Off The Record with Brad Meltzer

Over the last several months, Glenn has emphasized the importance of bringing together individuals who share the same goals and unifying principles so that we can learn from one another. GlennBeck.com is working to fulfill that goal by sitting down with some of the most interesting minds to give you an inside look at who they are and what they are working on.

#1 New York Times bestselling author, host of History Channel’s Decoded, and award-winning comic book writer Brad Meltzer opened up to GlennBeck.com assistant editor Meg Storm about the high school teacher that changed his life, what it is was like to brainstorm terrorist plots with the Department of Homeland Security, and why his favorite superhero is Batman.

Below is a transcript of the interview: 

Hey Brad! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us.

Happy to do it!

So I wanted to start with your background. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

What’s crazy is that I never thought I would ever be a writer because I didn’t think that was a real job. I grew up in a very working class family, and I always thought I would go to high school and go to work. My mom and dad didn’t go to any type of four-year college, so I didn’t think college was even an option. My dad, when he was 40-years-old, lost his job. He lost everything. He had $1,200 to his name. He had no job. We had no place to live. He picked everything up and moved us to Florida, and he said it was the ‘do over of his life.’ He was going to start his life over from scratch on that day.

When we got to Florida, my parents gave a fake address so I could go to the better local public school. When I went to that school, people were talking about going to college and taking the SAT. I didn’t know what the SAT was. But because of my parents and that moment, I suddenly had my life changed.

thetenthjustice-128x230That’s incredible.

It really is. And what made it more incredible is my English teach in 9th grade was a woman named Sheila Schweitzer. She told me: You can write. She said, ‘I can’t put you in the honors class because of a conflict in your schedule.’ But she said, ‘You are going to sit in the course the entire year. You are going to ignore everything I do on the blackboard.’ What she was really saying to me was: You’re going to thank me later.

Sure enough, 10 years later, I went back to her classroom when I got my first novel published, and I said, ‘My name is Brad Meltzer, and this novel is written for you.’ And she was crying.  I said, ‘Why are you crying?’ And she said, ‘I was going to retire this year because I didn’t think I was having an impact anymore.’ And I said, ‘You changed my life.’ My life was changed by an English teacher who took a chance on me.

That is such a great story.

True story. Can’t make it up.

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You ended up going to law school though, correct?

I didn’t go to law school for plot ideas or to write political thrillers. I went to law school because I was terrified. I was terrified of having the life my father had and shoveling for money all the time. I just figured if the writing thing never worked out, I wanted something to fall back on because my father never had anything to fall back on.

I will say, I found the law interesting and it showed me how the world works – where the strings are in the universe. I remember the first day I sat down in law school, the dean got up in front up everyone and said, ‘Open up any newspaper, and any story that is on the front page – a lawyer is involved in that story.’ I will never forget that moment.

Were you writing while you were in law school?

I was. I graduated college at the University of Michigan, and I had debt to pay off because my parents couldn’t get me the whole way through. A guy in Boston said to me, ‘I want to be your mentor. I want to take you under my wing. I want to teach you all the ways of the world.’  He said, ‘Move yourself to Boston. And if you love the job, you’ll stay. If you hate the job, you’ll leave after a year with some money in your pocket.’ So I moved everything to Boston, and the week I got to Boston, he left the job. I thought in that moment I had wrecked my life. So I did what anyone would do when they thought they had wrecked their life. I said: I am going to write a novel.

(Laughs)

And the first novel I wrote, I got 24 rejection letters. There were only 20 publishers at the time, and I got 24 rejection letters. So some wrote to me twice to make sure I got the point. So I figured if they didn’t like that book, I would write another. If they didn’t like that one, I would write another. It was my second book that became my first published book: The Tenth Justice.

What was it like to face that rejection?

I am stubborn. The moment they said I couldn’t do it, all I wanted to do was do it. I think it is why Glenn and I have always gotten along – we have a real commitment to what we believe in. And the moment anybody says, ‘It’s not possible,’ is the moment where we kind of double down and say, ‘This is it.’

thebookoflies-128x230

Can I ask you how you first met Glenn?

