Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by William H. McRaven

(New York: Random House, 2015), 262

  • this book is the story of John Chatterton and John Mattera's search for the Golden Fleece, a 17th century pirate ship captained by Joseph Bannister
  • John Chatterton's principles for living from his time as a medic in Vietnam (86, 100):

    • If an undertaking was easy, someone else already would have done it.

    • If you follow in another's footsteps, you miss the problems really worth solving.

    • Excellence is born of preparation, dedication, focus, and tenacity; compromise on any of these and you become average.

    • Every so often, life presents a great moment of decision, an intersection at which a man must decide to stop or go; a person lives with these deicisons forever.

    • It is easiest to live with a decision if it is based on an earnest sense of right and wrong.

    • The guy who gets killed is often the guy who got nervous. The guy who doesn't care anymore, who has said, "I'm already dead—the fact that I live or die is irrelevant and the only thing that matters is the acoutning I give of myself," is the most formidable force in the world.

    • The worst possible decision is to give up.

    • Do it now. Tomorrow is promised dto no one. (added after Norwood's death while diving)

  • "Treasure shows you who you really are. It strips away every façade you've constructed, every story you believe about youself, and reveals the real you. If you are a miserable, lying, greedy, worthless fuck, treasure will tell you that. If you are a good and decent person, treasure will tell you that too. And you needn't find a single coin to know. It's enought to get close to treasure, to believe it wihtin reach, and you'll have your answer, but once it happens it can't be lied about and it can't be bullshitted away. For that reason, treasure is crisis, because what you get in the end is yourself." (145, the subtext in Carl Fismer's conversatin with John Mattera)
  • I was struck by how much historical research went into the search for shipwrecks, particularly the importance of getting to know and then thinking like the pirate Captain Joseph Bannister
  • Kurson: "I am convinced that treasure hunters are the best storytellers." (256)