The Right Kind of Survival Story

Posted by Anneli Rufus at 11:18 am, Monday, July 13, 2009

I’ve been reading Norman Ollestad’s memoir Crazy for the Storm, which Starbucks has chosen for its latest featured book. As a preteen in 1979, Ollestad survived a small-plane crash that killed his beloved father, an adventurous child star-turned-lawyer who had taught the author to surf and ski when the younger Ollestad was barely old enough to stand. The memoir cuts back and forth from the crash scene to childhood memories in which Ollestad junior and senior — both are named Norman — face snow and sea alone, father and son, the former confident and ever optimistic, the latter timid and even furiously resentful at first but growing ever more enthusiastic. It’s interesting to learn how lessons learned through skiing and surfing — such as how to gauge distances and one’s own strength as well as how to navigate and handle frozen surfaces — proved so useful in the wake of the crash as to save Ollestad’s life.

Stories of survival like this one, which focus on love and inner strength rather than victimhood, are all too rare these days.

And it just goes to show you: Whatever you know now, even if you hated learning it, might come in handy someday.

And if I’m ever in a situation where hula-dancing is the only thing that stands between life and death….

5 Responses to “The Right Kind of Survival Story”

  1. Dennis Says:

    Visit Dennis

    Thanks for such a great write-up! Norman appreciates the kind words.

    I wanted to let your readers know that Norman keeps up a very thorough Facebook page:

    You’ll find tons of updates there on his life and current book tour.


  2. eliminar acne Says:

    Visit eliminar acne

    what a great story! i agree with you, stories like this one are not common nowadays, and perhaps we need them more than ever… thanks for sharing! i had really enjoy the reading!

  3. Says:


    I didn’t realize Starbucks issues book recommendations. Are they usually good? I guess they want people to come in with books engaging enough to keep them there reading so they’ll buy more coffee.

  4. Chris Says:

    Visit Chris

    I`ve never heard of the story from Norman Ollestad’s and his book Crazy for the Storm. After visiting the website I got goosebumps. I totally agree that this kind of stories are too rare these days.

  5. Sebastian Clouth Says:

    Visit Sebastian Clouth


    I am the Books editor at Before It’s News ( Our site is a rapidly growing people-powered news platform currently serving over 3 million visits a month. We like to call ourselves the “YouTube of news.”

    We would love to republish your blog’s RSS Feed in our new Books section. Every post would have a description of your site and a link back to it. Our visitors would love to read your content and find out more about you!

    You could also publish excerpts of your books if you’d like :) , along with links back to pages where they are for sale.

    It’s a great opportunity to spread the word about your work and reach new readers. We don’t censor or edit work.

    We will be featuring and promoting content and book excerpts across the web.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!


    Sebastian Clouth
    Books Editor, Before It’s News

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