Early in David’s Urban Survival course, he teaches us an important lesson about the mental and psychological aspects of survival. Having the will to survive is an important topic for those just starting out (as well as all of us). Highly trained and equipped professionals have perished while inexperienced and unequipped novices have survived, in the same disaster scenario. I’d like to recommend a book along those lines, “Deep Survival”, by Laurence Gonzales.


The author explores the question of why some people survive disasters while others perish. A plane crashes in a rainforest. Several adults sit down and wait to die, deeming the situation hopeless; but a young girl, with no survival training or equipment, survives for days while walking out. David’s course makes great points regarding the will to survive. This book is a supplement that can also help to strengthen your own mental fortitude and will to survive. This can be applied to daily life, natural disaster, lost in the wilderness, or TEOTWAWKI situations.

The book also makes an important point about Situational Awareness: no matter how many times you’ve gone down that river, or skied that slope, (or even gone out to get your mail) you’ve never done it on this day, under these exact environmental and societal conditions. Many an experienced outdoors person has met their fate because when they went out, their mental picture was of “all the other times they’ve safely done it before”. They assumed and mentally pictured the same for that day and failed to see new signs of pending danger. Beware of “mental templates” that can cloud your observation. Always be aware. Always respect the forces of nature and its ability to change powerfully. Today is not the past. New forces may be at play (weather, people, animals, water levels, social unrest, etc.) that have not previously been a part of a very familiar situation, journey, hike, or task. Observe your surroundings and the interacting forces that are at play “in the now”; as if you are experiencing even a familiar situation for the first time.

This is a book that I will reread periodically.