We met when he was on CNN. He had me on for one of my first books. He just liked my thrillers. We hit it off, of course.

But we became real friends when we discovered our mutual love of Superman. I wrote a book about the origins of Superman, and where Superman came from. And I went to the house where Superman was created and it was in disrepair. I wanted to help repair it, and Glenn said, ‘I want to help you with that.’ And he gave us the platform to really promote the book to America.

The house needed a new roof. And we ended up raising – in one month – over $100,000. A few Christmas’ back I got a Christmas card from the family that lived there that said, ‘Thank you for saving our house, Brad. This is the first Christmas where there is no water coming in, no snow coming in from the roof.’

Glenn and I really bonded over that mutual love of a real hero of ours. And we have just been friends ever since.

Your writings cover a wide range of topics and genres – from fiction to nonfiction to comics! Where do you look for inspiration?

For me, everything that I work on has the same exact theme. It is my core belief. I believe that ordinary people change the world. I don’t care where you went to school or how much money you make – that’s nonsense to me. I believe in ordinary people and their ability to change this world. So whether I writing a thriller set in the White House or a kids’ book about Abraham Lincoln or a comic book about Superman, they all reflect my belief of the power of an ordinary person. To me, the most important part of the story is never Superman. The most important part of the story is Clark Kent. We all know what it is like to be Clark – to be boring and ordinary and want to be somebody beyond ourselves.

heroesformyson-140x142You have spoken with Glenn on radio about the importance of offering kids real heroes to look up – not the reality stars and celebrities we idolize today. Is that what drives you to write your books?

On the day I was born, my dad went to the liquor store and bought a bottle of champagne and said, ‘I am going to open this bottle on the day my son Brad gets married.’ When my dad lost his job, he threw all our stuff in a moving van. But there is some stuff you never put in a moving van. When we drove from New York to Florida, behind the headrests he put two bottles of champagne – one for me and one for my sister. My parent’s didn’t know anything about taking care of champagne. They were rolling back and forth and in the Florida sun. But we were their lives and they took care of us.

What was amazing to me was years later, when my kids were born, I said, ‘I don’t care about champagne. What I want to do is write a book for them that will last their whole lives.’ And that is where Heroes for My Son and Heroes For My Daughter came from. They are profiles of American heroes like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, and Mr. Rodgers.

heroesformydaughter-140x143As my kids got a little older, I realized I needed to tell even more of their stories. I was so tired of my kids looking at reality TV show stars and loudmouth athletes and thinking of them as a hero. I said to them, ‘That’s being famous, and being famous is very different than being a hero.’ And that’s when I decided to do illustrated children’s books that tell the story of Abraham Lincoln and Amelia Earhart. But not just the stories you know. It is the stories of when they were kids – the story of Amelia Earhart when she was 7-years-old, Abraham Lincoln when he was 10-years-old. And as a result, you see the power and the potential that is in all of us. That’s where I am Abraham Lincoln and I am Amelia Earhart were born.

Your books offer historical stories that aren’t necessarily mainstream. What is the research process like?

You know, I found this amazing place. It’s called the library.

(Laughs)

I honestly think what happens today is we are so used to going and looking for things on the Internet. The Internet is a beautiful, powerful tool. But anyone who has ever tried to do research on the Internet knows it is filled with noise and filled with mistruths. I try as hard as I can to go back to the original sources.lincoln-140x140

There is a story of Abraham Lincoln as a little boy. He came upon a group of boys that were torturing turtles. He loved animals, and he had to figure out what he was going to do in that moment. He stands up to the bullies and saves the turtles. And I tell that story because a professor and Abraham Lincoln scholar sent me that story and the original sources – letters written by people who knew Abraham Lincoln. And it is amazing what we found. It was a story that I never found in any Abraham Lincoln book. It had been buried over the years.

HistoryDecoded-final-cover-1-140x140What was it to work on your History Channel series Decoded in addition to all the writing you do?

