Yossi Ghinsberg

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yossi Ghinsberg
Yossi Ghinsberg speaking in 2016.
Yosseph Ghinsberg

(1959-04-25) 25 April 1959 (age 64)
Tel Aviv, Israel
EducationTel Aviv University
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker

Yosseph "Yossi" Ghinsberg (Hebrew: יוסי גינסברג) (25 April 1959) is an Israeli adventurer, author, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and motivational speaker, now based in Byron Bay, Australia.[1] Ghinsberg is most known for his survival story in an uncharted part of the Bolivian Amazon jungle for three weeks in 1981. Ghinsberg's survival story was enacted in the 2017 psychological thriller Jungle, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Yossi Ghinsberg. Ghinsberg's story was also featured in the documentary series I Shouldn't Be Alive on Discovery Channel.[2]

Ghinsberg is now a tech-entrepreneur and the founder of the mobile applications Headbox, which integrates all social media activity into one feed, and Blinq, which provides social media and activity live updates.

Amazon travel[edit]

After completing his service in the Israeli navy, Ghinsberg, inspired by the book Papillon by Henri Charrière, which detailed that author's experiences as an escaped convict, became determined to find Charrière and ask for his blessing to follow in his footsteps. Ghinsberg had briefly returned from an Africa to Mexico trip and longed for the rainforest immersion experience. He worked several jobs to save the money to travel to South America and dreamed of exploring the uninhabited heart of the Amazon jungle.[3] By the time Ghinsberg was finally able to travel to South America, Charrière had passed away, and the tribes Ghinsberg was interested in discovering had been "civilized".

Ghinsberg hitchhiked from Venezuela to Colombia, where he met Markus Stamm, a teacher from Switzerland, in the midst of his expeditions, and the pair became good friends and traveled together to La Paz, Bolivia.[4] There, Ghinsberg met Karl Ruprechter, a mysterious Austrian who claimed to be a geologist. Ruprechter told Ghinsberg that he was planning an expedition into the uncharted Amazon in Bolivia, in search of gold in a remote, indigenous Tacana village.

Ghinsberg, who sought out the opportunity to explore the unexplored areas of the Amazon, immediately joined Ruprechter in his journey, along with two of Ghinsberg's new acquaintances, Marcus Stamm, and Kevin Gale,[5] an American photographer. The four of them, never having had prior contact with each other, delved into a Bolivian adventure seeking gold.[6]

22-year-old Ghinsberg and his two friends followed Ruprechter by plane to Apolo, La Paz, and from there traveled down to the Tuichi River and to a local village called Asariamas, at the confluence of rivers Tuichi–Asariamas. There, they restocked food and supplies.[7] Then, according to Karl's stories about having visited an ancient indigenous village hidden deep within the rainforest – inhabited by "primitives" who had seen very few white men in their lifetime – the group began traveling up the Asariamas River and across the mountains on their way there. Eventually, low on supplies, they had to eat monkeys. Stamm refused to eat monkeys and inevitably grew physically weaker.[8][7] Under these conditions, they decided to abandon their journey and return to Asariamas.

Back at Asariamas, Karl told them about his new plan: sailing on a raft down the Tuichi River to a small gold quarry called Curiplaya, on the river bed, and from there downriver to Rurrenabaque, near the Beni River, and then return to La Paz.

With the villagers' help, they built the raft, pursued their new route downriver, and arrived at the confluence of rivers Tuichi–Ipurama. There, Ruprechter suddenly told them about San Pedro Canyon – a dangerous series of rapids, waterfalls, and boulders unsuitable for boating – and the fact that he could not swim, and thus refused to continue on the trip. His deceit and betrayal led to distrust within the group and ended with the group's splitting up:[9] Gale and Ghinsberg decided to continue rafting downriver to Rurrenabaque, while Ruprechter and Stamm decided to walk up the Ipurama River to Ipurama village, near the river's source, and return from there to Apolo.[3] The four men resolved to reconvene before Christmas, in La Paz.[7]

As Ghinsberg and Gale's raft neared a waterfall, they lost control and became separated. Gale made it to shore, but Ghinsberg floated downriver and over the waterfall. He spent four days traveling upriver in search of Gale before finally coming to the realization that he was stranded alone in the jungle.

