Chris Abraham

Monday, May 26, 2008

In Support of I Will Not Be Broken by Jerry White

A big part of what my firm, Abraham Harrison LLC, does is online outreach and blogger relations. We’re doing our first book promotion campaign for our client, Survivor Corps, and Jerry White’s new book, I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis, and we have been having a lot of fun and plenty of success. We are very proud and excited by our work on this campaign. Here are a bunch of the blog posts that we have been able to collect over the last few weeks of active campaigning of people and bloggers who have chosen to be responsive to our blogger promotion in the form of blog and forum posts:

Carey from Parenting Tales is planning to write a review of I Will Not Be Broken, according to he post Just Call Me Critic:

I will also be reviewing a book from Survivor Corps co-founder as he writes about what he has learned from his personal struggles in life and how he was able to turn his tragedy into triumph.

Jennifer, The Army Wife blogs about Survivor Corps, Jerry White’s organization, in a post titled Survivor Corps:

One of their founders, Jerry White, has recently written a book entitled I will Not Be Broken. I’m lucky enough to be receiving a copy of it from Survivor Corps, and I’ll be posting a review of it when I’m finished. It talks about how to deal with adversity, and the ups and downs that life throws us all too often, and I know we can ALL benefit from some advice on that subject!

Ilori Olalekan revived a blog partially based on excitement over I Will Not Be Broken over on Parenting Cares in the post Dealing With Life Crises:

Life crises are unavoidable experiences which everyone of us must pass through. It is not to be bargained. These experiences though differing from one person to another is at the same time very similar in nature. This is why sharing ones experiences with another is of great help during these critical times, cause it infuses the courage and strength to bear the crises. Based on this truth mentioned above, I will like to introduce a book written by Jerry White, co-founder of Survivor Corps;”I will Not Be Broken Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis“. This book is aimed at helping us overcome life crises.

Outwitting crisis is a blog post about the interview that Guy Kawasaki did with Jerry White of Survivor Corps over on Angel 4 Angels:

We may have all faced or are facing crisis in our lives, in varying degrees. Some of us may have survived it, others may have given in. But there is always a lot to learn from those who have suffered unimaginably but triumphed by sheer grit and self will. Excerpts from an interview Guy Kawasaki had with Jerry White, whose life changed in 1984 after he lost one leg to that lethal litter called landmine. He later co-founded Survivor Corps and went on to share the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.

Stephen Hershey of Reality Sandwich covered Survivor Corps and I Will Not Be Broken in the blog post Reframing Survival:

Jerry White, landmine survivor and cofounder of Survivor Corps, shares his own healing process while advising those who are suffering from tragedy in I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis. White seeks to turn “tragedy into triumph,” encouraging victims and their families to face facts, choose life, reach out, get moving, and give back. Voices include Lance Armstrong, Princess Diana, and Elie Weisel. The first chapter is available for download.

Deborah Evens over at Paravanes: Christian Meditations writes about Jerry White’s book, I Will Not Be Broken, in a post called No Middle Ground: I Will Not Be Broken:

After reading White’s five steps to overcoming, I realized there is no middle ground in recovery and reclaiming. Either you forever live as a shadow of your former self, or you emerge to become greater, more lovingly creative, and stronger. If you think you’re on the middle ground, you’re in shadow land. Perhaps this is what the Apostle Paul referred to when he asserted “…in all these things, we are more than conquerors…” (Romans 8:37). Properly understood (meaning from God’s point of view), we can not only survive our LAEs, we can “more than conquer” them.

Victor Kaonga of the blog NDAGHA writes about survivorship and Jerry White’s 5 Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis:

Jerry White, a cofounder of Survivor Corps, an organization that helps victims of war and terror. Our mission, and my passion, is to help survivors heal and get on with their lives. Sounds simple, but in many places where we work, the idea of overcoming doesn’t always resonate.

This sounds to be a very promising book. I should admit that though I have not read the whole book (I am under extreme pressure to survive writing…-will disclose later), I sense the book has inspiring stories that would give someone some needed strength or perspective on life as we survive.

Of course for me I wish the book clearly advocated for God’s help in life because human strength alone is not adequate. I strongly believe that survivorship is not complete without God and in any case our simple survivorship is simply a foretaste of what we really need to be. We need to be thriving and not surviving.

