Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life
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Book Description

Terrorist attacks. Natural disasters. Domestic crackdowns. Economic collapse. Riots. Wars. Disease. Starvation.

What can you do when it all hits the fan?

You can learn to be self-sufficient and survive without the system.

**I've started to look at the world through apocalypse eyes.** So begins Neil Strauss's harrowing new book: his first full-length worksince the international bestseller The Game, and one of the most original-and provocative-narratives of the year.

After the last few years of violence and terror, of ethnic and religious hatred, of tsunamis and hurricanes–and now of world financial meltdown–Strauss, like most of his generation, came to the sobering realization that, even in America, anything can happen. But rather than watch helplessly, he decided to do something about it. And so he spent three years traveling through a country that's lost its sense of safety, equipping himself with the tools necessary to save himself and his loved ones from an uncertain future.

With the same quick wit and eye for cultural trends that marked The Game, The Dirt, and How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, Emergency traces Neil's white-knuckled journey through today's heart of darkness, as he sets out to move his life offshore, test his skills in the wild, and remake himself as a gun-toting, plane-flying, government-defying survivor. It's a tale of paranoid fantasies and crippling doubts, of shady lawyers and dangerous cult leaders, of billionaire gun nuts and survivalist superheroes, of weirdos, heroes, and ordinary citizens going off the grid.

It's one man's story of a dangerous world–and how to stay alive in it.

Before the next disaster strikes, you're going to want to read this book. And you'll want to do everything it suggests. Because tomorrow doesn't come with a guarantee...

Questions for Neil Strauss

Amazon.com: What initially inspired you to write Emergency?

Strauss: It happened over the last eight years, watching as everything that we thought could never happen in America suddenly started happening. So I decided to take control over my own life, rather than being dependent on an increasingly undependable system, and worked toward becoming as self-sufficient, independent, skilled, and experienced as I could. That journey continues today.

Amazon.com: You use the term "Fliesian" in the book (as in Lord of the Flies). What is a Fliesian?

Strauss: Someone who believes that people, if put in a world where there are no consequences to their actions, will do horrible things.

Amazon.com: So how can we hold on to our kindness and humaneness in a crisis?

Strauss: Fortunately, in my experience, it is precisely these situations when you see the best in people come out. The worst in some tends to arise only when the resources one needs to survive are scarce and there is competition for them.

Amazon.com: Do you think that this book is catering to a fear-based culture?

Strauss: Actually, the book is less about spreading fears than getting over them. What most of us fear is the unknown, and we fret about what’s going to happen in an uncertain future when we consider the calamities of the past. I decided to no longer react to the things I read in newspapers, but instead to understand them. So I took each worst-case scenario to the extreme, and experienced many of the things that used to make me anxious. I guess, in that way, it was like a more interesting, adventurous Prozac.

Amazon.com: A lot of writers these days are basing books on various year-long stunts: read the encyclopedia for a year, always say "yes" for a year, have sex with your wife every day for a year. But your brand of immersion journalism, in Emergency and in The Game, is more open-ended--and more personal--than that. Do you draw any sort of line between the books and your life?

Strauss: My books never begin as books. They usually begin as some sort of lack I recognize in my life and try to fix with the help of the most qualified experts I can find. Often, these people are not in the public eye, but hidden in a splinter subculture. And while I’m trying to get taken under their wing, I realize at some point I’m spending so much time trying to learn and improve that I might as well have something to show for it, so I write a book.

Amazon.com: One of the first subcultures you embedded yourself in was a cabal of billionaires. Are wealthy people safer than the rest of us?

Strauss: No, they’re more scared than the rest of us. That’s why they’re taking so many precautionary measures. They are defined by their money, and now that identity is crumbling around them. You can’t buy safety. Those who are the most safe are the ones with knowledge, skills, and experience.

Amazon.com: You describe the philosophy of the sphincter in Emergency. What is that?

Strauss: I learned that from one of my defense instructors. The basic idea is that, in a high-pressure situation, the first thing that happens is people get nervous and uptight. And as soon as your sphincter tightens, as the metaphor goes, it cuts off circulation to your brain. So one of the best survival skills you can have is the ability to quickly and coolly assess a situation rather than panicking and doing something stupid.

Amazon.com: From your wilderness survival training, it sounds like you're in pretty good shape if things ever hit the fan. But what if you live in the city?

Strauss: That’s a good point. A lot of the wilderness survival skills I learned don’t take into account that, in America today, there’s little actual wilderness left. So I took a class called Urban Escape and Evasion. As the teacher put it, “Once you learn lockpicking, the world is your oyster.” He also taught car hot-wiring, evading pursuit vehicles, and, as an exam, handcuffed me, put me in a trunk, and told me I had to escape. It was one of the most interesting classes I’d taken in my life. If I’d known these skills in high school, I definitely would have been expelled.