The fun part of that is it let’s me do the things I can’t cover in the books. The TV show feeds my own love of history. And the research we do on the TV show ends up feeding the novels. You will see we did a show on Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and then the next book that I did was about a conspiracy theory where you find out all of the presidential assassins – from John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald – were all working for secret cause. They were not lone wolfs, but working for a secret society. Obviously, I made that last part up for my thriller, but all the research in the book is real. And I get to have that research because of some of the work we do on the TV show.

I read on your website that you were once recruited by the Department of Homeland Security to talk about terrorism and things of that nature –

Yeah, a few years ago I got a call from the Department of Homeland Security. They said they wanted me to come in and brainstorm different ways terrorists could attack the United States. My first though was: If they are calling me, we have bigger problems than anybody thinks!

Seriously!

But I was honored to be part of what they called the Red Cell Program. They brought together what they labeled ‘out of the box thinkers,’ and they paired me with a Secret Service agent. They would give us a target – like a major city – and they would ask us to destroy it. Within a half hour we would find a way in or we would find a way to destroy it. It’s not one of those days where you go home feeling good. You go home feeling terrified because you see how easy it is to kill us. It is one of those moments where you sit back and realize how blessed you have been because that is a crazy way to spend a day of work.

Not many people can say they have been asked to destroy a major city by the U.S. government.

Not only that. They asked me for other ones as though I was on to something. They were basically saying: You’re good at this. And that’s scarier!

Switching topics a little bit, GlennBeck.com’s managing editor, Wilson Garrett, is a huge comic book fan and a big fan of yours. He would kill me if I didn’t ask you about your work in the genre and what that process is like. 

FINAL-Fifth-Assassin_HC_Brad-MeltzerYou will have to thank him for me! I really appreciate that.

When you write a novel, you have one palette to paint with. And that palette is words. You use different permutations to tell your story, but you are still painting with one palette. When you write a comic book, you have a whole new palette – pictures. You have to learn how to shut up. You have to let the pictures tell the story.

When I write a comic book, I will tell the artist everything I want him to draw. I will tell him in panel one I want to be up close to Superman’s face. In panel two, stay close to his face and pay attention to the sweat crawling down is forehead. In panel three, I want to be really close on his forehead and the sweat crawl. In panel four I want a little tiny bead of sweat coming down the Man of Steel’s face. And now I haven’t used a single word, but you know he is nervous because you see that single bead of sweat. The beautiful part of writing a comic book is that you get to lean on that new palette of using pictures.

To write the word S-U-P-E-R-M-A-N and get to put words in Superman’s mouth is a really cool day of work.

Can I assume that Superman is your favorite superhero? 

My favorite superhero is actually Batman because I will never be Superman. I will never have lasers fly out of my eyes or lift a car over my heads. But Batman is just a stubborn guy in a costume committed to a cause. And you know what? I can do that.

Do you have any writers that you personally admire or read?

It’s funny, I don’t read thrillers anymore because I end up taking them apart and trying to figure out how they were built. It’s like a mechanic driving a rental car. I am just trying to figure out what is wrong with them.

I tend to read a lot of young adult books. I read a book called Wonder by R.J. Palacio that I just loved. It was about a boy who was trying to deal with going to a new “normal school.” And I read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I read The Book Thief, which I loved as well. I have been on a real young adult slant for a while.

But I read comic books. I read non-fiction. I read Lincoln biographies and Jefferson biographies... And just about anything else I can get my hands on.

Do have any projects you are working on right now that you can talk about? 

earhart-140x140Absolutely! We did I am Abraham Lincoln and I am Amelia Earhart. Now we are doing I am Rosa Parks, which will be out in June. And then we are doing I am Albert Einstein, which will be out in September. My real goal is not to just put out a book or two, but to help people build a library of heroes for their kids, their grandkids, their nieces and nephews. The long-term goal is we can give them heroes in America that they can be proud of. So those are the children’s projects.

At the same time, I am working on a new novel that will be a sequel to The Inner Circle and The Fifth Assassin.

That is something to look forward to! When you are now writing and traveling and working on your TV show, what do you like to do in your spare time?

For me, it is all about family. I love reading. I love history. I love going to movies and being entertained. But there is nothing to me that lives up to the hype of being a father. I have three children.

