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Showing 1-10 of 60 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 75 reviews
on September 15, 2012
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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on September 16, 2012
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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on April 2, 2015
Laurence Gonzales has hit it out of the park with another great book. This one leaves off where "Deep Survival" left off by discussing how people were able to overcome the emotional aftermath of their survival stories.

The book "Surviving Survival is NOT a rehash of his previous book "Deep Survival" despite the erroneous description by some reviewers. Surviving Survival reviews and then discusses the aftermath of some of the survival stories of "Deep Survival" but explores how those survivors overcame their trauma. Furthermore, "Surviving Survival" introduces many new survival stories not discussed in "Deep Survival."

Laurence has a terrific conclusion to his book "Surviving Survival" with not just one but two chapters on the lessons to be learned from the survivors overcoming the trauma of their survival. Chapter 14 discusses the conclusions made by the Terman Grant Study. Chapter 15 then discusses Laurence's strategies of overcoming the trauma of survival.

I will quickly summarize the lessons learned from the Terman Study because another reviewer "Deb" does a great job of summarizing Chapter 15. The Study offered the following steps to overcome trauma of:

1. Acknowledge fear, rage, sadness, but then use those emotions to move into a seeking mode.
2. Think, analyze, and plan.
3. Know what you have and what you want.
4. Act on you plan.
5. Celebrate your successes.
6. Count you blessing
7. Play and have fun.
8. See the beauty in life.
9. Believe that you can influence events to a certain extent and not adopt a victim mentality.
10. Let go of your fears, move forward, and trust the process.
11. Do whatever I necessary to make that move happen.
12. Never give up.

I will quickly conclude that "Surviving Survival" provides valuable practical advice for living, but also provides spiritual and philosophical satisfaction to the reader. Laurence again provides a book to enrich and ensure your life.
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on May 7, 2013
This excellent, well-written, and informative book from the author of Deep Survival is a "must-read" for anyone who wants insight into one of life's greatest challenges.

Surviving Survival takes on the complex issue of what happens to people in the aftermath of a terrible, life-changing incident, and explores what some have done to move on with their shattered lives.

A survivor is, by definition, alive, and for most observers that means "end of story". As Gonzales makes abundantly clear, however, the real struggle to survive is just beginning.

This book addresses the huge and complex task that survivors of traumatic events face when they begin - as all survivors must - coming to terms with what has happened to them. The world around them is often the same, but they have been irrevocably changed, and the daunting challenge that lies before them is how to rediscover themselves and forge a new relationship with the world.

Anyone who has been through a truly major crisis in life, whether it's a bitter and protracted divorce, physical trauma, a home invasion, the loss of a treasured loved one, or a wilderness experience gone terribly wrong, will find themselves in this book, because it speaks directly and eloquently to their struggle.

As he did in Deep Survival, Gonzales has woven together a fascinating tapestry of real events and good science to give readers a look at terrain that most have never considered, let alone experienced.
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on January 5, 2016
Having read, Laurence Gonzalez earlier book Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why I had to wonder what more he could possibly have to say about survival but this book exceeded my expectations. He takes an in-depth look at what happens to people after they return to 'normal' life. It's one of the best books I've come across on the topic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He in fact, suggests that using the word 'disorder' is misleading and that we should refer to it as simply "PTS".

Combining a scientists view of the research data and the abilities of a gifted storyteller, he walks us through several case studies and suggests that the response to a life threatening situation is simply the normal development of what he called a 'secondary emotional reaction'. Not that it is always a good thing. Burning your hand on a stove top develops a mild secondary emotional reaction which creates an aversion to touching hot objects without protection. One of his case studies however was a woman who survived (barely) a horrific shark attack and it covers her journey to health (physical and mental) including her return to scuba diving.

Recommended reading for every human on the planet. It will help make you more resilient and show you some terrific strategies for dealing with the large and small incidents that everyone will face if we live long enough. Definitely worth the time to read and indeed, so well written that it reads like a gripping thriller.
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on February 20, 2013
It doesn't matter if you have had an "event" or not. You should read this book.

