Spirko's background is based on a variety of military, technical, marketing and sales skills. Prior to taking The Survival Podcast to a full-time business he held a variety of positions both as an employee and as a business owner.
- 1990 - 1993 - Spirko served in the United States Army as a Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic (63S) where he was also airborne qualified and listed as an expert rifleman. He served in various overseas tours including in Honduras and Panama.
- 2011 - 2013 - In 2011 due to large numbers of business related questions on his Survival Podcast, Spirko set up a second podcast about building a business called Five Minutes with Jack. Business ownership is one of Spirko's tenets of true independence. The show has over 100 episodes but is on "permanent hiatus" meaning there may or may not be any future episodes. Spirko has committed to keeping the site and the episodes available in the future. He feels that the material presented is sufficient for anyone looking to get a business off the ground.
- 2008–Present - The Survival Podcast
- 2013–Present - PermaEthos
The Survival Podcast
Spirko founded The Survival Podcast in June 2008. During the first 18 months of the show (June 2008 - December 2009), Spirko recorded the show during his 55-mile commute from his personal mobile studio a 2006 Jetta Diesel TDI. The show quickly grew in popularity attracting about 2,000 daily listeners by the end of 2008, by the end of 2009 the show was being listened to by close to 15,000 people daily. At that time, Spirko decided to make the show a full-time endeavor. As of December 2014, the show attracts over 500,000 daily listeners and is referred to by Spirko as his "life's work" and his "true calling". The subtitle of The Survival Podcast is "Helping You Live a Better Life, If Times Get Tough Or Even If they Don't."
Spirko calls himself a "modern survivalist" and claims to have coined the phrase as well. His assertion is that all humans are at their core survivalists as they all seek to survive. Modern survivalism differs from the conventional concept of survivalism or preparedness in that it does not turn away from modern technology, rather it simply seeks to create redundancies for when technology fails.
Additionally modern survivalism is very broad including aspects of homesteading, investing, economics, debt elimination, individual sovereignty, homeschooling, permaculture along with traditional survivalist concepts like primitive skills and military tactics and strategies combined with a Constitutional libertarian perspective. Spirko has been called the face of the modern survival movement by media personality Judge Andrew Napolitano.
Spirko also bases his methods on the following concepts:
- Threat probability
- Impact scale
- Commonality of disaster
- Normalcy bias
Unlike survivalists who make dire predictions about the imminent destruction of society, Spirko takes a more pragmatic approach:
Plan for disaster in the following order of priority – Personal-Localized-Regional-State-National-Global. Despite the real possibility of a true economic melt down or catastrophic terrorist attack or some other major global disaster the most probable “disaster” for any individual is personal. Loss of a job, loss of a family member, a fire or localized weather event are the most probable threats to impact any individual. So plan and prepare for those first, then continue to build going forward.
Spirko advocates permaculture within the preparedness and survivalist communities. His primary influence is derived from the work of Geoff Lawton and focuses heavily on earth works and polyculture implementation with a heavy leaning toward food forest systems.
Spirko's belief is that permaculture is a scientific system of design that should remain free of political ideology and new age mythology. His contention is that permaculture is an anti-political system; in support of which he cites permaculture's founder Bill Mollison's statement that, permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends.
Spirko has received his Permaculture Design Certification from Geoff Lawton and teaches several permaculture workshops a year and occasionally guest instructs at classes run by fellow permaculturists. He is currently working to build AgriTrue a libertarian alternative to USDA Organic certification that is devoid of government involvement. In 2013 he established a libertarian minded permaculture "ecovillage" and farm business he termed PermaEthos.
Podcasts and blogs
- Modern survivalism: "If times get tough, or even if then don't"
- "Debt is financial cancer"
- "Tax is theft"
- "You are in control of your life"