Before we finish up, we have a ‘lightening round’ that we like to include. One or two word answers will do. 

One word – got it!

What’s your favorite book?

To Kill a Mockingbird

What’s your favorite movie?

Shawshank Redemption

What’s your favorite TV show?

Come on! Decoded! Duh…

What’s your favorite food?

My mother’s chicken parmesan

What’s your favorite place to visit?

My old high school

Who is your favorite music artist?

Good one… If I have to name one I would say James Taylor takes me to my youth. I took my kids to the Billy Joel concert to show them what the previous generation thought was rock ‘n’ roll. And definitely Prince too.

--

Keep up with all of Brad's upcoming projects by 'liking' his Facebook page or visiting BradMeltzer.com. And be sure to check out Brad's new children's books I am Abraham Lincoln and I am Amelia Earhart and his latest thriller The Fifth Assassin.

Whatever happened to "do no harm?"

Last month, Glenn hosted a powerful Glenn TV special exposing malpractice and fudged consent standards among members in WPATH, the world's largest transgender health organization. Now that it's pride month, LGBTQ+ activists around the world are continuing their attempt to normalize life-altering transgender surgeries and hormone therapy as a legitimate option for minors experiencing gender confusion. However, as Glenn exposed in The Reckoning: Gender-Affirming Care, WPATH members are not only ideologically motivated to forego medical standards like "informed consent" to push transgender surgeries and hormone therapy on minors; they are financially incentivized to do so.

These "gender experts" are willing to bend the rules to do their dark work, and hospitals are turning a blind eye and rake in the cash. Here are 10 children's hospitals across the U.S. currently performing transgender procedures on minors:

1. Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

We provide services including pubertal suppression, menstrual suppression, hormone therapy, and referrals for gender-affirming surgery.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Gender Development Clinical Services page

2. Children’s Wisconsin

The most common care plans include ongoing psychological, emotional or social support. In some cases, our services may include reversible puberty-suppressing hormone therapy, gender-affirming hormone therapy and speech/voice training

Children's Wisconsin Gender Health Clinic page

3. Connecticut Children’s Hospital

The Division of Plastic Surgery at Connecticut Children’s offers surgical options for gender affirmation to individuals who have documented and persistent gender dysphoria. Gender incongruence occurs when a person’s sex assigned at birth does not correspond to the gender with which they identify. Gender affirmation operations are a group of surgical procedures that may be appropriate for transgender and gender diverse people to help affirm their gender identity.

Connecticut Children’s Hospital Gender Affirmation Surgery page

4. Doernbecher Children’s Hospital: Oregon Health and Science University

Our clinic accepts new patients through age 18. Our pediatricians, pediatric endocrinologists, adolescent medicine doctors and psychologists specialize in providing team-based care for children and teens.

Doernbecher Children’s Hospital: Doernbecher Gender Services

5. Golisano Children’s Hospital; associated with the University of Rochester Medicine

Gender Health Services coordinates with other divisions and departments to provide personal comprehensive care for our youth and young adults through age 26.
-Cross-gender Hormone Therapy: Gender Health Services provides cross-gender hormone therapy. We consult as needed with Pediatric or Adult Endocrinology
-Pubertal Blockade
-Mental Health Assessment: Referrals and coordinated care
-Surgical Services: Referrals and coordination of care (as medically necessary)Gender-affirming Top -Surgery: Plastic Surgery or Breast Surgery
-Vocal Therapy: Speech Pathology

Golisano Children’s Hospital: Gender Health Services

6. NYU Langone’s Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital

We help children and their families understand and explore their identity, with the goal of helping them achieving a true and nuanced sense of self. We want children to understand and value themselves, so that they can develop the confidence to talk with others about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

NYU Langone’s Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital Gender & Sexuality Service page

7. Seattle Children’s Hospital

We accept new patients ages 9 to 17.75 at the time of referral who have already started puberty. Patients ages 17.75 and older and patients who have not yet started puberty will be directed to community resources. Our clinic primarily provides gender-affirming medical care (such as puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormones).

