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Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience Hardcover – September 10, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Illness. Divorce. Job Loss. The Death of a loved one. You don't get this far in life without experiencing some adversity. But while you can't avoid painful events, you can learn to control your response to them. Here, [Gonzales] revals how recovery can be a transforming experience that not only moves us forward but also enriches our lives in ways we never could have imagined. "

About the Author

Laurence Gonzales is the author of Surviving Survival, Flight 232 and the bestseller Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why. He has won two National Magazine Awards and is a scholar at the Sante Fe Institute. He divides his time between Evanston, Illinois, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (September 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393083187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393083187
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover
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"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.
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