Amazon.com: The book has a surprising trajectory--surprising to the reader and I think to you as well. You start out looking for a way to get out of Dodge if one of many possible disasters strikes, but as you develop your survival skills, instead of becoming a lone wolf in the woods, you start becoming tied to your community, as an EMT and a trained crisis management worker (not to mention a goat midwife). It's actually pretty heartwarming. Did you see any of that coming?

Strauss: Definitely not. I had no idea that when disasters happen now, instead of running away from them, I’d be running toward them and trying to be of some use to the community. I think that, if there’s a silver lining in the dark cloud that is the economy right now, it’s that hard times bring people closer together. Now is the time to get to know your neighbors. You never know when you may need them.

Amazon.com: Has your experience writing Emergency affected you differently from your experience writing The Game?

Strauss: Yes, because now, at 3 a.m. on a Saturday night, my search-and-rescue pager will go off and I’ll have to stop doing what I learned in The Game and start doing what I learned in Emergency.



Terrorist attacks. Natural disasters. Domestic crackdowns. Economic collapse. Riots. Wars. Disease. Starvation.

What can you do when it all hits the fan?

You can learn to be self-sufficient and survive without the system.

**I've started to look at the world through apocalypse eyes.** So begins Neil Strauss's harrowing new book: his first full-length worksince the international bestseller The Game, and one of the most original-and provocative-narratives of the year.

After the last few years of violence and terror, of ethnic and religious hatred, of tsunamis and hurricanes–and now of world financial meltdown–Strauss, like most of his generation, came to the sobering realization that, even in America, anything can happen. But rather than watch helplessly, he decided to do something about it. And so he spent three years traveling through a country that's lost its sense of safety, equipping himself with the tools necessary to save himself and his loved ones from an uncertain future.

With the same quick wit and eye for cultural trends that marked The Game, The Dirt, and How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, Emergency traces Neil's white-knuckled journey through today's heart of darkness, as he sets out to move his life offshore, test his skills in the wild, and remake himself as a gun-toting, plane-flying, government-defying survivor. It's a tale of paranoid fantasies and crippling doubts, of shady lawyers and dangerous cult leaders, of billionaire gun nuts and survivalist superheroes, of weirdos, heroes, and ordinary citizens going off the grid.

It's one man's story of a dangerous world–and how to stay alive in it.

Before the next disaster strikes, you're going to want to read this book. And you'll want to do everything it suggests. Because tomorrow doesn't come with a guarantee...

Customer Reviews:

  • This book will consume your life
    I purchased Emergency to see if Neil Strauss could write another great book. And he did! As a sequel, Emergency is especially good, because the audience Neil created will now blindly do some good things, rather than open sets every night. On the downside, it is written for a mass audience, and this is reflected in the disjointed comic pages and the large print....more info
  • 0 SRARS WAS NOT AN OPTION
    DONT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY ON THIS BOOK THAT SHOULD BE CALLED FALSE HOPE YOU WOULD GET MORE HELP WALKING IN A SPORTING GOODS STORE...more info
  • Survival reading, a life approach...
    This is a great book on how to get into the survival game. The book drags till you get into the first 100pgs or so then the meat kicks in. The author goes about getting the skills and mindset required on prep for the future. Koodos! I want to mention the Patriot was my first good insight on prep and am happy to add Emergency to the pile also.

    To have a future you must Survive......more info
  • This Book May Very Well Save Your Life!
    Most survival books describe how we can survive in the woods, the desert, or if lost at sea. Useful? If you spend a great deal of time outdoors, perhaps. Strauss has written a book for those who wish to know how to survive in the environment they spend most of their time living in-the urban environment.

    Like anything else written by the author, it's a compelling and enjoyable read. Great book!...more info
  • More Entertaining Story, Less Survival Guidebook
    The online previews that I read for this book made it seem like more of an informational, but fun and well written modern survival guide. Instead, it was more the story of Neil's efforts to become self sufficient over the course of a few years. While it was entertaining, and a very good read, the most interesting parts where when he was giving hard details about specific techniques and skills that people used to rid themselves on their reliance of society. These moments however came few and far between, and were surrounded by narrative about his experience.

