The Essential Armchair Guidebook to Winning  
by Larry K. Richardson, Ph.D.
You'll never look at Survivor the same way again!My Facebook Page

Want to get the most out of viewing the CBS-TV reality series?

Wonder how Survivor strategies can help you win or lose in the jungle of life?

Ever toyed with the temptation to compete in the über-challenging game yourself?

Then The Essential Armchair Guidebook to Winning Survivor* (Brio Press) is the perfect book for you!

Learn the strategies of winning in the TV game—or in life—from persuasion communications and hostage negotiations expert Larry K. Richardson, Ph.D. From his perspective as a Survivor aficionado and interpersonal communications educator, Richardson breaks down the types of group dynamics and mind games at play in the competition, and he presents his findings in a humorous, easy-to-read format. In this 206-page guide, Richardson analyzes the first 21 seasons of Survivor, tracks the successful strategies of each season's winner, and reveals the do's and don'ts from the 371 players who have faced the Tribal Council.

The Essential Armchair Guidebook to Winning Survivor is available through, Barnes & Noble, and other fine booksellers.

*Not connected with CBS, SEG, their affiliates or sponsors



"Every episode of Survivor is a learning moment about human behavior in times of stress. It's a microcosm of human dynamics in today's society. It's also darn good fun!" —Larry Richardson

Larry Richardson holds an M.A. in Communications from California State University at Fullerton. He earned a Ph.D. Communications: Persuasion Theory from the University of Southern California, writing his dissertation on hostage negotiating, following extensive interviews with the FBI.

Richardson holds a third-degree black belt in karate and is particularly fascinated by the psychology, sociology and mind-body connection of extreme sports. A popular speaker and performer, Richardson wrote and directed "A Wild Boar in the Vineyard," a play on the life of the German reformer Martin Luther, which garnered a first prize from the Inland Theater League in Southern California. In addition to The Essential Armchair Guidebook to Winning Survivor, Richardson is author of How to Market Your Assisted Living Facility From Start-Up to Fill-Up, also available on He is president-owner of Senior Market Research Associates in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Larry's post-game analysis is available on his Facebook page the same night as the Survivor episode.

Survivor: The Essential Armchair Post-Game Analysis

Survivor "Philippines"
Final Episode

(December 16, 2012) Congratulations to Denise Stapley. Women rule Survivor yet again. This is the third season in a row with a female winner. Early in the show's history (S:6, 7, & 8) a woman won the game in three straight seasons, leading to the speculation that the nature of the competition favors the female style of play, and once again the "under the radar" strategy paid off. Obviously, Denise brought many skills to the game that served her well, but she did not call the shots when it came to determining the vote-off order. Lisa took the heat for that, and in the end she was chastised for it. I did not expect Denise to win, but she got six of the eight votes (Carter voted for Michael and RC voted for Lisa). Even Abi voted for Denise. I am again reminded that the selection of the game's winner is a popularity contest, where the person who ticked off the fewest jurors wins the game.

I was disgusted at the petty self-righteousness of some of the jurors, particularly Malcom, Abi, and Penner. I was rather surprised at Malcom's tantrum over Denise's betrayal, especially since he had refused to stand by her at the final four vote, when she pleaded with him to honor his alliance with her. Apparently it was OK for him to dump her, but not OK for her to dump him. Abi's declaration that her heart was broken was absurd. You can't call people idiots and morons and expect them to hunger for your company. As for Penner – this was his third attempt at survivor, so if he still has not figured out how to win, don't get huffy when someone else beats you to the finish line.

This was only the second time in Survivor history that every finalist in a three-way finish got at least one vote (the other time was S:15). In most seasons one of the three finalists goes scoreless with the jury – the true "goat" among the three. And, as many of you probably heard, this was the first time in Survivor history that one player participated in every tribal council held that season. It was Denise, making her a bone fide Survivor for sure.

Lisa agonized all season over the apparent necessity to check your integrity at the door when you play the game of Survivor. I know this is an on-going struggle for many players who think you simply cannot win the game if you are totally honest. Penner's 7th place finish might be a case in point. He spoke his real feelings when he declined to join Malcom and Lisa's alliance, and it cost him the game. But I am still convinced that you do not have to lie and backstab to win this game. The conduct of "Fabio" in S:21 is proof of that. He never told a lie all season long, and still won the game. (It did help that he won the last three immunity challenges). What do you think?

Finally, for those who felt sorry for Malcom, dry your tears, because he will be one of the returning players next season, along with 9 other previous players (few of which I even recognized when I read the list). So, now that the season is over, what am I going to do with myself for the next two months?


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