Seattle Children’s Hospital Gender Clinic page

8. Stanford Medicine Children’s Health

This multidisciplinary clinic provides medical services for gender nonconforming youths and their families in one central location. The expert members of the Gender Clinic team consists of providers from pediatric endocrinology, adolescent medicine, pediatric urology and social services, supporting each child’s or adolescent’s gender identity. All our providers are members of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health Pediatric and Adolescent Gender Clinic page

9. St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital

DSD (Differences in sexual development) encompasses conditions in which a person is born with sexual and/or reproductive anatomy that is not consistent with typical definitions of male or female anatomy. This may include atypical or ambiguous genitalia, unusual chromosome patterns, or differences in internal reproductive or urinary organ development. Our team provides hormonal therapy, mental health evaluation, and surgical consultations for patients with DSD.

St. Luke's Children's Essence Clinic page

10. University of Illinois Hospital

We are here to work with you to determine how to best meet your goals of external gender presentation. We want you to feel and be as prepared as possible while you take these important steps towards surgery.

University of Illinois Hospital Gender Affirming Surgery page

Why is my name on this deep state-backed Ukraine 'disinformation watch list'?

Chris Williamson / Contributor, Janos Kummer / Stringer | Getty Images

Editor's note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

On Thursday, Texty.org, a so-called independent media outlet with an editor-in-chief who has ties to the U.S. State Department, placed dozens of American politicians, activists, and media outlets — including Blaze Media and myself — on a list of those who have allegedly shared Russian disinformation and anti-Ukrainian statements. The outlet published an article titled, "Roller Coaster: From Trumpists to Communists. The forces in the U.S. impeding aid to Ukraine and how they do it."

We have a color revolution happening within our own country.

There are 75 individuals on the list with the nearly 400 entities that have opposed sending aid to Ukraine in its war against Russia. Blaze Media and I were mentioned on page 34 of a 47-page list.

The group admits it couldn’t establish direct, proven ties between most of the entities on the list and the Russian government or known Russian propagandists. Instead, it gathered “evidence” that these people and outlets have spread Russian disinformation by echoing key messages of Russian propaganda in their arguments for ending further aid to Ukraine.

Who exactly are the people behind Texty.org? Its cofounder Anatoly Bondarenko was involved in the "tech camp," a public diplomacy program established by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the State Department. The tech camp is very much part of the State Department’s efforts to foment “color revolutions” in other countries. They find “tech-savvy people” and show them how to build movements against their governments. That's what our State Department is doing. What a coincidence that the editor-in-chief and cofounder was trained by the State Department and has ties to USAID.

I did a "Glenn TV" special a few weeks ago about regime change. It's been the United States' policy for a very long time. We use covert CIA operations to go into foreign counties and influence policy, manipulate the foreign media, meddle with and topple governments. We never admit that we do these things. When asked, we say, "We didn't do that. What are you talking about?"

It begins with those in the government who want to overthrow a regime.

This strategy started with the Cold War, but nothing the CIA has pulled off comes even close to what its successor began doing: the United States government, including the CIA, NGOs, trade unions, and people like George Soros. They coordinate together to bring about color revolutions. The first one that was really successful was in the Middle East: the Arab Spring. I told my audience years ago that the Arab Spring had its roots in 20th-century communist revolutions. After the “Communist Manifesto” was written, there was the European spring, which was the communists’ attempt to overthrow all of Europe.

We've carried out color revolutions in the Middle East, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Ukraine is one of them. Here’s how they do it. The United States keeps its distance from the “dirty work” by going through NGOs and trade unions. They train and mobilize street movement — like the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots or the current pro-Palestinian protests. These movements are funded by the same people and seem to pop up every four years.

Their money and actions usually come at a time of massive civil unrest right before an election. There's some kind of government element at the top — whether it be the CIA, the State Department, or USAID — but ultimately the office of the president calls the shots.

It begins with those in the government who want to overthrow a regime, and then the operation is privatized to give it distance from those in the government who are in charge.