Scott Goodson write about the Interview that Jerry White did over on Guy Kawasaki’s blog on his blog, Scott Goodson’s Writings in his post, Five Steps For Overcoming a Life Crisis:

Jerry White has recently published an extraordinary book (entitled “I will not be broken”) which I have ordered on Amazon tonight. He is the co-founder of Survivor Corps (formerly Landmine Survivors Newwork). His changed in 1984 when he lost his leg in a landmine explosion while visiting Israel. After this experience he has championed the cause of survivorship and became a leader in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. In 1997 he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Jody Williams for his efforts. He recently published a book called I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis. Guy Kawasaki has a wonderful posting with an interview with Jerry today.

Kathi mentions I Will Not Be Broken over on her blog in a post entitled Monday Potpourri of Things to Pass On:

I received an email about a book that looked interesting, if you want to find out more about it, it’s called I Will Not Be Broken : Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis by Jerry White. I’m looking forward to reading it and will let you know what I think when I finish my copy.

Karine found I Will Not Be Broken over at Guy Kawasaki’s blog and mapped it to surviving entrepreneurial failure — and how to take that feeling of being a failure and the victimhood associated and turn it around and realize that just because you have a failed experience doesn’t — and shouldn’t — paint you as a failure — in a post called Surviving a failed project:

I read an excellent post from Guy Kawasaki’s blog, How to change the world. The post was an interview with Jerry White, the co-founder of Survivor Corps. The interview focused on the art of survival. How do you go on after a tragedy, how do you move away from that event?

It made me think about the aura that failure can give you. When you project fails, you can surrender to the failure or move on, determined to make the next project a success. You can also choose to become a victim of that failure, a let it taint the next project with defeatism.

The Interview that Jerry White did over on Guy Kawasaki’s blog on his blog really resonated with Shane over at What Leadership Demands in a post called Survival:

Of all the articles and stories I read this week this one stuck with me. I am fascinated by how much of what Jerry White has learned through is own personal tragedy translates to all of us and how we go through life.

At some point we are all confronted with a “life crisis”. This crisis will ultimately test our faith… the question for each of us is where, or in who, will our faith be placed? Pay specific attention to question #3. The five steps Mr. White identifies as essential to overcoming a crisis in this world looks a lot like the stages anyone would go through as they accept Christ and begin to follow him to get beyond their past without him.

Mr. White does not speak to his own personal faith journey so I can not offer an opinion on his source for his survival process. Truth, though, has only One source regardless how we think we arrive at it. He does quote the Dalia Lama but that does not necessarily point us to where Mr. White’s ultimate faith lies.

“I Will Not Be Broken”:

That’s the title of a new book which, while it is not specifically about the LGBT community, it does cover some topics that are of value to everyone, perhaps every particularly LGBT people. The information below is from the official website for the book. I was contacted and asked if I would post something here about the book, and I am happy to do so.

Bruce Tomaso of the The Religion Blog of the Dallas News wrote a very lovely post about I Will Not Be Broken entitled Landmine Survivor Writes About Coping with Crisis

Jerry White, who lost a leg when he stepped on a landmine in Israel in 1984, is a co-founder of Survivor Corps, a group dedicated to helping the victims of violent conflicts around the world. He’s been active in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

White has written a book, “I Will Not Be Broken: 5 Steps To Overcoming a Life Crisis,” in which he offers his advice on how to get through tough times — the loss of a loved one, a painful divorce, a serious injury, and so forth.

Jill Army of her eponymous blog, Jill Army, plans to review I Will Not Be Broken by Jerry White — in fact, she was inspired to revive her blog partially in order to do the review! We really appreciate it (via I’m un-jinxing myself!):

I intend to begin blogging again…right after I scrub the residual sticker goo off my computer. I will be reviewing a book : “I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis,” by Jerry White, the co-founder of Survivor Corps I’ve already read the intro and first two chapters (thanks to the free download) and it’s going to be inspirational and help so many people. I know it is something all my readers (yes all two of them …hi dad!) will enjoy and pass on to those around them that need to hear the message and take the steps. I know I will. Looking forward to blogging again.

At 8 Hours & A Lunch, Deb Owen wrote a review of the Interview that Jerry White did over on Guy Kawasaki’s blog:

There’s a must-read interview with Jerry White on Guy Kawasaki’s how to change the world blog today that he is calling “The Art of Survival.” […] I began to look for my “favorite snippet” in the interview, but the whole interview is worth the few minutes to read. It’s a great perspective with applications many of us could use in multiple areas of our daily lives. Check it out.

