As a former sailor who also is a wilderness survival buff, I would say that this book is mandatory reading for anyone anticipating a potential survival situation, particularly anyone making an extended yachting voyage. I was immediately struck by how the inclusion of two simple items in his survival gear, the solar stills and the speargun, saved his life. Obviously he asked himself the question when packing his survival kit, "what do I need to get myself out of the worst possible situation?". This question is essential in preparing for any potential survival situation. Even when going on a day hike in the mountains, I carry enough equipment to survive any situation.
I was also struck by the fact that a well equipped yachtsman of today would probably never encounter this situation, now that satellite (406MHz) EPIRBS, once activated, can report your exact position in about 15-20 minutes, and a rescue ship would be underway shortly thereafter. The author had an old, crude type of EPIRB that could only send signals to nearby planes, assuming that there were any. It was also fascinating that although he had flares, the ships he fired them at never saw them, which illustrates the fact that these ships are often on autopilot and no one is watching the water. I would urge anyone taking an extended ocean voyage to have a 406MHz EPIRB (not a 121.5 MHz EPIRB as the primary!), backup communication devices (VHF radio, satellite phone, second EPIRB), as well as one of the small hand-pump desalinators. These items are not cheap, but what is the value of your life?
Regarding the literary value of the book, I was somewhat less than impressed. It was written in a log entry form, probably taken directly from his own survival diary. Also, he apparently never had the spiritual epiphany that would be expected of an individual in that situation.