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Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  4,590 ratings  ·  351 reviews
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 work since the international
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 10th 2009 by It Books (first published 2009)
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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,590 ratings  ·  351 reviews

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J. Kent Messum
I read this book years ago, but the current volatile political climate is making 'Emergency' more relevant today in a whole new way.

Neil Strauss is probably best known for writing 'The Game', but this is the book that comes up in conversations rather frequently for me. With the tagline “This book will save your life”, the very least it will do is get you thinking how to better prepare yourself against a statistically probable premature death during a catastrophe of some kind. A tough look at su
Elyse Walters
Nov 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was the 2nd book I read by Neil Srauss.

Its a story about a guy who couldn't change a light bulb, but attempts to be a more competent as a 'handy guy'.
There is a joke that runs in Jewish families (or their use to be) --about Jewish men: NONE of them could change a light bulb. (but that's another book)

NOTE: This book is not meant to be a survival manual. --Yet--its very entertaining. Neil is entertaining! He --(as a character in a fiction book) --is a complex-interesting character -who we se
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Nowhere as good as the Game or Dirt, and a very, very slow start (150 pages of musings over why this subject interests him), but when it gets going it really gets going. If you're a fan of secret spy stuff, conspiracy theory, and action movies, you'll love this book, but what I wasn't expecting was that it's strangely touching. By the time Strauss is learning to track people through the woods and find edible plants, you're really rooting for him to get in touch with his non-urban side. A very fa ...more
Dec 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting read, with the occasional great turn of phrase and often brutal honesty. He refers to those that believe people will act similarly to the children in "Lord of the Flies," "Fliesians," which made me laugh Found the effort to include the "white collar" survivalist plans of offshore accounts and other country havens interesting. The short breezy chapters made it extremely readable, but as a novel reader, I found it hindered continuity. The writing style is an interesting mix of serious ...more
Nick Lo
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Short version: I liked it. it's not a survival manual, it's a book about the changes in the author's life as he finds ways to tackle his sense of vulnerability and ill-preparedness to deal with a world gone bad.

I picked the book up in a charity shop for a couple of dollars, vaguely suspecting that it was the author who featured in the "How to be Jason Bourne" article on Tim Ferriss' blog (it is):

A few reviews on Amazon complained that the book wasn't reall
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A very dry read, but informative. If you're writing a story about survival during the end days, then this is a must-read.
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William Clay
Apr 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: instructional
The first half of the book is quite annoying. The author goes on a fair bit about many of the problems that America has and why it's a target of hatred for so many around the world. That understanding leads him to dedicate his entire life to getting ready to escape the US WTSHTF.
But when he actually gets going with learning stuff, it's a great fascinating read.

It is important to know how to start fire, how to escape from cuffs, what to do if you're a victim of a chemical weapons attack and how
Peter Derk
Nov 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Neil Strauss, probably most famous for his Motley Crue book the Dirt and his book about Pick-Up Artists, the Game, gets a little freaked out about the state of the world. Then he looks into it a little more and gets a lot freaked out, especially when he has to admit to himself that after a life lived in the city where a rolling blackout was the closest thing to the apocalypse so far, he is unprepared to survive any sort of calamity. So, throwing himself into his subject as usual, he decides to d ...more
Lukas Lovas
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another awesome book by Neil Strauss. I really like this author, because
a) his writing is engaging and real,
b) he writes about stuff that happens to interest me a lot and
c) he doesn't do things halfway.

The book documents his accumulating knowledge on the subject of "what if", the impact it had on his life, the way he dealt with it and so on. Information in this book was often new to me, it was original, interesting and very well put together.
All in all, definitely worth reading :)
Alejandro I Sanoja
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

Neil Strauss is doing both, and this book is a great example of that. Not only did a learn many valuable things for life, but I also had a lot of fun while doing so.

Strauss has the ability to make non-fiction look like fiction. What an amazing storyteller, able to combine education and entertainment in such a valuable way.

I thought curiosity was one of my strengths, that I'm all about growing and learning.
Jayson Virissimo
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a story about a neurotic, hedonistic, overspecialized, selfish, whiny, Blue Tribe journalist that, driven mostly by his own paranoia, becomes a competent and hardened, but also empathetic community hero. There's some useful info in this one too. For what it's worth, it inspired me to investigate joining the Community Emergency Response Team in my own home city.
Nov 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brain-food, favorites
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. The audible version is read by the author, a dry-witted New York Times music critic and self-proclaimed nerd who takes us on his journey of transformation from helpless urbanite totally reliant upon modern technologies and conveniences, to independent survivalist prepared to handle just about any doomsday scenario he can imagine. He is galvanized into action after a collective epiphany shakes him into realizing how dependent we are upon The System ...more
Mark Ruzomberka
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Emergency + The Game = How to be James Bond

Seriously Neil we get it you are now the real life James Bond. If only you were British. Your last book the game focused on how to meet women. This one is about driving motor-cycles and shooting guns at the same time. The only thing he still needs is a jet-pack. I mean one of his friends in the book has a submarine in Iceland.

