SURVIVE! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere - Alive -- Les Stroud

Friday, June 19, 2009

On my daily commute with my customary sheaf of newspaper, I was reading the articles and was about to skip over yet another ad, when I noticed that it was an ad from Chapters/Indigo/Coles. 50% off select books, geared towards Father's Day. (And the deals go on only until Jun 20th, so act fast!)

One book in particular that caught my eye was Survive! by Les Stroud.

Now, I don't usually make impulse buys, but I had to get that book the same day that I saw that ad. What can I say, I'm a huge fan of his show, Survivorman (I will definitely miss his shows since they're apparently ending with season 3). And after reading the reviews and reading through part of the book, $12 for this book is a fantastic deal!

Plus, I figured it was about time to get brushed up on some survival skills just in case that does happen. I know it's pessimistic, but with summer just around the bend and trips likely to occur... well I'd rather be prepared than not...


I haven't read that many books on the topic, and the only thing I've heard about survival is from the show, obviously (and from a 4-hour long session on outdoor activities and useful skills).

But from what I've read from the book, and from various websites reviewing the book, it's a comprehensive read, that almost assumes you know certain skills and stuff (e.g. tying knots...). It's straightforward and easy to understand. He illustrates points well with examples and interesting stories (remember Aron!).

There's also a chapter on one of the most important aspects of survival - the psychological part of it. It could have been covered some more, but the fact that it's there is great.

And well, it's just basically a really good book coming from a fantastic survivor with lots and lots of experience.


From my reading so far, the book instructs clearly and the writing is very conversational - exactly like how he is during his show. But a book that is conversational like this makes for a very interesting read.

It seems like a book with a lot of his work to date - I like the fact that the book explains quite in depth how he used them on the show - like how to use a watch as a compass, with daylight savings time in consideration.

The fact that he drops little helpful tidbits here and there is also very appreciated (e.g. when eating mussels, if the water coming out of them is green - it's poisonous, you don't want to eat one of those; if it's clear, it's good).

I also like how the book is organized into the following chapters - you can quickly flip to what's important and the categories are quite apt:

1. Trip Planning and Prep
2. Survival Kits
3. Psychological Aspects of Survival
4. Signalling
5. Water
6. Fire
7. Shelter
8. Survival Travel and Navigation
10. Dangers and Hazards
11. Weather
12. Clothing
13. Survival First Aid
14. Essential Survival Skills
15. When Disaster Strikes Close to Home

There are also checklists of important items at the end of the book, which is handy since you don't have to comb through the book for the lists.

I'd definitely bring this book with me if I'm ever going to some sort of trip (The book is a ~370-page softcover - light! - with a durable, waterproof cover - I only wish the inside pages were waterproof... though they could be used for tinder in an emergency. There are actually two pages at the end that are labelled "Fire Starter" :D).
And I'd better get a move on with my survival kits!

* * *

Also, for those interested in other 50% off books, the other books, besides Survive! were:
Always Looking Up - Michael J. Fox
My Remarkable Journey - Larry King
Assegai - Wilbur Smith
Medusa - Clive Cussler
I Met The Walrus - Jerry Levitan
The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Complete License to Grill - Chris Knight
Crazy for the Storm - Norman Ollestad

Two other notes:
I live in Toronto, so I don't know if that's the only place with this promo.
Also, even though they're on sale, when I went to the store, they weren't placed on a special table or marked up to show that discount or anything - the discount was just taken automatically at the cash.