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The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life (Hardcover)

From Publishers Weekly
Sherwood (The Man Who Ate the 747), a writer for the L.A. Times, travels worldwide to gain insight from people who have survived a slew of near fatal phenomena ranging from a mountain lion attack to a Holocaust concentration camp, and interviewing an array of experts to understand the psychology, genetics and jumble of other little things that determines whether we live or die. Readers curious about their own survivor profile can take an Internet test, which is explained in the books later pages. Sherwoods assertion that survival is a way of perceiving the world around you is enlightening, as are some of the facts he uncovers: you have 90 seconds to leave a plane crash before the cabin temperature becomes unbearable; luck has more to do with personal perspective than chance. But Sherwoods balance of self-help, scientific theories and first-rate reporting is diminished by occasionally overwrought prose as well as the countless survivors stories, which can run together in a touchy-feely stream of faith and optimism. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

The book is a useful, insightful exploration of the nature of survival, the resilience of the human mind and body, and the ways in which we can all use our natural gifts to maximize our chances of coming through catastrophic situations. (Booklist )

Enlightening...first-rate reporting. (Publishers Weekly )

"[The] stories are gripping, to put it mildly... Sherwood gains our trust with his Boy Scout common sense: Be prepared, play to your strengths, stay unruffled, keep the faith." (Kirkus Reviews )

A rare combination of superb storytelling and practical value. If you do nothing more than read this remarkable book, that alone will improve your chances of prevailing in life's toughest challenges. (Gavin de Becker, NYT bestselling author of The Gift of Fear )

Ben Sherwood has done an absolutely amazing job of researching the science surrounding the mystery of survival. The book is a treasure trove of information, much of which I had never encountered before. I found myself captivated by the studies and scientists - and deeply moved by the stories of people surviving under the most incredible circumstances. For both my brain and heart it was a page turner. And given the practical pay-off, you probably shouldn't leave your bed without it! (Tim Johnson, MD, ABC News Medical Editor )

"This book will grab you from the first page and keep you riveted through the end. Sherwood has chosen a viscerally compelling topic and written it brilliantly. Oh sure, THE SURVIVORS CLUB could save your life--but what matters more to me is that it's a wonderful read, the kind that makes whatever life you're living feel that much more worthwhile." (Martha Beck, New York Times bestselling author of Leaving the Saints and Expecting, Adam, and columnist for 0, The Oprah Magazine )

"Ben Sherwood has given voice to what we all wonder. Would I make it? Do I have what it takes to survive -- and what does it take, by the way? The answers are all here in riveting stories, scientific research, good luck, and Ben's own travels into the world of learning of how to survive when death is this close." (Tom Brokaw )

"Experience the wisdom of people who improbably survived the abyss of death. What do they wish they had known before they survived the ordeal, and what is your Survivors IQ? You will want to know the answers that could save your life." (Mehmet Oz, MD )

Life lessons, January 26, 2009
By Julie Neal "The Complete Walt Disney World" (Sanibel Island, Fla.)

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