Surviving Survival

Save the date. Mark Tuesday, February 25 at 7PM as the date to meet Evanston author Laurence Gonzales discuss his non-fiction work, Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience, at the Evanston Public Library, Main Branch.


Back in the day I did a bit of adventure travel and became acutely conscious of how fragile the boundary is between robust health and incapacitation. I did not experience anything similar to the horrific and horrifying stories in this book, but there were close calls. If you are a fan of Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer), Wild (Cheryl Strayed) and Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition on The Endurance (Alfred Lansing), these stories will fascinate. I was keen to understand the science and neuroscience behind why and how some people survive and others do not. 

Gonzales is a clear writer and excels at making complex subjects understandable. The last chapter of the book, “The Rules of Life,” serve as a primer for getting through the trauma and crap that comes with being human.  Most of us, thank God, will never suffer the way the subjects of this book have. But everyone who is actively living their life will at some point experience disappointment, suffering and failure. Many of us will need to reinvent ourselves, either in our careers or personal lives or perhaps both. And as these compelling stories prove, loss does not need to lead to defeat. It becomes part of the story, but it need not become the story.

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