This book really drew me in and I finished it in about a week reading it at lunch time every day. I got the first few sample chap
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Neil Strauss promises to teach us how to survive in the event of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, economic breakdown, riots, disease, and the general collapse of society as we know it. Well, Neil may not have noticed, but we've been attacked by terrorists, the economy is in the toilet, there are riots pretty much regularly, and the flu season comes and goes every winter. Yet America is thriving and there have been no bands of armed thugs roaming the countryside trying to steal your food. I ...more
Alec Rigdon
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was very charming, despite the subconscious fear-mongering. Strauss tells his journey to enlightenment in the world of survival in a funny and heartfelt manner while still packing tons of anecdotes and fun facts in. Emergency might not be the best read for someone who is easy concerned with the end of the world or disasters natural or man-made, but if you can handle the thought, it's a very interesting read.
Dec 12, 2013 added it
Reviewed at Point Blank and at Booklikes.
Jun 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Interesting book that is more memoir than how-to. Strauss interacts and ultimately befriends some of the most interesting survivalists out there. A lot of the information was new to me, and may someday help me. But I'm not quite ready to dig a bolt-hole in my back yard.
Taylor Banks
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
President ShitForBrains just got elected. Reading this again.
Scott Beck
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Nice examination of survivalism. I tend to agree with the conclusion that to be useful to yourself and others after an emergency you need to be useful to society as well.
Merrie Haskell
Less of a how-to and more of a memoir. Still, SOME how-to in it.
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
It was interesting to see how he changed through the book. Makes me want to do more (or something, anything really) to be prepared. Like the disaster/search and rescue classes and training.
Tati Dengo
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
First, disregard this book's marketing. As other reviewers warned, it is not a survival manual at all and I don't want to comment on whether I think it will save my life or not because I'm superstitious like that. Anyway, call this a memoir instead.

Emergency did answer one big question for me. If you're like me, and feel mildly concerned and inept after watching post-apocalyptic shows like The Walking Dead, and after hearing your friends' way too self-assured apocalypse survival plans and there
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't know how seriously to take this book, the author writes with a lot of humor and self-deprecation. But, it was informative and entertaining, and, I must say, I didn't see the ending coming. It chronicles the course of self-education the author put himself through over a period of a few years from a civilization dependent city dweller to someone capable of being completely self-sufficient if needed. While not everyone would agree with all of his choices, the concept of being more than 3 d ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is a slightly humorous, slightly paranoid journal of the author's adventures in a quest to be ready for any emergency, and to a degree resonates with my experiences, thoughts, and many conversations with friends within the same time period. He begins with the resources to spend a lot of money on training, attempting to pursue a second citizenship, etc. His girlfriend makes her sisters drive her everywhere, can't hold a job, etc. He seeks help and attends a course from the biggest egomaniac ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Neil is the guy I should be. :)
It is super smart of him to find a goal to learn something and then also at the same time write about it (teach it) which will double the learning. :)

Book is not so much practical as title would suggest - however it has inspired me to start thinking about this more (veteran) and will most likely book survival course soon and also look into citizenship - just for the fun of it.
Would love a PDF companion for practicals/references to the audiobook.
However - I reco
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very entertaining and thought provoking book. I randomly put this on my e-reader because I was intrigued by the title. I read just a little of it one day and was sucked in immediately. At times it is a little slow but he looks at preparing for WTSHTF from a wide variety of angles. It has made me consider things that I hadn’t previously in regards to disaster preparedness. I’m going to do my Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training at some point this year, I’m putting together ...more
Jason Larsen
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Strauss does a good job of telling stories throughout the book - it's basically telling his journey of how he began and ended up thinking about 'preparedness' in case of major events happening.

While there aren't many details that he shares along the way (there are some) about how to actually prepare, he provides many hints on where to find that information, or simple one-liners that you would want to jot down if you're interested in accruing that information.

Strauss' writing kept me engaged th
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
If you are someone who is just sort of beginning to think about preparing for the worst, this book will make you go over the deep end. I had many "Yes... YES... Oh my god, what am I thinking?" moments while reading this. Lots of good information, though this also sort of felt like the story of a person who has the disposable time and income to pursue some of the more extreme measures. And unfortunately, many measures described take a lot of time and a lot of money are feel just out of reach to t ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
The sub-title of this book is, "This book will save your life." Hard to imagine, unless you use it to swat a mosquito carrying a virus.

The good news is, this is a very fast read; I read it on a relatively short flight. The bad news is, it is as empty of meaning as a mediocre cheese danish. Said differently, I tried to list the things I'd learned from this book:

1. This is where the list is supposed to go. You've seen the phrase, "this page intentionally left blank?" Well, this list is intentional
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Neil Strauss is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Game, Rules of the Game, Emergency, and Everyone Loves You When You're Dead. He is also the coauthor of four other bestsellers--Jenna Jameson's How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, Mötley Crüe's The Dirt, and Marilyn Manson's The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, and Dave Navarro's Don't Try This at Home. He can be found at www.neilstrauss.c ...more
“We're just fragile machines programmed with a false sense of our own importance. And every now and then the universe sends a reminder that we don't really matter to it...” 33 likes
“We make fun of those we're most scared of becoming.” 11 likes
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