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.