Epic Survival Lessons From The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli is an epic story about a man (Denzel Washington) with intense purpose and cunning survival skills. After a nuclear blast Denzel Washington receives a message from God. His mission – deliver the last known copy of the King James Bible to a remote western city to recirculate the knowledge of God back to mankind. The movie is chocked full of survival tips and crucial takeaways you can use in any SHTF situation. Here are a few ideas.

Cats are food

Right in the opening scene we see Eli take down a cat with his bow. This tells us a few things. One, in a survival situation animals become food. They lose their value as pets in favor of keeping the human machine alive. The inner animal of the human comes out. Hunger brings you very close to the animalistic side of you that sees animals as prey. You do not have the luxury of taking an animals are pets perspective. This perspective can only be realized in a state of abundance. Chances are, in a survival situation you can not afford to have this perspective.

Mind your own business

Eli notices multiple injustices throughout the movie but chooses to stay on his path and not intervene. Survival is not pretty and you are not superman. Short of rescuing a close family member or friend, your job is not to rush to the rescue of every damsel in distress – unless you want to get yourself killed of course. Mind your own business and stick to the path.

Have a path

Eli had a very clear path from the beginning. He was not walking aimlessly. He had a purpose and a defined mission. Your mission might not be as dramatic. Your mission might be to find water or locate a lost member of your group. Whatever it is, having a purpose and mission will pull you through the hard times andĀ see you through to ultimate survival.

Have faith

Eli had unwavering faith in God. He chose to believe that he was protected by God. His suffering was easy to endure because his faith gave meaning to everything. He did not question Gods will and stuck to His divine purpose. It’s important to have faith in something when you’re struggling to survive. Especially if you doubt your own survival skills, having faith in the divine will summon internal resources you never thought you had. Stop doubting and have faith.

Have a skill

On his journey West Eli passes through a small town of hostile survivors ran by a maniac searching for his own copy of the Bible. While waiting for his battery to charge Eli is questioned by a hostile road warrior. Things turn sour and Eli takes out the whole bar in an impressive display of self defense. The maniac mayor of the town takes notice of Eli’s skillsĀ and invites him to join up with his crew. His life was spared because he had a unique skill set that could benefit many people. Having some kind of skill is important for your survival and will benefit you if you decide to absorb into a group.


In the end, Eli completes his mission and ultimately survives. Had it not been for these survival skills he might not have made it through the first obstacle. Survival depends both on the gear on your back and on the wits in your head. Common sense goes a long way to ensuring a safe passage through a deathly SHTF scene. Much of Eli’s success can be attributed to his unwavering faith and common sense. Yes, it helps to be a complete badass too.

What did you think of these lessons? Drop a comment below.

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