Deep Survival By: Laurence Gonzales

By: Braden Bedichek

Deep Survival

This book talks about accidents that happened out in nature and who lives who dies and why. Gonzales interviews survivors and writes about their story down to the very last detail. These accidents occur during rock climbing, river rafting, ship wrecks, hiking icy mountains, avalanches, living in the dessert for days on end, and many more. One story about rock climbers that were also geologists so it talks about what kind of rocks that they found along the way which ties back into our rocks unit that we just finished studying. The book as a whole talks about accidents that are caused by human error and the earth itself which also relates back to this class, ESS, because we study the earth and its features. He then goes over 12 different rules of survival so to speak and here they are...


1. Perceive and Believe. Don't fall into the deadly trap of denial or of immobilizing fear. Admit it: You're really in trouble and you're going to have to get yourself out.

2. Stay Calm – Use Your Anger In the initial crisis, survivors are not ruled by fear; instead, they make use of it. Their fear often feels like (and turns into) anger, which motivates them and makes them feel sharper.

3. Think, Analyze, and Plan. Survivors quickly organize, set up routines, and institute discipline.

4. Take Correct, Decisive Action. Survivors are willing to take risks to save themselves and others. But they are simultaneously bold and cautious in what they will do. They handle what is within their power to deal with from moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day.

5. Celebrate your success. Survivors take great joy from even their smallest successes. This helps keep motivation high and prevents a lethal plunge into hopelessness. Viktor Frankl put it this way: “Don't aim at success–the more you aim at it and make it a target,the more you are going to miss it.”

7. Enjoy the Survival Journey. It may seem counterintuitive, but even in the worst circumstances, survivors find something to enjoy, some way to play and laugh. Survival can be tedious, and waiting itself is an art.

8. See the Beauty. Survivors are attuned to the wonder of their world, especially in the face of mortal danger. The appreciation of beauty, the feeling of awe, opens the senses to the environment. (When you see something beautiful, your pupils actually dilate.) When Saint-Exupery's plane went down in the Lybian Desert, he was certain that he was doomed, but he carried on in this positive spirit.

9. Believe That You Will Succeed. It is at this point, following what I call “the vision,” that the survivor's will to live becomes firmly fixed.

10. Surrender. Yes you might die. In fact, you wil die–we all do. But perhaps it doesn't have to be today. Don't let it worry you.

11. Do Whatever Is Necessary

12. Never Give Up If you're still alive, there is always one more thing that you can do.

Personal Opinion

I don't like to read boring books so I purposefully picked this book knowing that it was going to have exciting stories and crazy survival tips. I really enjoyed this book because it was severval different stories rolled into one. Each chapter held a different survival story but they all related back to one another in the sense that most survived.

Scientific Evidence

The geologist that I mentioned earlier talked about the specific rocks that they found and it was interesting to see them go into more detail about the rocks that I already knew that names of. For example, they shared that "the most common type of sedimentary rock that holds fossils is limestone, sandstone, and shale." (pg. 112)

The best parts about this book aren't the actual stories but the explanation of science behind them and how people cope with the post traumatic stress that they have from these events that occurred. One of the characteristics of success that Gonzales writes about is the ability to step outside oneself and to help others, which is "one of the most therapeutic steps you can take."(pg. 167)

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Laurence Gonzales on Deep Survival