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Survival +

Projecting the Future for Civil Society

I’m slowly whittling my way through the pile of great books on my desk, I haven’t done a book review for a while, so here goes.

Survival + is 390 pages of well reasoned thoughts on the economy, resource depletion, climate change and how these things are likely to impact your household, communities and the nation (in this case, most definitely written for a US audience, but valuable for anyone to read).

I like to think that I’m a pretty discerning reader on a couple of levels:

  1. I don’t like lame arguments
  2. I cringe at editorial errors, and
  3. I enjoy to read and think, so give me your best.

So, evaluating Survival + against these generally meets my reading criteria on points 1 and 3, but gets barely gets a passing grade for the text layout, spelling and grammatical errors and other editorial oversights – and for that reason, there are friends of mine who I really wouldn’t recommend this book to, because I don’t want to hear them complain about these issues.

Saying that, if you can get over the text layout, you’ll find the writings of a rather brilliant mind. Now, I was prepared for this, as the author is a blogger at www.oftwominds.com, and his interpretation of current events is plausible to say the least.

The title is somewhat misleading for those who are thinking it means stocking up on canned goods and ammunition or learning how to “survive” in the wilderness, instead, the key lies in the subtitle: “Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation”. This is a book about economics, predictions of future economic states and ways to “structure” your life, your society and ultimately even your country to maximize the opportunities for success as the existing system of bureaucracy funded by debt-laden economic policies falters and potentially devolves. Basically, think of the book as guide on “how to think objectively”.

The picture of a Swiss Army Knife on the cover reminds me of my first knife as a kid, when I became a cub-scout. The scout motto “Be Prepared” has clear implications for society as we attempt to understand what exactly is supporting the massive savior-state economy we occupy. Some people might find it easy to block out the bad news, or believe the passifying statements that “it” couldn’t happen to us.

The last line of the book, the Author’s signature offers an insight into the man who wrote it, “Charles Hugh Smith, citizen and taxpayer.” That about sums up why he wrote the book. he doesn’t view himself as being above the mess of middle class economics, he has just foreshadowed a future that most people cannot fathom. If you don’t see that the problems we face are bordering on insurmountable, I’d recommend several other books before tackling this one*, however, if you are looking for some of the most drilled down detailed insight into where our society is heading and you already “get” the big picture, find a copy of this book and challenge yourself to plan a future for your family and community.

* Book recommendations:

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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