Book Review – MAGS: The People Part of Prepping

MAGS BookUntil recently, Charley Hogwood had been sending me articles on Mutual Assistance Groups (MAGS). Since this was something I was unfamiliar with, I took note and deeply pondered the information within the articles. In the last communication regarding MAGS, I was informed that Charley was actually finishing up a book on the subject.

I was excited when I was asked to take a look at the book and provide my thoughts. Being who I am, I enjoy seeing the success of those around me and because of that I looked forward to reading and providing a response. My excitement grew.

As I mentioned earlier, the subject matter had never crossed my mind, even though I consider myself someone who is currently preparing/prepping. While thumbing through the pages, it was clear to see the chapters were well thought out and the layout of the overall book was appealing as it could be read in portions based on what the reader was encountering at the moment.

One thing I noted from the start was the Forward written by Joe Alton, MD aka Dr. Bones. I am a fan, per se, of both he and Nurse Amy and a seal of approval from either of them makes me take careful notice of the subject they are endorsing.

Mr. Hogwood starts the book by discussing in great detail what exactly is a Mutual Assistance Group and why you need one or could use one. Here’s a little secret for you also. You can read part of this chapter and the Forward online on amazon.com. This will also ensure that you are familiar with the subject and can adequately decide whether you need this book or not. I will go ahead and tell you though, you need this book.

After determining what exactly a MAG is, the book continues on by discussing structure, size and even leadership styles which was something I hadn’t thought of but could be applied to my family group alone. This mixed with social interaction and even location, starts to build a great foundation of what the book is presenting.

Charley moves the reader along by discussing Roles and Responsibilities, which in my opinion is a huge focus area for this book. The reason I think this is because without designated roles or responsibilities there is chaos and, basically, anarchy. People need to know their place regardless of the role or responsibility because it keeps their mind busy and them a task to do. This is also talked about in the pages of MAGS.

The discussion continues with what you or a new group member can or should bring to the group itself. By providing examples and a smattering of humor here and there, MAGS shows the importance of why you should be of value to the group in one way shape or form as opposed to trying to enter a group with nothing. There is a section that discusses why you may bring someone in that has nothing more to offer than themselves.

Training, cohesion, contingency planning and even decision making carry the book forward to help the reader better understand the ins and outs of day-to-day living or activity within a group. Keep in mind that the book is designed for you as a member of a group whether you are starting a group or joining an existing group.

MAGS discussed communication plans and included a blank example of a comm plan in the Appendices, which in my opinion is a very valuable tool. A good communication plan can be used not just by having a formal version of one but very useful when holding meetings and having the discussions with members of the group itself.

As the book concludes with dealing with new members of a group, I think one of the other main focal points is how dealing with the outside world should be handled. Even though thoughts vary from person to person, a common theme within the pages of MAGS as well as discussions with other preparedness experts, is to be fair in all your dealings. Be fair when asking for something through bartering or providing something whether goods or services.

In dealing with people on a regular basis, I know this is a very valid and key point because I can’t count the number of times where I have seen people with the “WIIFM”, what’s in it for me, attitude only to come up always on the short side of things. I know things change if everything goes south, or as a friend of mine says, “EOW”, end of the world, but that doesn’t mean we have to revert to a Neanderthalic mentality. We are humans and as such we need to be treated fairly. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule but do the best you can with this one.

The Appendices is loaded with things like a Glossary and other resource and reference material along with the aforementioned Communications Plan.

It comes down to a very simple decision. Whether you are currently looking for like minded preppers to join or thinking about starting your own survival group, this book is for you. Keep in mind, some of the information provided in the pages of MAGS is good for day-to-day dealings as well whether it be with family or co-workers or even general business dealings. MAGS will prove to be a very wise and valuable investment.

  • FACTS:
  • Pages: 305
  • Paperback List Price: $19.99 – Currently $16.17 on amazon.com
  • Kindle Edition: $8.99

Charley can also be found on Twitter as @shoestringprep

Until then,

Use your instincts to survive