Mendon author chronicles tales of survival


By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer

Mendon author Michael Tougias has published over 30 books.Photo/Lindsey Potter
Mendon author Michael Tougias has published over 30 books.
Photo/Lindsey Potter

MENDON –  Author Michael Tougias is intrigued by stories of triumph. He interviewed over 100 people who survived harrowing experiences and shares their resiliency in his recent book, “Extreme Survival: Lessons from Those Who Have Triumphed Against All Odds.”


Harrowing ordeals

“I’ve spent over thirty years writing books about amazing stories of survival and my favorite part of the process was interviewing the survivors,” Tougias wrote in the book’s introduction. “I learned the details, not only of their harrowing ordeal, but also of how they eventually triumphed in face of overwhelming odds against them. They succeeded where the rest of us might think, I could never have made it.” 

In this book, Tougias shares real-life situations. He instinctively coaxes the reader to think about what they would have done and how some of the survival strategies could be implemented in their own lives, depending on a given situation. Even though many of these survival stories are different, Tougias discovered that some of the techniques used were the same and those likenesses became the core of this book. He believes in the power of little steps.

“When I feel overwhelmed by a project, I break it down into smaller pieces. I focus solely on the chapter I’m writing,” he explained. “When I’m done with a chapter, I take a break. Extreme survivors taught me that you can get overwhelmed when thinking about how much work you have in front of you, and that the best approach is to focus on just the next hour or two.” 

At the end of each chapter, Tougias shares Survivor Lessons for Your Life, which are very thought provoking as well as motivating. One example is “If you think there is no aspect of your situation that is in your control, think again. You always have control over one factor: your reaction.”


Multiple best sellers

The most recent book by author Michael Tougias involved interviewing over 100 people who survived harrowing experiences.
The most recent book by author Michael Tougias involved interviewing over 100 people who survived harrowing experiences.

He often writes about adventure and travel and has written and coauthored over 30 books, some for adults and others for the Young Adult market. His best sellers include “The Finest Hours,” also made into Disney Motion Pictures’ movie version in 2016, “Fatal Forecast,” “Overboard,” “King Phillip’s War,” “There’s A Porcupine in My Outhouse: The Vermont Misadventures of a Mountain Man Wannabe” and more. 

Tougias has quite a rigorous speaking schedule and encourages the public to attend. His speaking engagements have included the Maine Maritime Museum, North Platte, Nebraska Lecture Series, Survival Lessons Program, the U.S. Coast Guard in Tampa, Florida among many others. He has also been featured on television on “Chronicle,” “Fox and Friends,” and The Travel Channel, as well as National Public Radio and has made numerous business and college presentations. 

He and Adam Gamble recently co-authored a book titled, “The Power of Positive Fishing” that depicts a 25-year friendship developed at sea and the power of male friendship through difficult times. 

“One friend can make a huge difference in a person’s life. Everyone needs a friend with whom they can be themselves with,” said Tougias. 

Love for the outdoors

Tougias does not like to take himself too seriously and considers himself to be low maintenance. His love of the outdoors is reflected in his writing and in his free time he will often immerse himself outdoors. Whitewater kayaking, biking and walking through the woods brings him peace. 

At the age of 22, he purchased a rustic cabin on a lake in Northern Vermont. There is no plumbing except for an outhouse but he loves it. A lot of his writing is done there. He hopes to bring his nine-month-old granddaughter, Robin, there to create wonderful memories. 

Tougias grew up in Longmeadow and divides his time now between Mendon and Florida. He has been writing now full time for over 20 years and could not be happier. 

“While writing is challenging, I love the research. I can go three months without writing a word,” he noted. “I had three new books released, all written during the Covid lockdown, so I made good use of being isolated and my usual 80 presentations a year went down to zero, so I had time. ‘Abandon Ship’ is part of the two kids’ series I have, with nine books in total. One is called ‘True Rescue Series’ and the other is the ‘True Survival Series,” said Tougias. 

There is no slowing down at the moment for the 68-year-old author. “There is no age discrimination in writing. I plan on doing this for a long time,” he said. 

For more information about the author visit   



Marlborough author celebrates the publication of her 25th book (

Worcester author chronicles one of Revolutionary War America’s most notorious crimes (

Massachusetts is the perfect home for ‘Wicked’ author Gregory Maguire (