The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook

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by Joshua Piven

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Danger! It lurks at every corner. Volcanoes. Sharks. Mountain lions. Quicksand. Terrorists. The pilot of the plane blacks out and it's up to you to land the jet. What do you do? The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook is here to help survive the most harrowing predicaments: jam-packed with how-to, hands-on, step-by-step, instructions on everything you need to know…  See more details below


Danger! It lurks at every corner. Volcanoes. Sharks. Mountain lions. Quicksand. Terrorists. The pilot of the plane blacks out and it's up to you to land the jet. What do you do? The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook is here to help survive the most harrowing predicaments: jam-packed with how-to, hands-on, step-by-step, instructions on everything you need to know fast--from detecting a bomb to delivering a baby in the back of a cab.

Providing frightening and funny real information, this indispensable guide is the definitive handbook for those times when life takes a sudden turn for the worse. The essential companion for a perilous age. Because you never know...

About the Authors:
Joshua Piven, a resident of Philadelphia, is a computer journalist and freelance writer, and is a former editor at Ziff-Davis Publishing. He has been chased by knife-weilding motorcycle bandits, stuck in subway tunnels, been robbed and mugged, has had to break down doors and pick locks, and his computer crashes regularly.

David Borgenicht, a resident of Philadelphia, is a writer and editor who has written several nonfiction books. He has ridden in heavily-armored vehicles in Pakistan, stowed away on Amtrak, been conned by a grifter, broken into several houses (each for good reason), and has "borrowed" mini-bottles from the drink cart on Delta.

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Editorial Reviews

How many book jackets have you seen bearing the words, "This book can save your life!"? Finally a book that really, no kidding, could.
USA Today

Those with deep-seated fears about killer bees, quicksand, mountain lions and sharks will enjoy The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht , a handy little book for the extremely prepared that is climbing the best-seller list.

Just so you know right away, the first rule of survival is Do Not Panic. The last rule is Learn to Return. There are a lot of rules in between. This handbook tells how to get out of 40 bad situations, "pretty much a scary scenario for everyone," Piven says. Experts were consulted. The longest scenario (six pages) tells how to land a small passenger plane in case the pilot can't.

Everything signals seriousness. The cover (yellow-orange like traffic signs, school buses, No. 2 pencils) conveys caution, safety. The language is plain (scant adjectives) and formal (no contractions). The black-and-white drawings were inspired by that survival bible, The Boy Scout Handbook. This book is serious right down to the warning in the beginning: "DO NOT ATTEMPT TO UNDERTAKE ANY OF THE ACTIVITIES DESCRIBED IN THIS BOOK YOURSELF."

This is a no-nonsense, no-fooling-around guide with straightforward information. But fear not: The authors have enough perspective to acknowledge the campy appeal of an armchair guide for the anxious. "We thought it would be funny to people," Borgenicht says.

They were, he says, "inspired by pop culture as much as by paranoia - most of the scenarios we talk about were a TV or a movie scene."

Sharks, the authors say, scared both of them to pieces in childhood.

Blame it on Jaws.

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
In The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook (1999), Piven, Borgenicht and Worick taught readers how to escape from quicksand and jump from bridges. It's relatively simple to calculate a shark's actions, they say, but human nature is much less predictable. Here, they tell single listeners how to get away from "Mr. or Ms. Wrong." Punctuated with cheesy synthesizer music akin to a demo on a Casio keyboard, Hamilton first gives a disclaimer "breaking a heart is one thing; breaking the law is another" then, in a matter-of-fact style, she tells how to deal with the hazards of romance from bars and bedrooms to airplane lavatories. As if reading from a driving manual, she tells listeners how to remove difficult articles of clothing, fake an orgasm, deal with a drunken date, handle a bad kisser and deliver a pick-up line. Wondering if your date is an axe murderer? Find out if he was sexually abused as a child and has an obsession with matches. Not sure of the gender of your date? Look at his or her hand and be suspicious of baggy clothing. Need to sober up fast? Avoid aspirin and drink lots of water. Although much of this advice sounds silly, the authors' suggestions are completely serious, and Hamilton delivers them that way, e.g., straightforwardly explaining how to spot breast implants by checking out Based on the Chronicle paperback. (Jan.)n Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
Expertly read by Laura Hamilton, this amusing and, at times, scary book follows the general outline of the other "worst-case" titles. Experts offer insights on many common and uncommon disasters that can occur when people date and enter into, or fall out of, relationships. This tape is definitely geared toward consenting adults (how to have sex in small spaces), yet it also offers practical information for someone just entering or reentering the dating scene (how to deal with a bad kisser; what to do if your credit card is declined). Ethics sometimes takes a back seat to practical considerations: for instance, searching your lover's belongings to determine if he/she is married. While certainly the tone of the book makes for humorous listening, a lot of the advice is very sensible and covers issues not easily found in other resources. One won't be able to create a healthy relationship using this audio; one will gain insight on how to slide out of a bad one. Recommended for public libraries where the series is popular. - Kathleen A. Sullivan, Phoenix P.L. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Magazine Editors People
Chances are you'll never have to extract your arm from the jaws of an alligator. But if you do, remember this: wacking the beast in the nose is the best way to get him to open up. Hence the appeal of this guide, which gives step-by-step instructions on crucial, if seldom encountered, challenges ranging from treating frostbite to landing a pilotless plane.

