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The 10 Best Prepping and Survival Books

If you’ve read our “About” page, you know we’re huge advocates of education through reading. Part of the reason we’ve so heavily adapted the habit of reading non-fiction books is that 88% of millionaires read at least thirty minutes of non-fiction a day. Education through reading is a powerful tool for reaching your goals and becoming what you want to be. And if you’re interested in prepping, you’ll want to know about what I think are some of the best prepping and survival books on the market.


Best Prepping and Survival Books

Called “The ultimate guide to surviving anywhere” this classic has been updated to include a chapter on urban survival. The author is a former survival instructor for the British special forces military member who knows his stuff when it comes to survival.

SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere

This book is a thorough guide to help you prepare “practically” for common disasters such as weather-related disasters, terrorist attacks or disease outbreaks. Full of practical information to help keep yourself and/or your family safe in times of trouble.

Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family, 3rd Edition

This book combines two of my very favorite subjects: preparedness and frugality – woohoo! Daisy Luther is a pro at preparedness, and I love that she focuses in this book on stockpiling healthier foods instead of the crap canned foods that grace most store shelves. The book helps you to know how much food you need for your family size, how to stockpile with dietary restrictions and how to maintain your stockpile inventory well.

The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget

Amazon description: practical, easily understood information on how to diagnose, treat, and prevent common diseases. Special attention is focused on nutrition, infection and disease prevention, and diagnostic techniques as primary ways to prevent and treat health problems.

We bought this book years ago in the event of a large-scale disaster but use it often in every day life. Fantastic book for those interested in natural health care.

Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook, Revised Edition

Like its counterpart, Where There Is No Doctor, this book was meant for health care workers stuck in the boonies with little access to medicine and surgical techniques. Fantastic info on caring for your teeth when there is no dentist available.


Where There Is No Dentist

THE go-to book on living like they did “back in the day” with no electricity, running water, etc. If you’re a homesteader or just want to know how to be able to take care of your family in the event that all hell breaks loose, this is your book.

The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual of Living Off the Land & Doing It Yourself

Speaking of all hell breaking loose, here’s another of my favorite survival books. One of the things I absolutely love about this book is that it spends extensive time talking about how to prepare psychologically for a SHTF situation. Most people’s biggest struggle during a disaster is the mental struggle. Ever see the Twilight Zone episode called “The Shelter”?

When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes

Don’t make the mistake of thinking this book is for moms only. This comprehensive and well thought out book on preparedness is one of the best prepper books out there – for everyone.

Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios

This book is filled with super useful and necessary facts on how to store water safely in case of a SHTF scenario. A must-have for any prepper library.

The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource

I got this book when we first moved out to the country and I can’t overestimate what a help it’s been. It explains canning and preserving processes simply and clearly. It also contains great recipes for anything you could possibly want to preserve. If there’s one skill I’d say you have to have to survive a SHTF situation, it’s the skill of knowing how to grow and properly preserve your own food. The day might come when grocery stores are not an option, and if you don’t know how to grow and prep food on your own, you’ll be in big trouble.

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

With these books on your shelves, you’ll have a complete, at-your-fingertips library to help you be prepared for any situation. For more information on prepping and survival, head over to our Prepping andΒ Survival Tips page, which is loaded with articles on how to be prepared for any type of situation.

What are your favorite prepping/survival books?Β 


  1. Great idea! We just ran across a few prepping books at the library last night. It was quite by accident, but they were pretty darn cool. We want to move out to the country someday, so it’s important to know self-sufficiency, which these books teach.

    Ball’s book on preserving is AMAZING. It’s an itty bitty book and I hate that it’s like $10 at the store, but it’s been worth it.

  2. A A Rod says:

    All of the Foxfire books are worth owning. I bought the first book for the distilling instructions, uhh, I mean home brewing. Yeah, that’s what I’m doing.

  3. I had no idea that millionaires spend 30 minutes a day reading non-fiction. I need to start incorporating that into my life πŸ™‚

    I definitely think that No Doctors and No Dentists books look fascinating. I will definitely see if my library has a copy πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Laurie says:

      I know – empowering, isn’t it? Yes, check the local library. Rick is an EMT, and he has taught us lots about medical stuff, but having those books on hand sure is a comfort, especially living out in the country. Thanks, MSM!

  4. Ty says:

    I’m a wannabe pepper so this is a great post for me! The thought of not being self-sufficient terrifies me. I don’t want to be dependent on others for anything (if possible) if/when disaster strikes and or SHTF.

