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Laurence Gonzales: The Chemistry of Fire

Daniel ScrivnerLast Updated: January 29, 2021

Laurence Gonzales is an award-winning author of numerous books about the psychology and neuroscience of survival . In this episode, Laurence and Daniel discuss his newest book, The Chemistry of Fire, a collection of exploratory essays that feed into his work on survival.

Laurence also authored Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and WhySurviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience, and Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival. He received the Miller Distinguished Scholarship from the Santa Fe Institute in 2016, as well as two National Magazine Awards and the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. 

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“There’s no way to stop these accidents from happening, but there’s a way to stop them from happening to you.” – Laurence Gonzales 

Chapters in this interview:

  • 00:00:09 – The concept of the chemistry of fire
  • 00:03:43 – An adventure story of ice climbers on Mount Washington
  • 00:09:26 – Why people keep going when they know they should turn back
  • 00:14:14 – The importance of rules and systems for decision making
  • 00:20:09 – The survival of a cross-country skier after a major mishap
  • 00:25:52 – Laurence’s work with the Santa Fe Institute
  • 00:36:37 – Words of wisdom for 2021 

For more, explore the transcript of this episode

Links from the Episode

Books by Laurence Gonzales

On Outliers, Daniel Scrivner explores the tactics, routines, and habits of world-class performers working at the edge—in business, investing, entertainment, and more. In each episode, he decodes what they’ve mastered and what they’ve learned along the way. Start learning from the world’s best today.

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