The Disaster Diaries: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Apocalypse by Sam Sheridan

doomsday prepper

Just pretend for a minute that the worst has happened – there’s a major apocalyptic event that means you’re on your own. There’s no police, no government,  no food, water, or electricity. Are you prepared?

Sam Sheridan has a ridiculously impressive resume – MMA fighter, student of muay thai, farm hand, wildland firefighter, sailor, and the list goes on. But after becoming a parent, he suffered from insomnia and worried constantly about those never-ending disaster scenarios and whether or not he’s prepared to take care of himself and his family. The answer was to set out to learn whatever he could to be ready, just in case that day ever comes.

The post-apocalyptic world has become a really popular topic for movies, TV shows, and books over the past several years, and I think it makes everyone think “What would I do if I were in that situation?” Despite that, I’m sure not nearly enough people have actually taken steps to prepare for it. In my home, we lean on the “prepper” side – having extra food and water stored, having a bug out bag (or “go” bag), having batteries, candles, and more all set aside just in case something goes wrong. What I really liked about this book is that Sheridan realized that while all of that is well and good, there are skills you might need if the world is coming to an end, and he set out to learn what he could. This is NOT a how-to book. The Disaster Diaries is just about one guy’s quest to learn some things that might be useful if the shit ever hits the fan in a majorly catastrophic way, and it provides some really interesting insights along the way.

I really enjoyed this book, because Sheridan presented many angles that I never thought of and he did so with impressive references and research. It also made me want to do ALL THE THINGS. He goes on to tackle Olympic weightlifting, gun shooting, how to start a car without a key, hunting, knife-fighting, emergency medical care, and more. The start of each chapter starts with a little fictional glimpse into himself trying to keep his family alive in a variety of disaster scenarios, and each chapter ended with the skill he just discussed saving their asses. You wouldn’t think that learning how to stunt drive a car would be handy in a post-apocalyptic world, but it turns out it probably would be.

And for those of you thinking to yourself that this is all a bunch of crap that only paranoid people would worry about, I give you this nice tidbit from the last chapter:

“Preparing for the apocalypse is essentially about walking the line between paranoia and self-reliance. To me, the definition of paranoia is a little like the definition of addiction. If something is destructive to your life – takes your job, alienates friends and loved ones – then it’s an addiction (or paranoia). If it makes your life better, it’s not. By keeping my preparation mostly in the arena of self-reliance and knowledge (as opposed to the “my fallout shelter has four-and-a-half-foot-thick walls” arena), I have only made me life better. I’ve enjoyed learning new skills for dealing with new scenarios – and the confidence that comes with it.”

Sarah Says: 4.5 stars



  1. This sounds interesting. I’ve been thinking about this topic lately because of Revolution and about how unprepared we are for a possible apocalyptic event both as a society and as individuals. I think most people are just burying their heads into sand, hoping something like this never happens, It’s scary to think about it and maybe we’re too lazy to start doing something, such as learning skills. I especially like your quote describing the distinction between paranoia and self-reliance in this aspect. I think I have to add this one to my to-read list. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Thanks! I agree, a lot of people just ignore the possibility that something horrible could happen. And if something like this doesn’t happen in your lifetime then that’s great, but it doesn’t hurt to prepare just in case!


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