Heidi blogs about Jerry White’s book in a post called, “I Will Not Be Broken”: The Book by Jerry White, Survivor Corps, on here blog, Mommy Monsters:

I have not read this book … but this looks like a worthwhile read for those who are struggling to rise above circumstances from their past or present. So I wanted to pass it on to you!

Guy Kawasaki wrote a stellar blog post about his interview with Jerry White on the Art of Survival, about Survivor Corps, and about Jerry White’s new book, I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis:

Jerry White is the co-founder of Survivor Corps (formerly Landmine Survivors Newwork). His life changed in 1984 when he lost his leg in a landmine explosion while visiting Israel. After this experience he has championed the cause of survivorship and became a leader in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. In 1997 he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Jody Williams for his efforts. He recently published a book called I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis

Erin Burke of Liquid Heat wrote a forum post about the book, I Will Not Be Broken over on the forum SL Exchange:

I will be the first to admit that I am not a book reviewer or even a professional blogger for that matter. Recently a book was brought to my attention that I felt compelled to let everyone know about. The book is titled “I Will Not Be Broken” and the author is Jerry White.

It’s funny how life works sometime, the person that told me about this book thought I would be interested because I work with Relay for Life in Second Life. I work with Relay for Life because on June 21, 1996 I lost my mother to cancer and it makes me feel as if I am honouring her life by hopefully helping raise money to find cures for cancer, so that someone else will be saved the pain and fear she went through and the pain and fear I have continued to go through by losing her.

I Will Not Be Broken is not a book about cancer survivors specifically, it is a book about survivors period. Survivors of any crisis that enters their life and how to live with it and overcome it. There was a line in Jerry’s book that although very simple, really struck me

“They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s not quite that simple. I believe you have to decide it will make you stronger.”

There is a very thoughtful and Buddhism-focused blog post about Jerry White’s book over at Transparent Eye, I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis by Jerry White:

I don’t usually respond to press releases, but the one announcing I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis by Jerry White interested me enough that I checked out the intro and first chapter, which are available online.

White is the co-founder of Survivor Corps who lost his leg to a land mine. The book sounds like it has a self-help orientation, and is chock full of anecdotes. He distills it into a five-point program

o Face facts
o Choose life
o Reach out
o Get moving
o Give back

My sense is that it is compatible with Buddhist notions of compassion, though oriented more toward international humanitarianism.

Speaking now from my own knowledge, studies of human happiness have shown that it has little to do with actual circumstance, and more to do with predispositions are are either genetic or developmental. People can come back from tragedy, but a key step is to loosen attachment to the way things were but no longer are(Buddha’s Four Noble Truths). Once that block is overcome, finding new life goals and working toward them can provide a path to achieving satisfaction.

Sharon of The Reservoir wrote a very complete review post entitled Book Review: About I Will Not Be Broken, a Book by Jerry White:

From a leader of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning movement to ban landmines and founder of Survivor Corps comes an astoundingly effective guide to recreating a happy and fulfilling life after catastrophe strikes—a book that Bob and Lee Woodruff call “a road map for the individual and their family to re-enter the land of the living.” In I WILL NOT BE BROKEN, Jerry White reframes the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” and asks, given that bad things do happen, how do people absorb the blows and move through them?

Sharon also wrote a touching and insightful personal testimonial in a post called Dealing with loss (my experience):

In November of 2006 I lost my cousin to a fatal road accident. It was even more harrowing because I had known him for little over 10 years; both families had recently become reconciled. He was also one of my favorite cousins.

It was like most deaths of that sort, a needless one. I remember when I first heard the news, the question I kept asking was why? I needed to know why it happened. He was only 24 years old, he hadn’t even begun to really live life. How could he just be snuffed out like that?

I’d just been called to bar (in fact, he was buried on the same day I was called to the bar). So I just buried it deep down inside me and didn’t think about it.

Then less than a year later, I met my husband to be. In telling him about my family, I started to tell him about this cousin when I felt a deep flood of emotion threaten to drown me. I started crying and just couldn’t seem to stop. I cried so hard, I wanted to die. I was still asking why?

I finally dried my tears. I still don’t understand why. I became a lawyer and he wasn’t there to rejoice with me. I’m getting married soon and he never even met my fiance. I still haven’t deleted his email address from my inbox. Many times I think I’m over it and then I feel the grief well up again; and the tears start to trickle down unobtrusively.

But I have refused to allow the grief incapacitate me. Instead I tap into it and it makes me stronger. It gives me more compassion for others, keeps me in touch with my feelings. It reminds me of my own immortality and helps me keep my priorities straight.

