This was the second book loaned to me to get my take on Joel Skousen as an author and projector of sound advice (the first was Strategic Relocation). This tome (683 pages) is not for the weekend reader of fiction books. Skousen is an expert on preparation. He’s devoted his life to preparing for any situation, most of which has not happened and may never happen. However, for those who may see smoke on the horizon, and a building project in the future, Skousen provides a plethora of ideas on how to be wise about your home investment. What I appreciated about Skousen is that he’s not only an expert on building materials, planning and construction, he’s a wise builder of people through a mental education and a training program.
Skousen lays out in the first two chapters a “Philosophy of Security and Self-sufficiency.” The first chapter addresses life-style changes that must be considered when the grid goes down and self-sufficiency abilities are important. He didn’t pick this up on a one hour internet search. His material is an in-depth curriculum for physical, social and mental training. His second chapter addresses how to train for quick reactions to a crisis. Every home should spend time reading, training and living this material, even if building is not in the future. Children at a young age can learn this while they enjoy the innocence of childhood.
Skousen then tackles “Planning” for new construction. He does not take the architectural approach to what is aesthetically pleasing, although his ideas are wise and would fit in with surroundings. He proposes what is an efficient use of space as well as the minimum necessary space needed for a variety of threat levels. This is a college level course on strategic planning regardless of the family economic level. His four sample remodel plans demonstrate his astute ability to make reasonable alterations and installations for functional living areas and optional storage and retreat possibilities. His analysis of various construction materials provides a well-balanced means to environmental control and security.
Skousen’s next section on “Security and Self-Sufficiency Systems” is his capstone description of preparation. It is thorough and educates on all aspects of living. He provides tremendous background information on all types of mechanical systems and equipment. While first published in 1979, this printing is from 2000. While over a decade old, the principles remain valid and updated equipment can be chosen from the details, specifications and systems integration he describes.
Finally, his section on “Construction and Implementation” is a motivator for new home considerations. The challenge is the cost for implementations of his ideas. The home owner will need to consider both cost and size in building. In addition, he’ll have to choose what aspects of this manual he can afford to apply. His recommended products and sources will be an excellent starting point for pricing current products. Before purchasing the book, check out Joel’s website at www.joelskousen.com. While most people will never execute his advice, it is worth considering. Do consider this: the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, (1 Chron. 12:32) should be in the back of your mind.