    ...more info
  • Interesting Reading
    This is the first Strauss book I've read, and it made me want to read all of his books. He has an intriguing writing style that makes one feel a part of the story.
    Most of us are scared for our country and our economy right now, and this book plays on and responds to those fears. Strauss starts the book out talking about how to get out if and when TSHTF. Anyone who's thought about what's happened here in the last 8 years has probably had similar concerns.
    I didn't feel like he really gave us concrete info to use to survive unless we could afford the experts he uses.
    What I love most about the book are the conclusions he comes to in the end, the stories about his girlfriend, and the little survival tips sprinkled throughout the stories.
    The book is nearly impossible to put down, and I'll read it again when I finish "I will Teach You to be Rich" because I need more money if I'm going to get a back-up plan!
    ...more info
  • An Amazingly Sophomoric Book!
    There may be a few tips in here that will help you survive an emergency, but to get to them you have to wade through one of the most sophomoric, narcissistic, brainless books I've ever read. This guy actually thinks he's funny. He's also one of those guys who loves toilet talk and thinks it makes him sound oh, so clever. Like the elitist he is, he thinks his country sucks and his countrymen are a bunch of bumpkins. The title is fraudulent: this is not a book about Emergencies. You'll learn more about that subject from the Boy Scout Handbook and you won't have to wade through Life of Strauss to do it....more info
  • Thought Provoking
    I purchased this book after reading an excerpt from the Tim Ferris blog. I have read some of Neil's works in the past. The book is an easy read due to Neil's ability to find humor in any situation. He is good at infiltrating micro-cultures, becoming one of the guys, and then describing his experiences in a way that tells the whole story, good and bad, without indicting anyone and forcing you to take sides.
    Is this a survival manual? No, but it is a holistic outline of how to prepare and approach a worst case scenario. More than that, it conveys the important messages of self sufficiency, and responsibility for your own survival. After Katrina, we all know that the government is not going to do it for you, nor should we expect that from our government.
    ...more info
  • Neil Strauss' easy reading style draws you into his narrative...
    Once again, Neil Strauss has produced an engaging and easy to read autobiographical styled book, telling tales of his years involved learning how to survive in the urban city life and wilderness survival skills.

    Similar in format to "The Game", "Emergency" will open your mind to see the world through 'Apocalypse Eyes' as well as provoke you to learn an entirely new skill set....more info
  • Real World Tips and Entertainment
    Book like most of the other of Neil's works are really fun to read and has gold nuggets of information ranging from how to protect your assets to how to survive in cold weather enviroments. Sure some of these tips don't go too in depth due to the nature of the book being more about what the author has learned in term's of saving his life and the journey which he takes but It does give the reader Ideas on the options which are out there if one were so inclined. The tips are usually located between chapters in 1-2 page comic book style which if you're familar with his other books is very entertaining on its own and help you to visualize the tips....more info
  • Fantastic Book
    Neil hit this one out of the park. His latest book is an in-depth guide for surviving the current and future economic turmoil. With our natural resources dwindling and our consumption increasing at an alarming rate there will be a time when supply can longer meet the demand. When that happens this book will be your key to survival. Wonderful practical "How To" tips on surviving an upcoming global crisis....more info
  • Not what I was expecting
    This book may "Save Your Life", but not in any direct way, as it contains few tips or instructions about survival. It is a journal of one man's attempt to prepare for the collapse of civilization, and it was an entertaining read; but this guy has much more free time and money than the average person will be able to muster. And it contains some taudry details of the author's dating life that do not serve to further the book, but merely make it inadvisable for certain, as they say, "sensitive" readers. But it does help one to be aware of what might happen, and what one can do to survive, or even help, in case of an emergency situation in which one must depend on oneself....more info
  • Not all it says it is
    I was quite excited to get this book. I pre ordered it and counted the days until it arrived in the mail. After reading the narrative for it I knew that this was the book that I had been waiting for.

    How wrong I was.

    I was very disappointed with this book. It was not a book jam packed with details on how to survive, who to contact, how to go about doing thing....but rather a story about the writer and what he had to go through to get these things done.

    There are a few pages inserted through the book giving you an idea how to smuggle a credit card knife onto a plane (great one :-|)and other totally useless methods.

    You do not learn how to do anything besides hate the writer for misrepresenting this book.

    I gave this 2 stars as it at least kept me amused for a few hours, once I had gotten over my disappointment that is.

    I wouldn't rush out to buy it, I wont even bother lending it to any friends for fear of having them think that I read this trash.

    The only way This Book Would Save My Life in an emergency would be by using it as kindling....more info
  • A Self-Mocking Paranoid's Path to Self-Sufficiency and Confidence
    The ideal reader for this book is someone who feels compelled to start planning how to get out of every room safely in case of an earthquake just as soon as the room is entered.