This is where NGOs like the National Endowment for Democracy come in. The National Endowment for Democracy is composed of four different entities: the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, and the Center for International Private Enterprise. Do you see what's happening here? It appears that the National Endowment for Democracy is composed of organizations from both sides of the aisle so it looks fair: Republican and Democrat, labor and private enterprise. But this is a bipartisan “cover story.”

Next on the food chain are the multibillion-dollar financiers and their organizations that partner in the entire operation. This is where George Soros comes in along with his organizations, the Open Society Foundations, and the Tides Foundation, which spread the message coming from the top: “Demonstrate in the streets!” They influence the media to report what the government wants to communicate to the masses.

This is the color revolution blueprint. We've done it many times, and I make the case that these same people are doing it here in America.

So, why am I on this list? I believe I'm on this list because I’m telling you exactly what’s happening.

We have a color revolution happening within our own country. Our government, NGOs, George Soros, and all the same actors used to initiate color revolutions abroad are now initiating a color revolution within the U.S.

This is what they've practiced in foreign nations, tested in 2020, and are doing right now ahead of the November presidential election. They might succeed this time because they can't have Donald Trump as president again. If he wins, you will have the government, the media, and the masses in street movements all saying that the election was illegitimate. This is how we've brought about regime change in foreign nations, and now it is being attempted on our own soil.

Top FIVE public figures calling out woke mob

Patrick McDermott / Stringer, Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff, Cooper Neill / Contributor | Getty Images

As Glenn says, there is balance in all things. The further the pendulum swings one way, the stronger the counter-force grows.

For the past decade, the pendulum has been swinging left so fast that it has been hard to keep up with. What's considered progressive and woke one day is suddenly old-fashioned and intolerant the next. Fortunately, many people (such as yourself) have seen the writing on the wall and have taken a stand against the woke mob that drags us closer and closer to tyranny, despite personal risk.

Some of these people have taken a stand despite being in the public eye, at the height of their careers, and having everything to lose. For these people, it would have been easier (not to mention more profitable) to stay quiet, keep their heads down, and do what they're told. But they didn't. Instead, they risked it all to make a stand against wokism. This is where we see the tide turning, the pendulum slowing, and perhaps starting to swing the other way. This is where we begin to take America back.

These are the top five public figures who have recently made a stand against the woke mob:

Harrison Butker

In his now famous commencement address to the graduating class of 2024 at Benedictine College, Kansas City Chief Kicker, Harrison Butker stood up for his religious values (and assumingly, the values of the students at this Catholic College). Butker criticized the president and media for perpetuating "degenerate values" and promoted traditional family values. For this, he was vilified by the media.

Jerry Seinfeld

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld has come under fire for defending his values several times over the last several months. During his commencement speech at Duke University that made the rounds on the internet a few weeks ago, Seinfeld was met with protests and walkouts by the pro-Palestine crowd due to his public support of Israel. Seinfeld has also received criticism for an interview with the New Yorker during which he blamed "the extreme left and P.C. crap" for the absence of quality comedy on television.

Joe Mazzulla

The NBA finals between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics are the hot sporting event at the moment. The head coach of the Celtics, Joe Mazzulla, is an outspoken Catholic and speaks frequently about his faith. In a recent interview, Mazzulla was asked if he felt that it was significant that the head coaches for both teams were black, to which he responded "I wonder how many of those have been Christian coaches?"

Aaron Rodgers

NFL Quarterback Aaron Rodgers caught flack in 2021 for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine and going on air to defend his decision. He also criticized "woke culture" for being so easily offended. Rodgers has admitted that he lost money, friends, and media allies on a podcast with Joe Rogan since becoming outspoken about his beliefs. Rogers has continued to be vocal over issues concerning the vaccine and has championed other athletes who have spoken against vaccination.

Russell Brand

UK actor and comedian Russell Brand has faced recent criticism from the mainstream media for speaking his mind on several controversial issues. Brand started during the pandemic when he began posting videos on his YouTube channel that were critical of the way governments across the world were handling the crisis. Since then, Brand has defended his stance on COVID-19, called out woke corporations, and even converted to Christianity.

