Review: Forrest Griffin – Be Ready When The Sh*t Goes Down

On the heels of the New York Times best-selling title ‘Got Fight?’, former UFC light-heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin and veteran author Erich Krauss have returned with a new book, ‘Be Ready When the Sh*t Goes Down’.

Although it’s meant to be a guide to surviving the impending apocalypse, it’s really a humor book with a smattering of Forrest’s typical anecdotes and insight.

From cleaning up the bathroom rug after a rapid-fire bowel movement (“While in midair, you fire-hose everything in sight. I’m taking the floor, the bathroom curtain, and the fluffy horseshoe toilet mat that your wife adores.”) to fantasizing what commerce would be like if shit became currency (“I always thought that if enough people thought shit was gold, you could start crapping in a bag and spending it at the grocery store.”), the fecal humor makes readers wonder if Forrest isn’t related somehow to Peter Griffin from ‘Family Guy.’

Flashbacks to Griffin’s actual life occur just enough to tease out a more interesting storyline and remind us of just how much of a struggle life can be for some Americans. For instance, Griffin tells a story about nearly being mauled by a dog as a child and requiring stitches, but without any health insurance, he made do with his mother cleaning and dressing the wound with a standard first-aid kit. In another case, he references watching ‘Good Will Hunting’ 50,000 times in college while living in a shitty one-room apartment. For all the advice on dealing with post-apocalyptic dangers like lawlessness, starvation and nuclear fallout, nothing really holds the reader’s interest compared to the insight Forrest has to share about his own early origins.

It’s fun to read about how to deal with weapons jams, or understanding how to assess the flight or fight mechanism depending on the level of danger one is placed in. Unfortunately, there is bad news for any overzealous fan contemplating stalking or perhaps breaking into Griffin’s house at a future date: he keeps guns in every room and spends time every Sunday at the firing range fine-tuning his skills. In many ways, Forrest almost seems to be salivating at the prospect of someone coming to try and cross the line so he can show just how crazy he really is.

There’s nothing profound about ‘Be Ready When the Sh*t Goes Down.” There’s no real depth or direction to the story. It’s all living inside a Mad Max fantasy, with Forrest stretching off on tangents of his MMA training, time as a police officer, or even as a cub scout to describe how to survive. He explains over and over again that he’s not the most qualified person to take advice from, but in many ways, this is the same conclusion any reader should make from the first few chapters expecting realistic or practical advice on dealing with the very real problems posed by Armageddon.

This is not to suggest that ‘Be Ready’ won’t sell a ton of copies, or appeal to MMA fans looking for a funny read. As long as Forrest can find a niche for himself as the male version of Chelsea Handler, he’ll have an audience of eager fanboys prepared to agree with whatever he has to say. But often, Griffin’s thoughts and opinions expressed in the book reinforce the complaints of many people that he comes across as disconnected, smug and often unintelligible in his interviews.

So if you’re looking for something light and fluff-filled to read while on the toilet, this is your kind of book. You’ll find an endless number of sidebars, numbered lists and quick-hit factoids to keep your wheels spinning. And the next time you conduct a drive-by shooting, you might even spare yourself a lot of heartache by learning the correct way to hold a gun—wouldn’t that be something Forrest would approve of?