True North Blog

What are the Traits of a Survivor?

If anyone is looking for a last minute Christmas gift, then I have terrific recommendation.  One of the best all time books on the subject of survival is Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why? by Laurence Gonzales.

First published in 2004, Gonzales seeks to answer a classic question that has puzzled many of us for so long: Why does survival seem so unpredictable?  For example, why does only one out of a group of five in a lifeboat survive while the rest die?  Or, why does an experienced hunter die overnight, while, in worse conditions, a toddler survives many days?  Using a combination of physiological and psychological analysis, plus true-life case studies, Gonzales weaves a deceptively simple, yet powerful, explanation: Equipment, training, and experience, though helpful in a survival situation, are not decisive … It is what is in your brain and heart that counts.

One reason that Gonzales’ book is so good, and has become so influential, is that the principles of wilderness survival that he reveals apply to so many other stressful and demanding aspects of our lives, like a divorce, illness, or running a business.

In this video, Gonzales outlines what he believes are some of the personal traits that mark a survivor:

Gonzales has written several other books on the subject of survival, and he is also the author of the non-fiction book, Lucy, which is next on my reading list.  For more information about Laurence Gonzales, I encourage you to check out his website:

Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook and YouTube.

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