Coffee and good book

Literature review – How to survive by John Hudson

How to Survive: Lessons for Everyday Life from the Extreme World

How to Survive: Lessons for Everyday Life from the Extreme World

Okay so this isn’t an archery related book but I was curious about this book when I saw it advertised a few months back. I had been a fan of John Hudson after first seeing him a series called Survive That and then on an episode of Ed Stafford series: First man out. Nicknamed the Professor by his fellow presenters on Survive That. He comes across as a most capable individual who uses his very calm head to survive what ever situation he finds himself in.

John Hudson Bio image

I have to say the book was not a disappointment, as I found it a very easy read and strangely relaxing to read at times too. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen me post about sitting under a tree with a cup of coffee reading the book, whilst waiting for a group of students to arrive for their archery lesson.
Unlike other survival books it is not technical or heavy in content on how to light a fire or build a shelter. Actually to be completely accurate the appendix at the back does give a great breakdown of how to plan and start a fire, with the second one detailing igloo construction. So there are some survival techniques.
Instead of focusing on techniques, it focuses on the mindset of the survivor. Nor is the books an autobiography of Johns life or a guide to survival technique which John is an expert, but something I think, no feel is potentially far more useful. It explores survival stories and at the end of each chapter summaries elements with the last chapters looking at how we can apply strategies to modern life.
I think because of this I found it a really good read and a book I have gone back to, to reread parts and chapters, which I think is what John intended when he wrote the book. I have found myself making notes from his summaries on more than one occasion. One of the things I quite like is his survival triangle Hope, Plan and Work.

Survival triangle

I feel he wants you to read it and reflect on the content, applying the knowledge. It has certainly made me think about things and how ideas might be applied.
For those interested here are the details. My copy is a hard back, I’m afraid I don’t know if a paper back version is out
Title: How to Survive: Lessons for Everyday Life from the Extreme World
Author: John Hudson
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN10: 1509833560
ISBN13: 978-1509833566
I think this is a great stocking filler or maybe a survival guide for the festive season, so well done Professor.
Thanks for reading.
PS the next article on Target Panic will be out in a couple of days I just wanted to get this out as I thought it might be a good Christmas present

Literature Review – My Outdoor Life by Ray Mears

Ray Mears - My Outdoor Life

Ray Mears – My Outdoor Life

As many of you will know I normally write reviews of archery related books, but this was a birthday gift and since Ray Mears is well known for being an outdoors enthusiast I thought I would include his book here. Some of you the UK readers may have caught his recent TV series exploring France’s wilder parts. Anyway I hope no one objects to me including it here.
The copy of the book I have is over 350 pages, a paperback published by Hodder & Stoughton (www.hodder.co.uk) for those interested the ISBN 978-1-444-77821-2
It covers his life from early childhood and the development of his desire to learn about woodland skills, to his involvement with television and his numerous expeditions taking him to the four corners of the globe. I wonder how many passports he’s gone through in his time?
Included in the book is his account of a helicopter crash that nearly cost his life along with members of his film crew. I can’t help but think how lucky they were to survive.
This wasn’t the first book by him I’ve read, that being The Real Heroes of Telemark, which if you have a chance I would highly recommend.
I found this book a very easy and engaging read, written in a manner that encourages you to imagine him talking to you, possibly reminiscing on past adventures and trips, over a shared campfire. I feel it gives a far greater insight into the man who many will know from his television series or bushcraft books. It goes some way to exploring what has shaped his life, from early judo lessons, on to the expeditions in Africa, all providing a greater level of detail than I was expecting. It is a very brave person who can open themselves up and discuss their feelings and beliefs in this way, being both honest and open, whilst not fishing for compliments or favour. I feel this is very apparent where he writes of the loss of his first wife and the turmoil that engulfed him.

Ray Mears inside the book

Ray Mears inside the book

One thing I found of interest was his analysis of how TV documentary makers have changed from when he started and now. How they afford less time to expeditions, expecting filming to be completed in far less time than in the past. Maybe this explains why some modern documentaries feel as though they are lacking in depth. Could this be a reflection of the speed we now are forced to live our lives at. Expecting fast facts and data?
Overall I’ve enjoyed the book and have little doubt that I won’t reread it from time to time.
To give it a rating almost feels wrong as though rating the man and his achievements which I am sure are not yet ended. In fact he has just completed a new series on UK television. For that very reason I’m going to give a 9/10 as I’m sure he’s got more stories and adventures to come.
Thanks for reading