In my own way, I have assimilated the 5 steps to dealing with crisis in Jerry White’s book, I Will Not Be Broken and made them work for me.

I know my cousin is gone and nothing I do will bring him back; not all the grieving in the world. I can’t shut down because of that (he wouldn’t want me to). So I have chosen instead to live and not merely exist. I get together with my brothers and his brother every now and then to reminisce about him. It keeps him alive in our hearts and we offer strength to each other. I live my life in a way I know will make him proud but more than that, the experience has made me more compassionate to others who are also grieving.

These steps are time tested and have been proven (especially in my own life). We can’t stop tragedy form happening but we can overcome tragedy. However it is a personal choice. But it is a choice that can be made if the steps in I Will Not Be Broken are diligently applied.

Sandy Carlson writes about Jerry White’s book, I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis by Jerry White, in the post Review: I Will Not Be Broken:

The book outlines a program of five steps for coping with disaster. He draws on his experiences as well as those of famous persons such as Lance Armstrong; Diana, Princess of Wales; Christopher Reeve, the American Psychological Association, and the not so famous–his college roommate, his mom, Bosnians who survived the warn in their country, a little Cambodian girl who also lost a leg to a landmine. His drawing on the wisdom of persons from all walks of life underscores he beliefs that wisdom is a collective resource as well as an individual one and that all life is interconnected. White’s book approaches the challenge of trauma positively by focusing on individual strengths rather than dwelling on what went wrong and why.

I Will Not Be Broken is an earthy, conversational, and real testament of the beauty and wonder of all life.

Burkitt wrote a post about I Will Not Be Broken by Jerry White in the the British Cancer Survivors forum:

I received an email from somebody recommending this book: I will Not be broken. I had a look at the website and I think the book is worth recommending to others, even though it was not written by somebody affected by cancer.

Carl Wilton wrote, in May 12, 2008 - Unbroken, on his blog, A Pastor’s Cancer Diary, how the experience of a man who has lost his leg to a Landmine in Israel has a lot in common with someone suffering and surviving cancer. That illness and tragedy is transforming and always immensely difficult to overcome — to survive and then thrive:

I think White’s conclusions can be generalized to include the experience of being diagnosed with a slowly-progressing disease like cancer. In the book, he recalls a conversation he had with Princess Diana, with whom he worked as an anti-landmine activist. Touring Bosnia and speaking with survivors, they observed that everyone seemed to have “their date.” They could all state precisely on which date they had been injured or bereaved.

Many of us cancer survivors can do the same with our dates of diagnosis (mine was December 2, 2005). Before that date, we may have a suspicion something is wrong, but we still have the luxury of hoping it’s nothing serious. After that date, we can never return to such naiveté. We will, forever after, be cancer survivors.

Mommy blogger, Robin, wrote a powerful post on her blog, Around the Island, Rebuilding a better world, one survivor at a time:

Until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Jerry White, let alone known that he is a leader in the international fight against landmines. I didn’t know that he has this calling because he himself lost his leg to a landmine when he entered an unmarked minefield in the north of Israel, my own country, in 1984. I didn’t know about his struggle to redefine his life after his accident, to choose survival, and I didn’t know that he had taken it one step further, going on to found the Nobel Peace Price-winning Landmine Survivors Network (LSN), the same organization that Princess Diana was involved with.

I didn’t know that he had recently expanded LSN’s mission from aiding those injured by landmines to aiding all those who are victims of the worst epidemic of all - the very preventable epidemic of war and violence. The new mission bears a new name as well - Survivor Corps - which reflects both its calling and its philosophy.

Now I know, and I am proud to help spread the word.

If you’re interested in blogging about either Survivor Corps or the book, I Will Not Be Broken, pop me an email and I can hook you up.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis

I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis
by Jerry White

Copies of I Will Not Be Broken Now Available Online and at Stores Nationwide

Leveraging personal experience and a lifetime of wisdom, landmine survivor Jerry White outlines a very specific five-step program to coping with disaster; to achieving strength and hope; and to turning tragedy into triumph

Quick Links: News Facts | About I Will Not Be Broken | Book Digital Downloads | Reviews and Testimonials | About Jerry White | The Five Steps | Various Excerpts | About Survivor Corps | Contacts | Multimedia Elements | Additional Resources | Join Our Mailing List | Social Media | Tags 

News Facts

About I Will Not Be Broken, a Book by Jerry White

From a leader of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning movement to ban landmines and founder of Survivor Corps comes an astoundingly effective guide to recreating a happy and fulfilling life after catastrophe strikes—a book that Bob and Lee Woodruff call “a road map for the individual and their family to re-enter the land of the living.” In I WILL NOT BE BROKEN, Jerry White reframes the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” and asks, given that bad things do happen, how do people absorb the blows and move through them?

