Wired has an interview up with Neil Strauss, a best-selling author that likes to immerse himself in a new (to him) world to learn new skills or gather material for his books. His latest effort is Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life, in which he heads into the woods with just a knife, gets locked in a trunk while being handcuffed, and generally spends time in situations that would make most peoples’ sphincters pucker right up to lean how to survive various situations. The interview talks about his thought process in approaching and researching the book, but the real gem of the article is the video where he shows how to make a knife out of a cigarette. The how-to portion is mildly entertaining, but the goat that takes center stage and eats all of Neil’s props is the real winner.

He also discuss the “philosophy of the sphincter:”

The basic idea is that, in a high-pressure situation, the first thing that happens is people get nervous and uptight. And as soon as your sphincter tightens, as the metaphor goes, it cuts off circulation to your brain. So one of the best survival skills you can have is the ability to quickly and coolly assess a situation rather than panicking and doing something stupid.

After that interview and video, I’ll definitely be picking up the book in the near future.