Paula Reid has written a fascinating account, well-researched with a representative sampling of some of the compulsive, addictive sometimes vocational workers who, for best reasons explained but often unfathomable, choose or find themselves in occupations that make 'saner' people squeamish. This is not, by any means, to say that the subjects are deranged, merely atypical. Driven by the thrill and buzz, presumably hormonally energised, their drive and ambition is not just a matter of financial gain, although success often generates this. These are clearly articulated by the author.The 'occupations' are listed alphabetically. 'Astronaut to World motor-bike champions'. Death or glory.
We read of space-explorers, bomb disposal officers, fast-riders, whether ambulance, jockeys, or other members of the race-track fraternity. Ice-truckers, pilots, firefighters and armed forces, with accounts of their exploits and comparative salaries, adding to the book's interest and begging the question, 'Why'?
These are salaried jobs. I would have been interested by more in-depth analysis of the characters' histories and motivations, often putting their lives on the line for other people, their long-term reflections and psychological outcomes, effects on their friends and families. Perhaps more anecdotes of the numerous near-tragic events could have been included, many no doubt frightening and hair-raising, others probably humorous in retrospect. Danger ratings, where possible, are included.(Morbidity and mortality would be the most accurate).
Dangerous hobbies draw a comparison, mountain-climbing, pot-holing, ocean-boating to name a few. The revelation that commercial fishing was the most dangerous occupation in terms of fatality, on reflection, was no surprise, but exemplifies the extent that it is often necessity and lack of alternatives that put lives in peril (mining, likewise) rather than a leisure pursuit.
Despite the caveats, I enjoyed this author's account of professionals that we may take for granted but cannot, mostly, do without. Recommended reading.
Until reading this book, I thought that my career was full of excitement... Now, compared to the jobs that Paula Reid introduces us to, my life seems relatively humdrum and dull! This is a great book to pick up and read when you need to get some perspective in life. The real eye-opener for me was the chapter on the world of the solo around the world yachtshman. Now there's a job which forces you to come to terms with the elements amidst months of solitude and hard graft.
A fab book which would make a great gift. I originally bought it as a present for a mate but ended up buying a second copy as I couldn't let it go...
What an amazing book written from each individuals perspective in their own words. The book gets into the extreme worlds that these people live and work in, giving a true insight into what it is like to have an extreme and dangerous job.
Complete with danger and extreme facts, I just couldn't put it down. Lots of short and compelling chapters makes it a book you can just dip into whenever you have a spare few minutes or like me you find it draws you in and you want to know about the next job.
Excellent book I would highly recommend. Ideal gift.
Bought the book as a gift for several nieces and nephews (aged between 8-21) about to set out on their career paths, to give them inspiration. Without exception all have been spotted reading the book!! It's easy to read, informative and interesting. A great purchase