10 lessons on prepping from around the world

NurPhoto / Contributor | Getty Images

Prepping is a human condition practiced across the globe for thousands of years. Customs are influenced by geography, culture, politics, and threat. Here are ten applicable observations on preparedness from around the world.

1. Argentina: Get hard.

Fernando “Ferfal” Aguirre’s The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse is required reading for preppers, and it’s chock-full of real-life lessons from his experiences during Argentina's 2001 economic crisis. But the very first thing he starts with is preparing your body and your mind so you’re not a soft target. Stop being soft. Do difficult things to develop your body and your mind. Go camping. Hit the gym. Get in shape! It’ll do wonders for your health, survivability, and confidence.

Take home point: here’sa simple weightlifting plan that most able-bodied adults can perform. Learn to stand up straight and act confident. Get your dental and health problems fixed while you can—don’t put it off for after stuff hits the fan.

2. Netherlands: Involve the kids!

The motto of the Boy Scouts of America is “Be Prepared” and the organization has taught boys wilderness and practical skills for over 100 years. The Dutch have their own version of inculcating confidence in their children via a cultural tradition known as Dutch Dropping. Kids, starting around the age of 11-12, are dropped off in the forest alone or in small groups at night with minimal gear and instructed to find their way home or to the campsite with ZERO adult assistance. Some nights are tough and miserable, but overall, the practice instills independence, decision-making skills, and is widely practiced.

Take home point: instill grit and self-confidence in your children early.

3. Israel: Always be prepared.

Entire books could be dedicated to the 10/7 attack, but the key takeaway is this: no one saw it coming. The folks attending the Supernova music festival expected a fun party, and what they got instead was hell. Israel is a bit of a special case, but the reality is you never know when a mass shooter or other disaster will strike. Never get too intoxicated, never let your guard down too much, because you never know when your life will change forever.

Take home point: you don’t have to live on hyper-alert (that is grossly unhealthy) but keep your wits about you and have a plan if things go south.

4.Taiwan: Grassroots communities are the best.

I-HWA CHENG / Contributor | Getty Images

Post-COVID and especially after the start of the Russia-Ukraine War, prepping has exploded in Taiwan. Fearing an imminent blockade and invasion, the Taiwanese have recognized their precarious position. Prepper groups have sprung up across the island and vary in their focus from all-hazards to gear geeks to weaponized resistance forces training with airsoft guns. Skills taught are varied; examples include building an emergency kit, learning first aid, and basic survival proficiencies.

However, some groups go much further and provide instruction on military simulations. Participants run the political gamut and are highly varied in their professions, reflecting a massive cross-section of the island. One common theme that appears across these groups is the adage that disaster can happen at any moment and can consist of assorted hazards. The April 2024 severe earthquake is proof positive of this understanding.

Take home point: community resilience is vital!

5. Bosnia: Get your ham radio license.

During the Bosnian War of the early 1990s, ham radio operators like Himzo Devedzija helped separated families stay in touch via radio. These days, the ubiquity of the internet and smartphones has made ham radio seem obsolete, but radio has a key advantage over more modern and user-friendly tech: it requires practically no infrastructure. Hook a radio up to a battery connected to a solar panel, throw a wire over a tree, and you’re in business. Master digital modes like Winlink and you can even send email over the air. The downside is the equipment is expensive, and you need to take tests with the FCC to obtain the necessary licenses. Your best bet is to contact yournearest ham radio club, who can help prepare you for the tests and recommend the best equipment for your area. But you can do a lot of interesting things even without a license, like listen to worldwide HF transmissions and learn how to track down radio transmitters through foxhunting.

Take home point: pick up a hobby, even if it’s not ham and make it FUN!

6. Russia: Plant a garden.

While the leadership of Russia is commonly maligned, the Russian people are damn tough. They’ve survived Genghis Khan, famines, a communist revolution, and total government collapse. One secret to Russian resiliency? Dacha gardens, which the Russian people have maintained for over 1,000 years. These small backyard gardens account for 3% of Russia’s land but provide over 50% of the country’s food, including 92% of potatoes, 77% of vegetables, 87% of fruit, 59% of meat, and 49% of milk. You don’t have to grow everything overnight, but simply starting with a single raised bed of lettuce and maybe a handful of chickens will give you invaluable real-world experience you can scale when the chips are down.

