Book review: How to Stay Alive by Bear Grylls

IMG_5184I am currently reading books outside of my ‘comfort zone’. I have a belief that this is necessary for me to expand my creativity and world view. So, I borrowed ‘How to Stay Alive’ by Bear Grylls from my local, well-stocked, library (regular readers will know how much I love libraries – I am always promoting them).

S (Stop). T(Think). O(Observe). P(Plan)

I really enjoyed the book! I picked up some excellent tips on staying calm when under stress (it worked for Grylls when faced with a bear, so why wouldn’t it work for me delivering a presentation to senior people).


The book also helped me build confidence – the more I learnt about self-defence and surviving anything and everything (there are chapters on landing a helicopter, surviving desert heat, staying a life while stranded at sea, keeping warm, finding water and much more), the more self-assured I became. How cool is that!

Classic lines

cute-animal-comics-liz-climo-2-110The writing is accessible, informative and instructions are easy to follow. There are some classic lines which I found humorous (in a deadpan kind of way):

‘Parachuting is normally safe. When it goes wrong, the results are often fatal. But not always.’

‘I remember once taking Roger Federer out into the mountains and coming across an area of very deep snow. I actually tied tennis rackets to his feet and they did they job just fine.’

‘It might sound like simple advice, but you’re far more likely to be killed in the jungle by a falling branch than by a venomous snake. Most animals know what their regular food source is, and stick to it …  being bashed on the head by one of those is a pretty uncool way to die!’

‘If you have no other option, there is a palatal valve at the back of the crocodile’ mouth … if you can punch that, water will flood into its lungs. It’ll have to release you, or it will drown. (Note, however, that at this stage you are in big trouble.)’



I also learnt lots of stuff about self-defence (without weapons) and picked up some tips – which, may come in handy some day.

  1. Off-road driving is all about wheel traction – you can increase your wheel traction in most circumstances by lowering tyre pressure.
  2. You lose a lot of water digesting food. If water is scarce, don’t eat.
  3. Abseiling in a survival situation – loop your rope rather than tying it – it’s a precious resource and you want it back.
  4. Footwell mats are very effective to lay in front of your wheels if you’re stuck in the snow (or in loose sand or muddy terrain).
  5. If you do not have mosquito repellent rub mud onto any exposed area of skin … as it dries it will form a protective crust to stop the mosquitoes getting to your skin.
  6. Lost in a jungle – rivers lead to civilisation.
  7. Don’t camp too close to a river. Lots of people get killed every year doing this, swept away in a subsequent flash flood.
  8. If a croc is coming for you on land, run – you’re probably faster. And don’t zigzag.
  9. Running from a dog triggers its chase instinct – only do it if you’re being chased by several.
  10. A shark’s jaw exerts 20,000 kg of pressure per square inch. (Hmmm …)

After the reading the book I have enrolled myself in Krav Maga classes to develop my confidence and get fit!



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