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Publisher's Summary

Have you ever wondered how you could possibly survive a physical assault or imagined what you would do if someone followed you in a dark parking lot? Most likely you have - it’s human nature to wonder. Most of us never get past those theoretical questions because we just don’t want to think about it. But what if we did? In Survival Mentality: The Psychology of Staying Alive, you’ll learn how to prepare now to give yourself the very best chance of surviving a life-threatening emergency.  

When we hear about someone surviving a great challenge, we often hear that the person “rose to the occasion”. But in fact, psychologists find that people do not rise to the occasion. In moments of terror, people revert to their lowest level of training and preparation. Knowing that, the trick is to bring up your “lowest level” by continually improving your training and preparation, practicing for survival now, and building the resilience that will sustain you in times of adversity.   

In this course, you’ll learn to identify and strengthen specific psychological factors to give yourself the best possible chance of survival, no matter what type of critical incident you face. Among other elements, Professor Zarse discusses the importance of internal locus of control, identifying and acting on instincts, managing emotions, and understanding the power of your capabilities.   

In Survival Mentality: The Psychology of Staying Alive, you’ll not only explore survival skills and strategies, but you’ll also hear the stories of individuals who used those techniques to survive real-world situations. Through the details of their stories, Professor Zarse helps you identify the psychological factors that served them best.  

Many of the survivors that are discussed in this course had no specific survival training, but their life experiences had helped them build significant psychological strengths. These survivors had what it took. In this course, you’ll learn that you, too, can build what it takes to survive in a crisis. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2020 The Great Courses (P)2020 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about Survival Mentality: The Psychology of Staying Alive

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Fabulous course for everyone!

As a veteran and a first responder for many years, I found the content of this course to be very valuable and refreshing in its presentation. The course is presented in an easily understood manner yet covers many complex topics/situations. As a life long learner I thoroughly enjoyed the material presented in this course and I will employ many of the strategies and techniques for the rest of my life. Well Done Dr. Zarse.

7 people found this helpful

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Survive. To Thrive

straight Talk...No chaser. when you feel cornered, under physical, verbal or spiritually attacked, be prepared. When you feel unworthy, defeated, cornered, it's the resilience that gets you through. Never, ever, ever give up. This concise book with real life examples of folks overcoming adversity that works.

5 people found this helpful

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Good advice

This series of lectures is interesting and contains good advice that can help in a survival situation. The lecturer has a grating voice. Also, a lot of the points were repetitive. The survival stories are interesting and informative. I think this is well worth listening to, despite the minor irritations.

4 people found this helpful

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Highly sourced and incredibly practical

This is an excellent course with very practical insights into the mentality of survival both physically but also emotionally that can be applied to many aspects of life, business and relationships. I was intrigued by the topic and was hopeful that it could add insights into work I am doing in the area of Natural Language Processing and Sustainability of Foundations, Endowments and Family Offices- the course did not disappoint. This highly sourced and incredibly well-researched course added excellent insights into the work I am doing around group dynamics. In particular, the orientation of Internal vs. External Locus of Control is a powerful insight with many practical applications. I highly recommend this course and found it to be well worth the time and an excellent value.

3 people found this helpful

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A truly great course, from the Great Courses!

The title of the course does not do justice on the insights and wisdom it gives to the listener.
It is labeled a psychology course, but, it is a course that touches on philosophy, history and the innate desire by all human beings, not only to physically survive, but the challenge of living with dignity, courage, decency and character.
Professor Sparse, is a master of her subject, and an outstanding, amazing teacher.
Highly, recommended!!

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing listen! Especially right now

I love the terms she uses and examples. This really motivates and validates a lot of things I practice. Thank you right now we need encouragement most all and this book takes your head out of that place of defeat. Love it love. Going to share with my kids 17 and 19.

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Great information for survival-minded people

This is an excellent lecture series with real life stories, examples dealing with the psychology of survival. I think this course should be a must for any law enforcement. firefighter or military personnel. It is great preparation for anyone. Thank you Dr. Zarse.

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A little repetitive but otherwise interesting

A little repetitive but otherwise interesting. I enjoyed it. The narrator was easy to understand.

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cant stand the narrator.

I just could not get past how this course was performed. the way the instructor talks is distracting and distracts from potentially useful information.