Tragedy happens to everyone.  Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a painful divorce, or a serious injury, we all face unavoidable moments that divide our lives into “before” and “after.”  These events take a heavy toll on everyone, but there are those who have muscled their way through tough times and emerged stronger, wiser—even grateful for their struggle. Jerry White is one such example.  In 1984, he lost his leg—and almost his life—in a landmine accident, and has personally endured the pain of loss and the challenge of rebuilding. 

As co-founder of Survivor Corps, White has connected with thousands of victims of tragedy, and in I WILL NOT BE BROKEN, he shares their collective wisdom, which he distills into an effective five-step program for turning tragedy into triumph:

  • Face facts

  • Choose life

  • Reach out

  • Get moving

  • Give back

In their own words, his fellow survivors share their stories—a group that includes the well known like Lance Armstrong, Elie Wiesel, and the late Princess Diana, but also everyday people including soldiers and veterans of the military.  With compassion, White takes readers through the process of not only enduring tragedy and victimhood, but going on to thrive.

Book Digital Downloads

Download the Introduction to I Will Not Be Broken
Download Chapter 1 of I Will Not Be Broken
Download Intro & Chap 1 of I Will Not Be Broken Combined

Reviews and Testimonials

I Will Not Be Broken Survivor Corps Rise Above Give Back"In I Will Not Be Broken, Jerry White brings his insight and experience to bear expertly for those facing life's unexpected challenges. He embodies the spirit of survivorship."
Lance Armstrong, co-author of Every Second Counts

"Jerry White has written an amazingly poignant book.  But it does more than capture the collective experience of enduring a tragedy.  It provides a road map for the individual and their family to put one foot in front of the other and re-enter the land of the living.  This book will be a remarkable tool especially for the many military families impacted by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."  
Bob and Lee Woodruff, authors of In an Instant

"We can choose happiness, even after the worst of times.  Jerry White offers an excellent guide to navigating and overcoming the traumas we face in our lives."
Deepak Chopra M.D., author of Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment

I Will Not Be Diminished Survivor Corps Rise Above Give Back"This is an important book. Jerry White shares lessons learned from his experience recovering from a landmine accident to help trauma victims recover, survive, and thrive."
Jane Goodall, author of Harvest for Hope

"Offers wise, practical, and inspiring steps to come back from life's worst setbacks. Jerry White speaks with compassion and authority—and an abundance of emotional intelligence.”
Daniel Goleman, author of Social Intelligence

"I have visited landmine survivors around the world with Jerry White. I have seen him reach out to others and walk with them on the path from victim to survivor. His courageous personal experience is a beacon for all who are searching to recover and reclaim life." 
Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, author of Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life

"The tank and guns on Tiananmen Square crushed the hopes of a generation.  But many refused to stay victims.  We find new ways to find new hope. When I met Jerry White, I instantly recognized a fellow survivor who understands what it takes to overcome obstacles to hope.  This book will inspire."
Li Lu, Deputy Commander Tiananmen Square

About Jerry White

Jerry White of Survivor CorpsJerry White is a global survivor activist who has dedicated his life to helping victims of violent conflict.  While camping in Northern Israel in 1984, he stepped on a landmine, and he spent nearly six months in Israeli hospitals learning to walk on an artificial leg. Since then, he has become a recognized leader of the historic International Campaign to Ban Landmines (winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize), and a co-founder of Survivor Corps. He has testified before the US Congress and the United Nations and appeared in hundreds of media interviews and profiles.

The Five Steps of I Will Not Be Broken

1. Face Facts. One must first accept the harsh reality about suffering and loss, however brutal. “This terrible thing has happened. It can’t be changed. I can’t rewind the clock. My family still needs me. So now what?”

2. Choose Life. That is, “I want to say yes to the future. I want my life to go on in a positive way.” Seizing life, not surrendering to death or stagnation, requires letting go of resentments and looking forward, not back. It can be a daily decision.

3. Reach Out. One must find peers, friends, and family to break the isolation and loneliness that come in the aftermath of crisis. Seek empathy, not pity, from people who have been through something similar. Let the people in your life into your life. “It’s up to me to reach for someone’s hand.”