Gonzales writes the drama of the events magnificently. You could read the book for that. And, where people have let him into their daily lives, post-event, where they cope with the loss, the day-to-day *living*, that is where the book shines.

I found great comfort in knowing I didn't have to "talk through" the craziness that happened to me. That sublimation was a great thing. In fact, he suggests
- Sublimation
- Altruism
- Suppression
- Anticipation
- Humor

I can do that! In fact, that's exactly what I do. Because if you have had a random thing happen to you, as I have, you can't make sense of it. Why bother? It's not worth the time or aggravation. You move on. And, every so often, it still comes up with a two-by-four to hit you upside the head and say, "I'm here." That's why I found Chapter 14, "The Science of Adaptation: There's No Revenge Like Success," so helpful.

And, Chapter 15, his twelve rules to live by, are surprisingly close to my "system" for managing my new life. My full review on my blog is here: [...]

We all have disruptions in our lives. We all need to adapt. Gonzales has written a masterful book about how to live a life. No matter what.
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on January 28, 2013
The awkward title of this book belies one of the most insightful and inspiring books on psychological resilience ever written. "Surviving survival" refers to the long and complicated road back from trauma to normalcy, from isolation to connectedness, from despair to hope, from fear to comfort or joy, that survivors of shark attacks, combat trauma, death of a child, or other life-shattering experiences must travel. Gonzales explains how the brain's workings, including memory systems and alarm systems, produce the unusual and intense behaviors exhibited by trauma survivors, and how survival strategies that survivors employ lay down new experiences that allow new growth and positive emotions, without ever completely erasing the trauma imprint that has been burned into the brain. One of the many great strengths of this book is the author's use of the findings from a 60 long year study of adult development to explain how coping traits such as humor, anticipation, sublimation, suppression, and altruism help us prepare for and recover from life's inevitable psychological trauma.
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on December 28, 2015
This is the book I was needing after a series of trauma's had left me fairly numb. Reading (other stories) about how people get through astounding accidents and thrive doesn't help much, but this book analyzes a bunch of people and their traumas and the aftermath. What they did AFTERwards to get on with life. It was so helpful. As I would hit another bump, I would re-read the book. A lot of good insights on how to deal with terrible things. Reading and re-reading this book has honestly given me some direction on how to reformat and get the most comfort out of life. I highly recommend.
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on November 12, 2012
This book was a decent follow up to what is still Gonzeles' best work, Deep Survival. Gonzales examines the after effects of survival and illustrates, through stories, strategies of moving forward. Beginning with the premise that the survival wiring for the body/brain actually labels trauma memory as valuable (i.e. useful for survival, don't do that again), he illustrates that the body/brain actually does it too well. So well, in fact, that it becomes debilitating for some. He also points out that traumatic memory can't be erased or talked away, but can only be overwritten. His stories illustrate the successful, and sometimes unsuccessful, strategies survivors have used to move onward.

It is a good book that focuses on a neurological basis for some of the problems or issues survivors have. PTSD is not an individual failing, it is the neurological culmination of our evolution. How one deals with that, that is the key.

And here is where the book loses a star, imho. Perhaps I expected something with laser organization and focus at the level of Deep Survival. At least it wasn't Everyday Survival. It flew somewhere in the middle.

I would recommend this book for anyone interested in post trauma recovery. Understanding a warrior's silence, a car accident survivor's fears, or the family dynamics in the wake of a family member's chronic eating disorder - this book is useful.
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on August 27, 2013
If you want to understand Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder orwhy some people are consumed by crazy grief or have their lives destroyed by a single horrible experience, this well-written book is a good place to start. Brain science is currently evolving rapidly; The book explains how the primitive brain, when placed under extreme stress, rewires the entire brain in ways that torment survivors afterwards. While some coping strategies work, there's no easy cure.

Before reading this book I never really understood PTSD. There was a fellow in my neighborhood - a big drinker who couldn't hold a job or make a relationship work - who fought with the Marines on Iwo Jima and won a battlefield commission there. He was a marksmanship instructor in the reserves and once I saw him teach. He was like a different man - totally squared away, alert, and focused. I wish we had all been more understanding and compassionate towards this man who gave so much of himself.
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