In my bug out bag I have one AR15, one pistol, iodine pills, ammo, a compass, maps, hand-powered radios and flashlights, a tent, and many many other things. Add to that now "The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Society from Scratch" by Dr. Lewis Dartnell.
In short this book is a how to manual to "reboot" society should a destructive event occur wiping out most of humanity and our technological advances along with it. It immediately caught my attention as I have often thought about this in terms of
"OK, I made it to my safe zone and survived, now what? I'm just an economist. I don't know anything about farming, agriculture, and only have a very basic understanding of chemistry and science. How would I rapidly as possible make the remainder of my life the least-labor intensive as possible?"
And this book addresses precisely that.
In an amazingly efficient manner, Dr. Dartnell boils down in a "Civilization"-video-game-Gantt-Chart way what key technologies should and CAN be recovered from the basic tools we'd have available in a post-apocalyptic world. With these basic "key" technologies, we can "leapfrog" other technologies recreating in a matter of two generations that took humankind 10,000 years to create the first time. While the topic is somber and morose, the book is actually quite encouraging, even hopeful, as it explains in a way the average person with average intelligence can understand how to scratch out a reasonably comfortable existence from the ashes of collapsed society.
There are of course drawbacks in taking on a task as broad as this. I didn't see a recipe for toothpaste. He doesn't provide specific instructions (measuring out units of ingredients to create say, gun powder) that will force some trial and error in the future. And he covers the construction of various machines in a general manner, providing no blue prints. The reason for this is obvious, the book would be 5,000 pages long. However, while it may take 4 months to perfect the ratio of the three ingredients to make gun powder, that is infinitely shorter than the 6,000 years it took civilized Chinese to discover it the first time.
In short, the book is a must for survivalists in that most survivalists do not merely wish to survive, but believe in life and believe in the future no matter how dire it may be. And to ensure there is a better future should a collapse occur, having a score or two of these books on the planet will indeed help reboot society and rapidly return the world to the standards of western civilization.