    • Laurie says:

      Smart move, Ty. Living in the country we’ve had several occasions when we were left without power and water supply. Preparation in life-saving in those situations!

  5. katscratch says:

    I love your book recommendations! I’m searching these on my library website.

    The Pantry Primer looks amazing — I have to admit I checked to see if you were the author because it seems like you should be πŸ™‚

    I grew up in a part of the country that had multiple fresh water sources nearby, so never knew anyone that prepared for outages of any kind until moving to the Midwest. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts on the subject!

    • LOL, funny. πŸ™‚ Daisy Luther is the author, but we do have quite a few things in common. She has a great prepping site, although she’s a bit more cynical than I am. Funny that you say that about the water; we live in MN and although we aren’t big fans at all of the cold, cold winters, we really appreciate the vast amount of lakes and rivers here because it provides us with a ton of water supplies in case the SHTF. πŸ™‚

      • katscratch says:

        Well now I’m laughing at myself, and so is my mom after I called her to talk about this. I’m also in MN now, and my parents were thinking about moving here for years, but were very nervous about weather events and power outages. Even more so when some of my friends would talk up their water and food supplies in their basements (I didn’t know anyone with a basement in the PNW town I was raised in). It also didn’t help my parents’ perception that a tornado did significant damage to my neighborhood (but not my street) just after I bought my house.

        The irony? I vividly remember Mt St Helens erupting, burying us in ash and darkness, and my childhood home is in the middle of all the still-technically-active volcanoes. There are wildfires every year that ruin air quality and lead to evacuations. My mom and I were laughing when we realized that our perception was “well fires are *normal*” where tornadoes and freezing rain events are *not* πŸ˜‰

        I’ve found most of these books at the library, and I’m excited for Daisy Luther’s upcoming Organic Canner book! So many great resources in this post – it’s bookmarked πŸ™‚

        • Laurie says:

          You’re in MN?? Email me – we have to talk more!! Yes, basements are an absolute must here, IMHO. There are a few houses that build on a slab with no basement, but they’re fairly rare. Personally, we would not buy one. πŸ™‚ Downtown St. Paul, at the MN History Center, there is a weather room that has a simulated basement with a re-creation of the 1965 Fridley tornado. It’s pretty freakin’ traumatizing. I’ve been through straight-line winds, the tornado’s sister (high winds, just no circular motion) and watched it damage neighboring houses, that’s as close as I ever want to get to one. But I think the volcano thing would be freakier. Something about hot molten lava that is…… πŸ™‚

    • Laurie says:

      I’ve long been a fan of non-fiction reading simply because of the educational value. I hope you do find more time to read this year, Jamila – enjoy those little ones of yours!

  6. James says:

    My wife has a copy of Survival Mom and she likes this book as every preparation to do for any disaster is there, and I must say it’s very helpful.

  7. The Survival Mom book looks like a good one. I’ve only read one survival book, but the most useful information was on how to prepare for “regular” emergencies like fire or having the electricity go out for an extended period of time. It seems like Survival Mom is in that same thread where she starts with “smaller” emergencies?

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, that one is really popular, DC. She talks about a wide variety of stuff from the small stuff to the bigger stuff. Glad you enjoyed it!

  8. TPOHappiness says:

    Great list! I have all of them except Where There is No Dentist. A great ‘starter’ book for suburban consumption is The Backyard Homestead – this is where my wife and I got many of our best tips for our backyard and even our first look into the sustainable lifestyle.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Angelica says:

    Nice! Thanks for summarizing the topics in the post, too. I’m definitely going to grab a copy of The Encyclopedia of Country Living. It’ll be useful when I move out of the city. Living in the anthill is doing a number on my ability to think outside the filing cabinet. As far as I’m concerned, the goal of this corporate lifestyle is to eventually have enough cash to reject it.

    That being said, even people living in urban areas should know what to do in a survival situation. If something does go down, the city is going to be the most dangerous place.

    I have a 1969 copy of Survival, Evasion, and Escape sitting on my bookshelf right now. Have you ever read it? I should dust it off and give it a read.

    • Laurie says:

      I haven’t heard of that book, Angelica – thanks for sharing!! Lots of the books out there address survival in urban areas, such as “When All Hell Breaks Loose” and “Survival Mom”. So glad you are working on your plan to leave the city. It’s not for everyone, but we’ve found country living wonderful! Good luck to you!

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