Last night I finished Neil Strauss’ new book Emergency so I thought I’d write a review.
The book was not what I expected.
Let me back up a second. As you know I greatly like Neil’s book The Game about the secret underground of Pick Up Artists. Most people say it is about how to pick up women. Really it isn’t. It’s about his experience living in the world of pickup artists and becoming one. But along the way you learn some of the basic structure and technique.
Emergency is to survivalism, what The Game is to pick up.
Despite the subtitle, “This book may save your life”, it is unlikely to…unless it inspires you to go on the same journey Neil did. There isn’t a lot of technique in it, probably less than in The Game. Most of the actual technique is in the comics between chapters. I do want to try using a soda can to unlock a Masterlock.
So if you don’t go into the book expecting a survival manual, is it a fun read?
Mmmm….that’s a tough one, but I think it would be a good read for a lot of people. But some won’t make it through the first section. Let me explain.
Turns out left wing wackos can become just as attracted to survivalism as right wing wackos. Basically the book starts with Neil becoming paranoid as a result of the Bush administration, and ends with a party in a foreign country because Obama was elected.
If America is becoming a totalitarian/oppressive/fascist/socialist country, – both sides of the political fence believe this is happening, just in different ways – then the obvious solution is to move to another country. But when I ask myself where to go I can’t find a good answer.
Neil searches for one and finds it. By applying for citizenship on the island of St Kitts, ultimately becoming a duel citizen.
You can see how many survivalism orient people would find this disturbing, myself included. Abandoning America for another country?
I’m not going to go more down this path because I don’t want you to think I’m negative just because of the Neil’s politics.
So after searching for another country to run to, Neil starts wanting to learn skills to survive here, and to me that was where the book started getting good. He ends up getting lots training in various places in everything from guns, to tracking, wilderness survival, urban evasion, to becoming an EMT.
This is where a survivalist can learn from this book.
Sometimes I think most survivalist start with guns, stockpiles, bugging out and end there. If you got 10,000 rounds of ammo for all 10 of your guns you’re ready to survive the apocalypse. Since Neil doesn’t come from gun culture, he takes a more practical approach we could all learn from.
One thing I want to do is go through the book and make a list of all the skills and training he ended up getting.
In The Game you learn that to some extent pickup is about personal development. A guy has to change and grow in order to become the kind of person who is interesting to women. Neil carries that into survivalism.
He becomes the kind of person who will survive.
That to me is the theme of the book. How he must change in order to become a survivor. And he ultimately learns that you aren’t going to survive on your own. More than that, once you become a survivor, you will become drawn to being a servant. Or to use survivalists favorite metaphor, you become a sheep dog.
If you can get past the politics, and there is a lot to learn about just how controlling our government has become in that section, Emergency is a good book about an interesting journey. Its not a survival manual by any stretch of the imagination, so do go in looking for that.