Take home point: build your resilience in bite-sized (pun intended) chunks.

7. Cyprus: Diversification saves.

During the 2013 financial crisis in Cyprus, Germany agreed to bail out the island, but with some characteristic German austerity: a tax of 6.75 percent from insured deposits up to €100,000 and a 9.9 percent from uninsured amounts over €100,000. People panicked, and Cyprus had to shut down banks for two weeks to avoid a run. Ultimately, depositors lost nearlyhalf of their savings. The crisis in Cyprussparked Bitcoin’s meteoric rise from obscure nerd money to a financial titan as the savvy rich realized that they couldn’t trust the banks. Of course, there are alternative places to store wealth other than a bank, but as for your liquid capital, it pays to diversify. Keep some in cash, Bitcoin, and precious metals.

Take home point: your mother was right, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

8.Japan: Government CAN be helpful.

KAZUHIRO NOGI / Contributor | Getty Images

Japan overall, and Tokyo specifically, take disaster preparedness quite seriously. The 2024 New Years Day earthquake hammered that point home, yet again. At the national level, the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force is habitually prepared to respond to calamity; everything from earthquakes to typhoons to tsunamis.

As a country, September 1st is nationally designated as Disaster Prevention Day, commemorating the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake which claimed 140,000 lives. School children, businesses, theme parks, and members of the national government participate annually. At the municipal level, Tokyo publishes a very thorough and thoughtful pamphlet on preparedness for its residents (English link here:https://www.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/english/guide/bosai/index.html). Tokyo also boasts the massive Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park, near downtown, that is used both as a tourist attraction and an actual disaster response site.

Take home point: remembrance, codified in national action and tribute, contributes to a culture of preparedness.

9. Finland, Switzerland, Israel: Bunkers aren't mainstream, but the concept is widespread.

You would really have to be a tinfoil hat wearing loon to invest in a bunker, right? Wrong. Switzerland mandates either a personal bunker or a tax for a space in a public bunker. In 2023, Finland ascertained it had over 50,000 bunkers, enough to shelter nearly 90% of its population. For these countries, the shelters are due to nuclear fears. Israeli law stipulates residential homes should possess a Merkhav Mugan (translation: protected space) to protect from conventional rocket and mortar attacks. Some countries and some areas are at higher risk for conventional or nuclear attack. It is folly to ignore this.

Take home point: the need for a nuclear bunker at home should not be a top prepping priority, but many areas of the US could greatly benefit from a reinforced room (e.g. panic room, tornado, or hurricane shelter) to mitigate threats.

10. United Kingdom, Canada, Australia: International preparedness is growing.

Although the tide is turning (slowly), one negative export from America on prepping, especially to the Western World, is that prepping is fringe and even anti-social, if not downright dangerous. Fortunately, things are changing for the better. The United Kingdom is, at least anecdotally, seeing an uptick in interest. The reality series Alone Australia, a spin-off of the American show where survivalists test their wits in nature, is a hit. A December 2023 survey of Canadians found 7% considered themselves preppers with British Columbia reporting the highest levels. Given wildfires, home prices, and general angst regarding a host of potential crises, it’s not hard to see why many are changing their views regarding preparedness.

Take home point: prepping has been a human staple for millennia; the world is rediscovering this and taking action.

About the authors:

Josh Centers has no masters degrees, but he does own four chickens along with some meat rabbits on his Tennessee compound. He runs unprepared.life, the best-selling Substack newsletter on preparedness, where he discusses subjects like food storage, nuclear war preparations, homeschooling, and the importance of cleaning your dryer vents. His views absolutely do not reflect the views of the Department of Defense or the Army.

Dr. Chris Ellis has four masters degrees and earned his PhD at Cornell University. He is a Colonel in the Army who specializes in a variety of disaster and homeland defense initiatives. His views are from his studies and experience and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense, the Army, or his current command. Sadly, Chris does not own any chickens.