Gale was rescued by local fishermen after having been stranded for five days. Back in the city of La Paz, he visited the Israeli and Austrian consulates to request their help preparing rescue missions for his friends. Gale was informed by the authorities at the Austrian consulate that Ruprechter was actually an Austrian criminal wanted by Interpol.

Ghinsberg spent the next three weeks lost in an uncharted part of the Amazon. He survived completely alone in nature on the edge of his life.[4]

In the second week, there was a flood in the area, and Ghinsberg almost drowned. He sank into a bog twice. For the subsequent five days, Ghinsberg had no food but what he found, and his foot began to rot from fungi.[8][10][11] According to Ghinsberg, he had hallucinations of a woman with whom he slept each night.[12]

Ghinsberg made his way back to the river and met Gale, along with indigenous people who had organized a search and rescue mission led by Abelardo "Tico" Tudela. They found Ghinsberg three days into their search, three weeks after Ghinsberg was first declared missing.[13] Ghinsberg spent the three months following his rescue recovering in a hospital.[10]

Ruprechter and Stamm did not return to La Paz. Despite attempts by several rescue missions, they were never found.[7]

Movie adaptation[edit]

In 2014, Arclight Films announced that they would be adapting Ghinsberg's book Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Survival. Jungle, starring Daniel Radcliffe, was released on 17 October 2017 after being filmed for six weeks in April and May 2016, in the Colombian sites of Tobia, Guaduas, and Honda, and in Mount Tamborine, Queensland, Australia. [14]

Jungle follows Ghinsberg's meeting of his three travel companions and the three weeks he spent in the Bolivian jungle without any supplies or help.[15]


Ghinsberg served three years in the Israeli Navy on the Red Sea. During these years, he befriended the Bedouin of the Sinai Desert and learned more about their nomad culture.[1][16] To collect money to travel, Ghinsberg worked multiple jobs including construction work in Norway, fishing in Alaska, and loading and unloading trucks in New York City.[17]

Ten years after almost losing his life in the Amazon, he went back to the Bolivian jungle. Ghinsberg put the Tacana-Quechua people of the village of San José de Uchupiamonas in touch with the Inter-American Development Bank, which gave a $1.25 million grant to build a solar-powered ecolodge in the jungle, and to train the local people how to manage it. He stayed there from 1992 to 1995 with the natives and helped them build and operate Chalalan, an ecolodge in Bolivia's Madidi National Park. He also put the people of San Jose in touch with Conservation International, a Washington environmental group that has pioneered much of the ecotourism field and was instrumental in getting 4.5 million acres around San Jose declared as the Madidi National Park. Ghinsberg also worked on protecting intellectual properties of indigenous people of that region.[3] Ghinsberg co-founded EthnoBios, a biodiversity prospecting company local to the Amazon basin, and taught the indigenous people how to protect their intellectual properties.[18]

Ghinsberg was recruited in 1995 by The Center for Investigation & Treatment of Addiction (CITA) International to serve as Vice President for Development. In this capacity, Ghinsberg has founded 12 centers for the treatment and research of opiate addiction in different parts of the world from Mexico to China. In 1999, Ghinsberg left CITA International and moved to Australia to open his own treatment center.[19] In Australia, Ghinsberg founded The Alma Libre Foundation dedicated to assisting opiate addicts and providing rehabilitation options for re-integration into society.[20] In 2001, at the height of the Intifada, he organized a music festival in Israel to promote Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.[21]

In 2009, Ghinsberg returned to Israel and established Collecteco, a design label for interior and landscape designs displaying a gallery of furniture made from recycled materials. His development team is based in Ramallah.

