This is a strange review for me for two contradictory reasons:
- I liked the premise of the book but didn’t feel like I got much from it
- The book was interesting but repetitive.
Cody Lundin is clearly a guy who knows his stuff. Personally, he is a bit out-there with a spiritual, hippy attitude and outlook but he is clever and personable. He has an attention to detail and a passion for what he does. He actually lives the life he teaches about.
There is a lot of technical and scientific information in 98.6 Degrees. A great deal goes into explaining how the human body produces and loses energy in the form of body heat. Lundin gives a great deal of advice on how different calorie intakes affect the body and are absorbed in different ways.
There is also a significant attention made on the mental aspects of survival. Lundin explains that a positive mental attitude should be honed in order to have the will and fortitude to survive should you be in a life-threatening survival situation.
A section of the book is devoted to equipment and the creation of your own survival pack for every day carry. There is some good information here about shunning the ready-to-buy survival packs and making your own to suit your requirements. Some of this equipment can be everyday items readily available in the home. Others are simple items you need to source and add to your kit.
The book is focused on the more extremes of survival including excessive heat or cold. Here in the UK, that’s much less of an issue. However, Cody does stress that the vast majority of hypothermia deaths occur well within what would be considered normal ‘cold’ temperatures easily reached in the UK.
Writing Style and Readability
There are two approaches that Cody takes in his writing style. Firstly, he knows that in order to become knowledge, information must be read several times. Secondly, he develops characters for his writing and has illustrations to go with these characters. Whilst great in principle, I had issues with both of these in this book.
I get it that we need to read things several times in order to absorb that information into knowledge. However, this book felt simply repetitive. I can’t put my finger on why it doesn’t work but I finished the book thinking that not much of it had sunk in and I needed to read it again.The addition of some more practical diagrams may have helped to absorb the technical detail in a more visual way.
Characters and Illustrations
I can only put this bluntly. The addition of Cody’s characters or their illustrations scattered throughout the book contributed nothing to my experience of reading 98.6 Degrees. I don’t think they added anything at all to the book, no helped with the understanding of the survival information. I am not sure what their purpose is beyond trying to further the attempt to make Cody’s writing style ‘casual and cool’.
I liked 98.6 Degrees but it didn’t really make enough of an impact, at least first time around. It’s not a huge book so a re-read is not a huge undertaking. I got enough from the book to want to do that at some point. I believe that it was an opportunity lost in that a slightly better writing style would have made this book exceptional.