4. Get Moving. Sitting back gets you nowhere. One must get out of bed and out of the house to generate momentum. We have to take responsibility for our actions. “How do I want to live the rest of my life? What steps can I take today?”

5. Give Back. Thriving, not just surviving, requires the capacity to give again, through service and acts of kindness. “How can I be an asset to those around me, and not a drain? Will I ever feel grateful again?” Yes, and by sharing your experience and talents, you will inspire others to do the same.

Various Excerpts From I Will Not Be Broken

I Will Not Be For Nothing Survivor Corps Rise Above Give BackOn Strength: "They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s not quite that simple. I believe you have to decide it will make you stronger. Experience has taught me that happy endings can never be taken for granted. They must be chosen."

On Surviving and Recovery: "We are surrounded by survivors who have gone before us, and their examples will help mark the way forward. Their experiences show us that, with the right support, everyone can recover and thrive. As we overcome hardship, there is laughter and hope and love waiting for each of us. But it is crucial for us to want those things."

Growing Stronger from Crisis: "Is there really a way to grow stronger in crisis? You bet there is. I am convinced we not only can toughen under pressure, but also soar. Why? Because I did. And I have watched thousands of others transform tragedy into growth."

The Bell Tolls for Everyone: "Because life will happen to all of us. Violence and terror can be visited upon just about anybody these days. Life explodes, and nothing is ever quite the same. I’m not just referring to a personal injury or illness, but also to the world where headlines of terrorism, violence, and natural disaster assault us with increasing frequency. Some of us seek consolation in the belief that tragedy is happening somewhere else, far away. But, eventually, the bell tolls for you."

I Will Not Be Powerless Survivor Corps Rise Above Give Back

How to Move Forward After Tragedy: "I hope my story, and those of friends I’ve met around the world, will flicker light in the dark tunnel where too many people feel trapped in pain. Even better, the survivor stories in these pages can teach all of us about moving forward. All of us need to learn to manage life’s explosive moments. Life may change in an instant, like mine did in Israel, but instead of dreading them, I want to encourage all of us to honor our toughest dates—the tragedies that bind us—in an effort to transform victimhood into survivorship."

Moving from Victimhood to Survivorship to Thriving: "Over the past twenty years, I have met and talked ‘survival’ with everyone from the famous—Diana, Princess of Wales, Elie Wiesel, King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan, John McCain, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lance Armstrong—and the not so famous but equally strong—Katie, Ken, Elizabeth, Colleen and others. Each has something to teach us. They don’t just get by. They thrive. That’s what I aspire to do."

The Path to Survival: "This book illuminates the path to survival—five steps that can guide a person from tragedy toward a new life of renewed purpose and hope. The steps are not always sequential; they can be taken simultaneously. They can also spiral, skip and repeat. Survivorship is different for each individual. But anyone who has overcome adversity and learned to thrive has come to understand the power of each step."

Princess Diana on Survivorship: "Princess Diana understood that to survive means to endure something that could have killed you or 'taken you down.' Like the loss of a son or daughter. Like stepping on a landmine. These are experiences terrible and terrifying. Such trauma presents a threshold. The outcome, positive or negative, is not pre-ordained. We can do things to foster resilience and strength going forward. Can you recall your date? Your own before-and-after moment, when life is cut in two by horrible pain or shocking news?"

Facing the Facts to Move Forward: "This terrible thing has happened. It can’t be changed. So, now what? There’s little point wishing you hadn’t gotten into that car, or gotten the tumor, or been fired from that job. We must face some brutal facts of the here and now. It’s normal to question, but you will never get a satisfactory answer, and you’ll only waste time. The past is the past, and facts are facts."

Your Emotions are Facts: "Emotions are facts too. But it is quite common to deny the initial experience. This is not happening to me. I will wake up from this nightmare soon. It is also quite common to feel the most intense range of emotions after a loss or crisis."

How to Survive a Catastrophe: "How can we use the facts that confront us with unpleasant truth to help us survive catastrophe? Facing facts is so hard because it demands that we come to grips with our worst fears. It means admitting what we really think about disability, deformity and death—all scary stuff. Most of us would prefer to look away and carry on our merry way without thinking about these things. But without a closer look in the mirror, examining the wrinkles of our traumatized life, we can’t make sound decisions, and then proceed to change and grow."

On Crisis and Pain: "Crisis and pain can hold us hostage for a time, but we still have a choice in how we will respond to our circumstances, no matter how dire. When something disrupts our life, how do we move forward? I’ve seen it time and time again in my work with victims of war atrocities—there are those who fight for their lives after devastating loss and those who succumb to their suffering. Why the difference? To truly thrive, we must consciously choose for our lives to go on in a positive way. I have had to do it more than once. Most of us have, or will."

Choose Life: "By choosing life we step across the second threshold of survivorship. It may be one of the hardest steps. It requires imagination and perspective in the midst of pain. It comes on the heels of brutal facts and a long look in the mirror to see who we are and where we stand. How do you choose your way forward with scars and bitter memories? You don’t let your situation define you. You reframe how to think about it. You choose humor and connections and love—you choose to live. One of the essential ways we start to embrace life is by reaching out to others."

It Takes a Village to Survive: "No one survives on their own, and no one thrives alone either. Yes, you might feel an excruciating loneliness after one of life’s hurtful blows. But we are simply not built to survive solo. Isolation will kill us, not protect us. We humans are social animals made for community. Even when family and friends annoy the hell out of us, they remain an essential part of our survivorship."

Calling to God and to Faith: "Sometimes it feels as if we have no instruments, we have no leader, we have nothing. That’s when many of us call out to God. For many it takes a crisis, but in our darkest moments, most of us will reach out spiritually. It’s a cry for divine help. We need someone—anyone—out there to understand. Our prayers reflect an existential plea for empathy in the universe. I believe this is a great and useful thing. I can’t encourage people enough to pray, and then pray some more. Call out. Reach out. Your questions and search for meaning are enormously important. They reflect a desire to Choose Life and Reach Out simultaneously. Whatever you believe, religion can offer a positive source of social and spiritual oxygen."

On John McCain: "I am always impressed by the strong bond among veterans, including well-known American prisoners of war in Vietnam such as John McCain. Their military code of conduct inculcates an attitude of mutual survival, with duty to country and to family. When I first met Senator McCain over lunch in the Senate dining room, I was immediately struck by his stubborn survivor spirit. McCain credits his five-plus years of perseverance in the face of torture to his sense of duty to and camaraderie with his fellow navy men and prisoners, and a sense of honor instilled in him by the military careers and character of his father and grandfather."

Surviving and Thriving: "There is a difference between surviving and thriving. Thriving requires tapping into our gratitude and drawing on this well to give to others. Studies on gratitude and giving are starting to proliferate. Why? Because people are catching on to the secret of happiness—giving, not getting. It turns out that by giving we end up getting as well. It’s a loop. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.'"

We Benefit from Community: "We benefit from belonging, from contributing to a bigger thing called community. We all have a role, with talents and gifts to deploy. Each act of generosity seeds good will. Even by listening to another person tell their tale of woe—thereby affirming their path—you can help build community. Each of us is born with talents and gifts. And they are meant to be deployed, not for simple survival, but for the good of the community. A body is also a metaphor for community, and if any one part is hurting, the whole body is weak. We need to shore each other up and make sure we acknowledge with appreciation people who pray, forgive, connect the unconnected, and serve the more vulnerable among us."

On Victimhood and Surviving: "Why do some people stay victims? Well, it’s strangely comfortable—a kind of defense mechanism after disaster strikes. We welcome sympathy in our hour of need. And then we invite it. Eventually, we must break the victim habit and resume taking full responsibility for our future."

Survivors are Everyday People: "I’m here to tell you that survivors are everyday people in the car next to you, behind you in the grocery store, next door mowing the lawn. I meet these people everywhere, from every walk of life, on every continent. I only wish I could share more of their stories. I hope their examples will teach and inspire you to want to thrive. Just think: if someone can overcome that level of crisis or abuse, then maybe I can hang in there too, just long enough to get through my crisis."

Life Experiences Nourish Us: "Life experience will nourish and make us stronger. For example, studies of emergency personnel indicate that having survived one traumatic experience increases resilience and, in a sense, inoculates workers who will face subsequent traumas at work. Most of us can point to early life experiences that afford us at least some practice in building resilience."

Survivors can Survive Anything: "Josephine Hart observed, “Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” Every time we come through tough times, we should feel some sense of pride and achievement. After all, getting through the experience may have been the hardest thing we’ve ever done. And we might be surprised to discover an inner voice and competitive spirit coaching us: I refuse to be taken out by what happened to me. I will not be defeated by this. I still believe in the possibility of the future. Even when our loss is the death of a beloved, and we may not feel like going on without them, we still honor their memory by healing and living strong."