He co-founded Headbox, a startup that has built an application to integrate social media activity and communication networks into one feed. In 2013. Headbox appears as a little white dot that provides a summary of all social network activity into a meta social graph.

Ghinsberg is a co-founder and currently the CEO at Blinq.me, a Silicon Valley-based tech-startup financed by 500 Startups's acceleration program.[22] In 2015, Ghinsberg launched the mobile application Blinq, which adds a layer of contextual information to mobile messaging applications and is derived from Headbox. Once installed, Blinq appears as a small white dot that pops up inside mobile messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and SMS, alerting the user to new information about the person they are communicating with. This additional information is pulled from a variety of other networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.[23]

Ghinsberg has been a motivational speaker since 2001 and has related his experiences and hardships during his three weeks stranded in the Amazon jungle. He has spoken on topics revolving around his experiences in The Power to Survive, Sailing the Seas of Change, and WEvolution, applying his survival story into motivational speaking. He currently speaks on The Power to Survive – Bringing Amazon Survival Skills to Business.


Ghinsberg wrote his first book, titled Back from Tuichi, in 1993.[24] The book became popular in Israel and sold millions of copies, and it has been translated into 15 languages and published in several countries under different names, including Heart of the Amazon (Macmillen) Back from Tuichi (Random House),[3] and Lost in the Jungle (Summersdale). In 2008, he wrote his second book, titled Laws of the Jungle: Jaguars Don't Need Self-Help Books. In concurrence with the movie, Summersdale will re-release its book Lost in the Jungle as Jungle in 2017.[25]

Ghinsberg is an active motivational speaker who offers keynotes and inspirational speeches that cover his past expeditions and experiences. Many of his talks center around the three weeks alone he endured in the Amazon jungle, which he is most known for. He has been hired to address audiences at many Fortune 500 Companies.

Ghinsberg has been covered on Fox News Latino, CNN, TEDx, BBC America, BBC World Service, LA Times, and LinkedIn. He was ranked one of the Top 20 Most Inspiring People on Twitter in 2012.[26] Ghinsberg was featured on Larry King Live! in the "I Shouldn't Be Alive" Discovery Channel documentary and channel series, which aired 27 April 2006 on CNN. He spoke at TEDxBratislava in 2010, his talk entitled "On Thinking Outside of the Box" about his struggle for survival in the Amazon and the insights he took away from the experience.[21] Ghinsberg featured in the 2013 travel documentary Gringo Trails by documentary filmmaker, Pegi Vail. In the film, Ghinsberg returns to the Bolivian jungle and the community who assisted in his rescue, and discusses how they have adapted to the influx of tourists in the wake of his survival story.[27] Ghinsberg was covered on the front page of The Jerusalem Post's 22 April 2016 edition. In September 2016, Ghinsberg returned to Bolivia to speak at the Solon Foundation and El Bala about his Amazon survival experiences.[28]

Personal life and education[edit]

Ghinsberg was born and raised in Ramat Gan, Israel.[13] His parents were Holocaust survivors.[11] When he was 18, he joined the Israeli Navy as part of mandatory military service and served for three years stationed in the Red Sea.[9]

After returning from the Amazon, Ghinsberg graduated from Tel Aviv University in Israel with degrees in Jewish Philosophy and Business Administration. Ghinsberg also studied the Kabbalah traditions in authentic environments and continues to study religions of the past and the present, including the Ancients, the Classics, Eastern, Contemporary, and the Shamanic Path.[20] Ghinsberg lived and worked in the Amazon from 1992 to 1995. In 1997, Ghinsberg moved to Australia to help establish clinics that offer drug and alcohol detoxification recovery and treatment programs. He has married three times and has four children: Mia, Cayam, Nissim, and Shalem. In 2009, Ghinsberg returned to Israel with his wife and his children.[29] Ghinsberg married Belinda on 7 March 2010.[30] Ghinsberg and his family have lived in Israel, Australia, and the United States.[20]

Autobiographical works[edit]

  • Ghinsberg, Y (1996). Back From Tuichi: the Harrowing Life-and-Death Story of Survival In The Amazon Rainforest. Random House. ISBN 067942458X.
  • Ghinsberg, Yossi (2007). Laws of the jungle: jaguars don't need self-help books. Boomerang New Media. ISBN 978-0977171910. OCLC 71819966.
  • Ghinsberg, Yossi (2017). Jungle: a harrowing true story of survival in the amazon. W W Norton. ISBN 978-1510718616. OCLC 949987304.


