surrender, yet at the same time not give in. There must be a sheer raw determination to win the game, yet an acceptance of possibly losing it as well, which paradoxically, gives you an edge. And if you can muster a playful spirit on top of it all, well--then you're just golden. A *great* read.
The author has hamstrung the book by trying to go 'high concept' and connect the book to chaos theory, complexity theory, and self-organizing systems. The author's understanding of the theories is very weak, and he seriously hurts the book by trying to force connections that don't exist and don't add to understanding.
He finally hits his pace in the latter part of the book when he largely drops the half-baked references to chaos theory and actually grapples with the question he set out to answer: who lives, who dies, and why? I wouldn't say his answers are unexpected, but he does a very good job of interwining well-chosen selections from survival literature with some original reporting and his personal story, and presenting them in a compelling way.
There is an excellent book hiding inside of Deep Survival. It's a shame that you've got to piece it together yourself from the good bits.
No! Catastrophes are too complicated, nature is too capricious, and no one can fathom why someone was given -divinely or otherwise- the mental fortitude to survive while another surrenders. Gonzales admits this, but he does better. He shows us that many of those who survive have a mental profile that helps them survive and he encourages us to find this resilience which we all have by varying degrees. He does this through pages of wisdom.
So there are 15 chapters, each presenting a main lesson, and a fantastic tale of accidents, catastrope or survival. Minor points in each chapter is supported by 'minor' stories. Thus Gonzales masterfully weaves several stories in each chapter.
The stories presented are just awe inspiring. Let me give whet your appetite. Two raft guides steer their boats down a raging river. One notices entire trees racing by and has enough, the other doesn't and dies. A teenage girl falls a mile from an airplane with just her high heels and her dress. She survives, but now must face an inhospitable jungle below. SCUBA divers drown underwater with plenty of air in their tanks.
Gonzales does not get into the 'gadgetry' lessons of survival. There are no techniques about how to apply first aid, or rappel a cliff.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are lessons to be learned here, and a single read isn't enough to cement those lessons into your being. Read morePublished 2 days ago by R. Nelson
What a book!!! Personally, I think everyone ought to read it. Why? Well, for one thing in today's world, as well as in past history, "things happen". Read morePublished 4 days ago by Curt Seefeldt
Clearly Freud would have a lot to say about the author and his father complex-but which father would not want a son like Laurence Gonzales? Read morePublished 17 days ago by Dr H L Shaw
This is a fantastic book. I not only saw how it pertained to wilderness areas, but also related it to life in general. Read morePublished 1 month ago by ambidextrous in Rupert
I began this book with earnest interest in the topic and my expectations were dashed somewhat -- the conversational style of the book's first few dozen pages gives way to a broad,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Contemp Lit Reviews
Interesting book. Well written and comes from many sources of personal experience (or close by with family) as well as others that he has studied in depth.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer