Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book Review - 100 Skills You'll Need for the End of the World (as We Know It)


100 Skills You'll Need for the End of the World (as We Know It)

By: Ana Maria Spagna
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Publication Date: May 2015
ISBN: 978-1612124568
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: June 21, 2015

Disease, a nuclear disaster, a terrorist attack...no matter the cause, if the world – as we know it – is altered irrevocably, there’s no doubt you’ll need certain skills to survive. And chances are you don’t have many of those skills...yet. This book will clue you in on what you need to know, before you need it, so you can be prepared for...er...not sure exactly what...

In a brief introduction, the author explains, “...One thing is certain: we don’t know when or if the world will end. But we also don’t know what the future may bring, and we can’t expect things to stay exactly as they are.” Whatever the cause, the author argues that changes brought about by a calamity will require humans to live closer to the land, and the skills required to do that have been lost by so many of us. Her list of 100 skills (and she suggest that the reader add to the list or come up with his/her own list) follows in alphabetical order, from animal husbandry to whittling.

Two pages of this compact book (5 x 7) are dedicated to each skill. One page has a picture, the other a description of the skill. Do not expect to be well versed in these skills after reading this book – there’s very little beyond a brief overview of the needed knowledge for each skill. A few, such as ‘Basic First Aid’ go into a bit more detail, “...keep the stitches a quarter inch apart…” (pg. 15) but I certainly wouldn’t want to attempt to stitch a wound after reading this book. Nor do I believe the author intended these overviews to be complete lessons in any topic. Rather, they are jumping off points for further research.

As I read through this book, I found myself wondering what its purpose was – to entertain, bring a laugh, or a serious look at things you might need to know should the world go haywire. There are serious skills listed such as shelter building and welding, but laughing? Sleeping? Really? It seemed that 100 Skills is a book that doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it an overview of survivalist skills or a quirky look at those who believe the world will end? If you’re looking for a gag gift or a silly, read-through-once and laugh book, you might want to consider this one. Otherwise, I’d skip it.

Quill says: If you really want to learn survival skills, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a 
somewhat fun, but relatively useless, overview of skills you may need, you might want to look at this title.