    Walter Mitty would have loved this book with its vivid fantasy lived out of preparing for the worst (referred to here as "WTSHTF"). I must admit that quite a few of the sections were pretty interesting to me, as well. I felt regressed to the age of nine at those points in the narrative. The book's drawback is that Mr. Strauss usually emphasizes the emotions of being at risk and developing confidence at the expense of presenting the evidence of how to be effective in a difficult situation.

    Ultimately, Emergency comes across as self-parodying for the reader to come to terms with the excess of paranoia here. I felt like the idea behind these experiences was to spend lots of money having exotic adventures and then to write a best-selling book about it.

    It also seemed to me that a book of genuine advice for a few more common emergencies would have been more interesting than this take-off on the idea of fleeing a fascist government or surviving civil unrest.

    Another drawback is that you probably know more about survival than Strauss did when he began his search for safety. The clueless parts of the book may seem more than a little lame.

    I thought the parts about escaping from kidnappers were the best. Those exercises sounded like a lot of fun.

    What will you learn? A little about a lot of things including the challenges of getting a second passport if you are an American, opening an offshore banking account, protecting your assets from lawyers and the U.S. government, killing and dressing a goat, getting water with a solar still, preparing caches and escape routes from urban areas, some of the many schools that will prepare you to be able to survive without resources in the wilderness or a city, some forms of emergency training, and how some people try to stay off the radar of any government.

    Do you need to know any of this? Probably not. It's more like reading about Robinson Crusoe and being interested in what to do on a desert island.

    Mr. Strauss's sense of humor is pretty good. I especially enjoyed the contrast between his take-charge, be-prepared-for-any-eventuality approach and his girl friend's desire to avoid any risk . . . often being afraid about higher risk events than Mr. Strauss was.

    Enjoy a little paranoia!

    But if you want to feel more loved and confident, Jesus will do you more good. ...more info
  • A good book, but not what i expected.
    When I bought this book, i was expecting a collection of how-to instructions on what to do in the case of various emergencies. I thought it was some kind of survival guide.

    However, what i got was a documentary of a guy spending his life trying to prepare for an apocalypse. It was actually a very interesting read and was well written. I dont know if i could recommend this book to anyone but if you came across it on your own i think you would enjoy it....more info
  • tagline is a bit deceptive
    As you can read in more reviews - a good read, but not extremely practical. Nothing really that will save your life - other than prepare your mental mindset (but then again if you are considering buying this book your mindset is already different then most folks)....more info
  • Compelling Read
    One of the most compelling reads I have read for a long time, Neil Strauss is a litereary genius. While this book does have a lot of useful information, its important to remember that the authorities can read this too, so bear in mind that a lot it will become obsolite very quickly, that said this book cauld infact very well save your life. ...more info
  • Read it!
    Changed the way I look at our system of government and how I would fare in a real emergency. Take the advice, prepare for the worst and live like its the best...more info
  • Not what I was expecting
    This book may "Save Your Life", but not in any direct way, as it contains few tips or instructions about survival. It is a journal of one man's attempt to prepare for the collapse of civilization, and it was an entertaining read; but this guy has much more free time and money than the average person will be able to muster. And it contains some taudry details of the author's dating life that do not serve to further the book, but merely make it inadvisable for certain, as they say, "sensitive" readers. But it does help one to be aware of what might happen, and what one can do to survive, or even help, in case of an emergency situation in which one must depend on oneself....more info
  • Building a Bugout Strategy
    Neil Strauss not only considered it but made plans so that, if necessary, he could "bug out." "Emergency" chronicles his efforts to obtain a second passport and a second home. He eventually accomplished his mission but along the way he received much, much more than he had originally intended.

    Good books work on a number of levels. Emergency does just that.

    For those who are ready to bug out, Strauss has provided a number of routes and organizations that may (or may not) help to accomplish that goal.

    For those who are concerned about the loss of individual freedoms and privacy in the US, Strauss offers insight into the thought processes that led him to a realization that all is not well and the decision to act on those realizations.

    For those who enjoy a good story, peopled with real characters, Strauss fills the bill. His meetings with a variety of mentors, his fear-filled girl friend, and his personal growth will keep you reading.

    His is a story of transformation, from self-interested US educated wimp, who'd learned it all and knew just about nothing, to a strong individual who provides valuable community services and now focuses on building communities.

    Whether you are interested in learning how to "bug out" or just want a good read, consider "Emergency." There's plenty to get you thinking, perhaps enough to get you, like Strauss, moving and growing. Will it save your life? No. But it will point you towards the actions you can take to do it for yourself.

    Highly recommended!






    ...more info