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Good stuff

There is a lot going on here so if this review is a little scattered that is why. Also, I can see this as being a difficult topic to cover in a lecture. I have received several levels of "survival training" from basic first aid to much more in depth disaster contingency and the US military. I have also been in a few situations where that training was used. There were a couple of chapters where I felt that I had just had a long overdue debrief of what I had experienced. What was interesting about this lecture was that the author addresses the psychological aspect of having to use that training, something not addressed, at least in depth, in the training processes I received. A definite bonus with this lecture is the PDF and the recommended exercises. Without deliberately putting yourself in harm's way I can see how they can help you out.

I think the lectures were well organized with the lecturer telling a short story of how the topic of the chapter was applied to a survival situation, then the topic is introduced, and the two are related to each other as the topic is described. It seemed like most chapters were about an hour long making it easy to break into small chunks.

As for the performance, I really wanted to give the lecturer higher marks as I'm sure she knows her topic and is probably a lot of fun to hear in person, but her voice just didn't project well in the speakers I was listening through. Because I used several devices, I think it was probably her. Sorry about that.

Overall, I recommend this. Listen, do the exercises, have fun. It's better than getting shot, lost in the woods, or stranded in the desert.

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  • Sara
  • 08-07-20

Good but not quite what I expected

This was interesting but I thought there'd be a little more specific information on what an average citizen might to do to survive in certain situations. Was really mostly interesting stories of people in dangerous jobs surviving terrifying ordeals along with advice on making sure you are prepared mentally and physically for any unforeseen danger. I don't feel I learnt anything valuable on survival. However I guess the clue is in the title.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Forbes
  • 08-09-22

Of some use.

Wonder if this was sponsored by recruiters for US military and police force? Got about 3/4 through and that was enough. Some useful titbits but the subtext was a bit much for me.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-18-21

Work to Do

Good series of tools to make yourself more resilient when encountering unprecedented events and emergencies. Zarse delivers an interesting series of anecdotes and professional observations about how to mitigate risk and respond well. I enjoyed the presentation throughout and I will definitely be trying to be more mindful of my emotions when encountering challenging situations.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-01-21

good, with defects in logic

First, I hate it when in a lecture the lecturer says " Let's take the movie X as an example". I don't watch movies often, and don't like De Niro at all. And frankly, I think most movies are stupid. I think the lecturer cheapens herself here by making commonplace examples. The real life ones are of course another thing entirely.

Also, her logic is often commonplace and fallacious, even though, ironically, she think it's other people who are fallacious: she arrives at the dim conclusion that " people who are more afraid of plane crashes more than car crashes, use availability heuristics, because of what is more memorable". Or some rubbish like that. Now, her argument is weak and commonplace: just because one is more afraid of plane crashes than car crashes, doesn't mean it is a fallacy, or some kind of faulty logic. This I can quickly illustrate: anyone with a brain thicker than two short planks, would assume that if they go trough a plane accident, it would most probably be far more fatal than a car accident, for some quite obvious reasons: on a plane, you are strapped on a huge bullet zooming in the sky at what, 15 times more the speed of a car travelling at speed? this means that it would be unlikely that you'd make it alive, unless you can also beat the force of gravity, since your body is going to be exposed by several forces acting at once, whereas in a car you are on the ground: you might make it alive, or you might get out of the car with a just a few bruises, or whatever. Does that seems the same thing? although car crashes are more COMMON, it does not mean car crashes are more FATAL, which is what people are afraid of, with good reasons.

I myself do not fly. I think there is something bizarre in knowing that the above is a real possibility (how many times it has happened before? what makes you think it could not happen to YOU? ) and yet think " well, I am going to fly anyways, because all these people, after all, are flying too, and some of them did so hundreds of times". If anything, is THIS heuristic that is fallacious.

Also, the lecturer continuously mentions "internal locus of control" and asks you if "you look at the world positively or negatively" I don't remember now the exact words, but her argument is that if you are one of these fools who says "I can do anything", then you are on the right track.

Her thinking is very commonplace and bland....she should take the courses available on logic and argumentations, because most of her arguments are bland, weak, and common.

The course is still worth having, if nothing else because the topic is interesting, although the lecturer is not (I don't mean the delivery, etc, I just look for information, not entertainment). You don't have to expect a course to be perfect to still learn something. I just hope that this valuable topic will be taken up by a lecturer who took the time to educate himself in the practice of reasoning.

And please, enough of these dumb examples about movies like The Matrix, etc....let's mention examples from the literature, or even better from real events, Robert De Niro puts me to sleep and I don't like these stupid movies at all.

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  • Phil
  • 12-15-20

Worth listening to

Great course. Well structured and presented, with genuine pointers to help in critical incidents, and everyday life