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Product Details

Listen & Live Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
From Hit Websites Series
Edition description:
Unabridged, 2 CDs
Product dimensions:
6.68(w) x 5.22(h) x 0.45(d)

Read an Excerpt

Because poisonous snakes can be difficult to identifyand because some nonpoisonous snakes have markings very similar to venomous ones-the best way to avoid getting bitten is to leave all snakes alone. Assume that a snake is venomous unless you know for certain that it is not.

1)Wash the bite with soap and water as soon as you can.
2)Immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart. This will slow the flow of the venom.
3)Get medical help as soon as possible. A doctor should treat all snakebites unless you are willing to bet your life that the offending snake is nonpoisonous. Of about eight thousand venomous bites a year in the U.S., nine to fifteen victims are killed. A bite from any type of poisonous snake should always be considered a medical emergency. Even bites from nonpoisonous snakes should be treated professionally, as severe allergic reactions can occur. Some Mojave rattlesnakes carry a neurotoxic venom that can affect the brain or spinal cord, causing paralysis.
4)Immediately wrap a bandage tightly two to four inches above the bite to help slow the venom if you are unable to reach medical care within thirty minutes. The bandage should not cut off blood flow from a vein or artery. Make the bandage loose enough for a finger to slip underneath.
5)If you have a first aid kit equipped with a suction device, follow the instructions for helping to draw venom out of the wound without making an incision. Generally, you will need to place the rubber suction cup over the wound and attempt to draw the venom out from the bite marks.


  • Do not place any ice or cooling element on the bite; this will make removing the venom with suction more difficult.
  • Do not tie a bandage or a tourniquet too tightly. If used incorrectly, a tourniquet can cut blood flow completely and damage the limb.
  • Do not make any incision on or around the wound in an attempt to remove the venom-there is danger of infection.
  • Do not attempt to suck out the venom. You do not want it in your mouth, where it might enter your bloodstream.

Unlike poisonous snakes, pythons and boas kill their prey not through the injection but by constriction; hence these snakes are known as constrictors. A constrictor coils its body around its prey, squeezing it until the pressure is great enough to kill.
Since pythons and boas can grow to be nearly twenty feet long, they are fully capable of killing a grown person, and small are even more vulnerable. The good new is that most pythons will strike and then try to get away, rather than consume a full-grown human.
1) Remain still. This will minimize constriction strength, but a python usually continues constricting well after the prey is dead and not moving.
2) Try to control the python's head and try to unwrap the coils, starting from whichever end is available.


  • Do not try to get a closer look, prod the snake to make it move, or try to kill it.
  • If you come across a snake, back away slowly an give it a wide berth: snakes can easily strike half their body length in an instant, and some species are six feet or longer.
  • When hiking in an area with poisonous snakes, always wear thick leather boots and long pants.
  • Keep to marked trails.
  • Snakes are cold-blooded and need the sun to help regulate their body temperature. They are often found lying on warm rocks or in other sunny places.

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What People are saying about this

Jean Heine
The book is somewhat tongue-in-cheek but includes some helpful advice you hope you'll never need.

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