Empathy Etiquette: "What do survivors say has been helpful during their tough times? I call it “empathy etiquette”—the way to support survivors in crisis by putting yourselves in their shoes. The good news is we can learn empathy etiquette, much like we can learn resilience. When we are going through something for the first time, neither we nor our friends know exactly how to behave. Nothing seems normal or real in a life-threatening storm."

On Reading People in Need: "Just be ready to pick up on the hints people in crisis my give as to what is needed at any particular time. Try to make it about that person and not your own hang-ups or past traumas. Maybe your friend wants you to come by every day. Maybe it’s just once a week. You must assess and reassess the situation. Be open. Be kind. Bring food. Then run the vacuum and wipe down the kitchen counters after putting the leftovers away in the fridge."

Grace is a Key to Surviving: "I think grace, in part, is what allows survivors to bring meaning to our stories. It’s available to all of us—moments of awakening. Without meaning, you may survive, but you will never inspire. And without meaning, you cannot ultimately thrive. Finding meaning in our lives is a way to dispel darkness and break through the barriers that imprison us."

On Heroism and Being a Hero: "We don’t always have to look for larger-than-life heroes. We can be heroes for each other. We are just ordinary folk wanting to endure and live life well, even during the rough patches. But we can all benefit from role models who not only overcome adversity, but find the wherewithal to give back and serve the broader community. This is how we complete the cycle of survivorship, transforming our tragedy and blessing others in the process."

Heroes Don't Call Themselves Heroes: "None of the survivors interviewed in this book would call themselves heroes, or particularly courageous, for that matter. They simply did what they had to do."

Thrivers Are All Around Us: "Thrivers are all around us, not distant in history or geography. They are most often applied optimists. Pessimists can also thrive, but they have to work a bit harder to push through their tendency toward negativity. Similarly, introverts sometimes find it harder to thrive than extroverts, given the need to reach out for support during and after a crisis. The key is to know yourself so you can work with or compensate for your natural tendencies."

Final Words On The Five Steps: "The Five Steps on our survivor journey offer a way not just to recover, not just to survive, but to thrive. Step by step, we find power to convert our dates—the days that change us—to become more than we were before the illness or the accident. We understand survivorship is anything but linear: it’s a process that involves three steps forward, a flashback or two, and then a leap ahead. Each of us is a mixed breed of survivor and victim. Some days we can exhibit healthy survivor behavior and then reveal less attractive victim behavior the next. No one is perfectly resilient or consistent. But we progress, day by day, step by step, if we want."

About Survivor Corps

Around the globe, people are inflicting harm on one another on an alarming scale with alarming ease. There were approximately 250 wars throughout the 20th century. Today, there are more than 39 conflicts raging in the world –from armed conflicts in Latin America to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to genocide in Darfur.

More than 35 million people have been displaced from these conflicts—innocent people who have been robbed of their dignity, their homes and their livelihoods. With no hope or tools to rise above their circumstances, far too many victims lash out, seeking revenge for their plight and perpetuating the cycle of violence and suffering. Something has to be done to break this downward spiral. 

Survivor Corps operates under the credo that no one is better equipped to change the world than those who have been most scarred by what’s wrong with it. There is a way to break the cycle of violence, and it begins with showing survivors a new, more hopeful way forward.

What is the Survivor Corps philosophy? No one is better equipped to change the world than those most scarred by what’s wrong with it.

Whom does Survivor Corps you serve? We serve people who have been injured by global conflict, primarily through training and support of the organizations that serve conflict survivors at the local level.

Where does Survivor Corps work? Wherever communities are experiencing or recovering from conflict – currently in over 50 countries.

Why should I support Survivor Corps? We have a ten-year track record of results, improving health, creating economic opportunity, and changing laws & policies for survivors of conflict.

How does Survivor Corp work? We work across the spectrum of issues and organizations that affect the lives of survivors.

Can Survivor Corps really solve this problem? Yes. We believe that by showing survivors a new, more hopeful way forward, we can help break the cycle of violence.

Survivor Corps provides the tools and support survivors need to rise above their injuries and give back to their communities. Learn more at

For more information about Survivor Corps, visit:


For Press Inquiries:
Contact Daniel Krueger at

For More Information:
Contact Elizabeth Miner 
2100 M St. NW, Suite 302
Washington, DC 20037


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