If you know anything about Neil Strauss or you’ve read his previous best-seller, The Game, then you might be caught off guard by the content of his latest book. Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life is, at its core, one man’s response to the uncertainty of modern times. The seemingly unshakable foundations of American life having been soundly shaken, no one would argue that the “system” appears less and less trustworthy by the minute. Sad to say, but the vast majority of us would be up a very stinky creek were find ourselves lacking in utilities, commercial convenience, or social controls. You know, anarchy.
Emergency is Strauss’s own memoir of metamorphosis. When the book begins, we meet the old Neil; he is an unabashed urbanite relying solely on take-out to provide his sustenance. Fast forward to the book’s close and, eight years later, new Neil could be dropped in the woods with a knife and a few basic supplies, fully prepared to survive indefinitely. In fact, if things go bad wrong, you’re best bets would be to be like Neil or be with Neil.
Though one could certainly view Emergency as an instructive text, its value as a man-must-read comes from the author’s thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking recollection. Strauss’s experiences (which began with a Death Cult Y2K sleep-over and a weekend in the Hamptons with some Billionaire pals) are relayed via his stupendously approachable mix of wit, self-deprecation, and stone cold honesty. His skills honed through years of journalistic reporting, Strauss offers an incredibly detailed insight into both the psychology and practicality of his emergency preparations.
Amazingly, and in spite of the gloom and doom that originally propelled Neil on his quest for self-sufficiency, he manages to meet some incredible characters who challenge his Fliesian mentality. It may sound cliche, but Strauss finds good reason to believe that the worst in circumnstances can bring out the best in people. Still, it might be best to get your B.O.B. packed and at the ready.