  1. ^ a b Browne, Rachel (8 April 2007). "The Unending Mystery". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  2. ^ "Escape from the Amazon". Discovery. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Hendrix, Steve (8 September 1998). "Lost and Found". Washington Post. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Israeli's survival story reaches Hollywood". Ynetnews. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  5. ^ Katz, Isaac (14 March 2018). "Lost in the Jungle: The untold story of Kevin Gale". Ami Magazine.
  6. ^ "What You Can Learn About Finding Success From The Man Who Was Lost In the Jungle – With Yossi Ghinsberg". Mixergy. 22 October 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d "Parque Madidi, rico em biodiversidade e em histórias | ((o))eco". oeco.com.br. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  8. ^ a b Ghinsberg, Yossi (2016). Lost in the jungle. Summersdale Publishers. pp. 79–80. ISBN 978-1849538824. OCLC 934196140.
  9. ^ a b Round, Simon (17 July 2008). "I Was Lost in The Amazon Jungle". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  10. ^ a b "I'm not a celebrity, get me out of here!". Totally Jewish. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  11. ^ a b "A film on me is like a dream come true: Israeli author Yossi Ghinsberg". Hindustan Times. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  12. ^ "The 12 Rules of Survival". Security Whip. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  13. ^ a b "CNN Larry King Live". CNN. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  14. ^ "Daniel Radcliffe's 'Jungle' qualifies for Colombian rebate". ScreenDaily. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Kevin Bacon to take on true survival drama 'Jungle'". Mother Nature Network. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  16. ^ "Adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  17. ^ Das, Mohua (8 December 2013). "Two Lives Less Ordinary – Survival Spirit of a True Bedouin". Telegraph India. Calcutta, India. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013.
  18. ^ "Yossi Ghinsberg". DojoLIVE!. Nearsoft. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  19. ^ "The dollars of detox". Ben Hills. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  20. ^ a b c "Yossi Ghinsberg | Bio". premierespeakers.com. Premiere Motivational Speakers Bureau. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  21. ^ a b "TEDxBratislava – Yossi Ghinsberg – On thinking out of the box". TED. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  22. ^ timadmin (9 April 2012). "Professional biography: Yossi Ghinsberg". Motivational Speaker Yossi Ghinsberg. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  23. ^ "Blinq Enhances Your Favorite Messaging Applications With Extra Information". Tech Crunch. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  24. ^ Kirsch, Jonathan (26 January 1994). "BOOK REVIEW: NONFICTION : A Powerful Story of Self-Discovery, Survival in the Wild : BACK FROM TUICHI: The Harrowing Life-and-Death Story of Survival in the Amazon Rainforest, by Yossi Ghinsberg ; Random House, $22, 239 pages". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  25. ^ "Daniel Radcliffe to star in adaptation of Summersdale title". The Bookseller. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  26. ^ "100 Most Inspiring People On Twitter". Young Upstarts. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  27. ^ "About the Film".
  28. ^ "Las calles en Rurre están vacías". Diario Pagina Siete (in Spanish). Bolivia. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  29. ^ ""אני הולך רק למקומות מפחידים": יוסי גינסברג לא נח לרגע". NRG. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  30. ^ "Yossi Ghinsberg". IMDb. Retrieved 12 January 2017.

External links[edit]

  • Gringo Trails – A 2013 documentary by anthropologist Pegi Vail on the lasting impact of global tourism on cultures, economies, and the environment. Ghinsberg is one of the featured interview subjects.
  • http://www.chalalan.com/