The Barbarian Book Club: Book of the Month (March): World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War – Max Brooks

Greetings Barbarians! Long days and pleasant nights!

I truly hope things are still pleasant. I wish I could tell you that everything is fine but I’m afraid that things will only get a lot worse before it gets better.

Book of the Month usually is a book review of sorts that I do every month. But in light of recent events, I will do something different. So instead of a book review, I’m going to write about some lessons I’ve learned from a book. 

In my collection of books that are works of fiction, there are only three books that I read religiously. Those are Coelho’s The Alchemist, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Brooks’ World War Z. Those three books could pretty much tell you the kind of man I am. So today, I wanted to write about the lessons from Max Brooks’ World War Z.

World War Z is a novel written by Max Brooks which was later adapted to the big screen. I don’t want to delve into the plot and summary of the book because this isn’t going to be a book review. I will, however, give a very brief description to avoid confusion. The book is a collection of accounts following the devastation of the zombie plague. Passages record humanity’s desperate struggle and the resulting social and environmental changes. 

Here are a few things I’ve learned…

It’s not a question of “if”, but a question of “when”

Ever heard of the black swan principle? Black swan principle posits that “just because you haven’t seen a black swan, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist”. Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already happens. A lot of what was happening was due to our failure to take it seriously in the beginning. When things finally get serious, people start to panic. Most turned to social media and hearsay for information which in turn, causes more panic. Stick to facts people, and prepare yourself!

“Zombies” don’t care about your ethnicity, creed, or political views

Let’s stop and be realistic for a minute. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that if we pray hard enough, things will get better. Inform yourself, prepare for the worst, and be kind to one another. Wealth, creed, political views are just part of the smaller picture. They have very little impact on the grand scheme of things. Wealth would factor in for a while but when the economy collapses, wealth would be useless.

Learn to do things by yourself

When shit hits the fan, for whom do you think those farmers would plant those produce? Nope, not you, so wake up! That’s not selfish, that’s the human condition. No matter how much money you’ve got; when crises arise, those farmers will focus on the survival of their own family. Learn to do things for yourself, by yourself. Do not get complacent by throwing money at things, learn to cook your food, learn to maintain your vehicle. Those things you were ignoring would matter in a time of great calamity. Don’t wait for the calamity to happen, learn it now. 

Your health and physical fitness is paramount

Conditioning helps when you have to run 5km. Conditioning saves when you have to run 5km getting chased by “zombies”. Admit it, being unhealthy makes you a liability rather than an asset. Even with what is happening, the healthy ones have a higher percentage of surviving. Those who have pre-existing medical conditions are more susceptible than those who are healthy. Time to reevaluate your life choices. 

Relationships matter, even if the world is ending 

In the face of the apocalypse, we only got each other, so be nice and foster good relationships. Yes, I said learn to do things by yourself and try not to be a burden. Yet, in dire situations, we need every help we could get and offer our help as much as we could. Don’t get caught up with the fear and ignorance that is rampant. If you can’t help, at least be a decent person, things are bad as it is, so don’t add yourself to the tally of assholes and fools. 

Sometimes, the latest tech isn’t always the greatest

It seems to me that the true calamity was the spread of unreliable information that caused panic. I was expecting a lot of people would be well informed due to the heavy use of the internet and boy I was wrong. Instead, the internet was used to spread fear, panic, and ignorance. Verify your information and use common sense. The internet doesn’t make you smart; sometimes it just makes you an asshole. 

I know times are tough and will get much worse. Keep yourself safe at all times and remain vigilant. Help if you can and survive.

To Courage, Freedom and the survival of the Human Race!

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3 thoughts on “The Barbarian Book Club: Book of the Month (March): World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War – Max Brooks

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  1. I read the book a couple years ago, my son got it for me as a present.
    Very good advice! We’re planting some tomatoes and cucumber here soon, grow grapes, blackberries, raspberries (wild), blueberries…and I know enough about the plants on my property to know which ones can be eaten/drank…
    stay safe!


  2. spooky but those are my fave books too, well World War Z not as much as Haunting of Hill House but the other 2 for sure. I re read the Alchemist the most followed by Gatsby. I really enjoyed your post, especially the fitness and relationship part, good thoughts my friend and thank you for sharing.


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