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Book Review: The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood
The Survivor’s Club” by Ben Sherwood, (c.2009, Grand Central Publishing – $25.99 / $28.99 Canada – 384 pages)

Book Review: The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

January 23, 2009 —  What would you’ve done if you’d been on the plane that landed in the Hudson River?

Would you have panicked and hoped someone took charge? Or would you have sat frozen, positive you were going to die?

Or perhaps you’d be one of those people – the slim minority – who sees crisis, assesses options, and acts quickly.

In the new book “The Survivor’s Club” by Ben Sherwood, (c.2009, Grand Central Publishing – $25.99 / $28.99 Canada – 384 pages) find out how humans cope with tragedy, how to plan ahead to live longer, what your personal survivability factor is, and how you can learn to land on your feet.

Is there anyone on earth who hasn’t faced adversity? Sherwood says no. We’ve all had our share of trauma; we just differ in the way we deal with it.

But how do we know who will be calm in the face of adversity and who will fold? Experts call it the Theory of 10-80-10. Ten percent of us handle crisis in a calm manner. Those are, by the way, the people that airline attendants are trained to identify when they greet us as we’re boarding a plane.

The middle 80 percent – most of us – will freeze and become confused. We’ll hyperventilate. We’ll feel sick. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as we can shake the fear and react before the crisis becomes fatal.

The latter 10 percent, says Sherwood, are the ones “you definitely want to avoid in an emergency”. They do everything wrong, and they can’t seem to get a grip. Those are the people likely to die when things go horribly wrong.

So, back to the Hudson River. How can you make sure you survive a plane crash, or any critical situation? First, stop worrying about minutiae and take reasonable precautions to thwart disaster in an emergency. Don’t be overly optimistic, but do keep the faith and learn to assess situations with common sense. Face your fears, develop acceptance and mental flexibility, and stay physically fit. Remember that you’re stronger than you realize.

From a New Mexican church where mud is holy, to the hometown of an Oklahoma acid attack victim, and a laboratory where Holocaust survivors are compared to PTSD-suffering veterans, “The Survivors Club” will teach you the Rule of Three, introduce you to Dr. Popsicle, test your survivability, and show you why the best place to have a heart attack is in Las Vegas.

Not a book to be reading on an airplane? Oh, I don’t know… I did, and I loved it.

In an un-put-downable gee-whiz fashion, author Ben Sherwood introduces his readers to researchers, survivors (some, of horrifying events), psychologists, and scientists who look at why some survive a crisis when others don’t. This is one of those useful, lively, fun books that tells you something new and totally fascinating on every page, and I simply couldn’t stop reading it.

Want to live to a ripe old (happy) age? Pick up a copy of “The Survivors Club” and enjoy. Which you will, because this is a book you won’t be dying to read.



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