Though there is no one absolute strategy of winning the title, as it is subjective, but to be a Sole Survivor, a contestant must achieve these two things:
Reach the final day of the competition.
Have the highest number of votes from the Jury among the remaining finalists.
All Sole Survivors are known to have mastered (wittingly or otherwise) the social aspect of the game. That is, having to be liked by most of the Jury members because of their social ability, since Survivor is mostly a game of social interaction rather than a physical competition. Most winners tend to bring opponent(s) to the Final Tribal Council who are more unlikely to garner votes because of their abrasiveness, or sometimes, terrible body of work (poor work ethic, bad challenge performances, frequent squabbles with tribe mates).
Reaching the Final Tribal Council, the final few will have to compete for the Jury's votes. The finalist who garnered the most votes would attain the title of Sole Survivor. This situation has been proven tricky over the years, as most finalists succumb to lack of self-awareness. In Survivor: One World, the principle, "perception is not always reality" was introduced by a castaway, stating that in order to win the game, a player must match his or her "perception", or what he or she thinks is happening, with "reality", or what is actually happening, in which if the Jury sees the finalists succumb to any of the following situations, they usually don't get their votes:
Lack of self-awareness - a common error of most finalists; not knowing how they came across to their comrades. This is used by their fellow finalists to their advantage to swerve the Jury votes to their favor. This error is correlated with:
Being deemed for have an aggressive game play, If not performed properly, it usually hurts the players they vote out and send to the Jury, potentially altering their thinking process, and might vote for the other finalists just for the sole reason that they did not like the player's mismanagement of them. Though playing aggressive can benefit a contestant, handling their eliminations is proven to be a two-edged sword.
Being largely unlikable, finding himself/herself be ignored for their rash treatment of the other contestants.
Having a demeanor that is off-putting to the Jury members, both when they were still in the game and what was observable in proceeding Tribal Councils when they started sitting as jurors. This makes jurors think twice in voting such finalists, regardless of merit.
"Flying under-the-radar" or "riding on coattails" would be admonished for "not doing anything" or for simply being at the right place at the right time.
Answering poorly (or not answering at all) to the Jury's questions.
Acting very apologetic, rather than accounting for his/her actions.
Feeling entitled to winning the game.
Does not get credit for doing anything, and especially if he/she throws others under the bus.
Answering back in a combative manner.
Regardless of the situation, the finalist must answer at their best to the the Jury's questions. If jurors finds a contestant answering insincerely, most likely they would not get their votes.
The Sole Survivor receives a check of $1,000,000, to be received after the season finale. Earlier winners additionally received a car that is usually similar to the one given at the Reward Challenge where a car was also given, though this has been abandoned since Survivor: Cook Islands. The winner, and all contestants present in the live Reunion Show will also receive an extra $10,000 appearance fee, which immediately follows the finale broadcast. Furthermore, the Sole Survivor is still eligible for winning the Fan Favorite Award. All cash prizes are taxable at the U.S. rate of 35% leaving the winner $600,000.
There have been 16 men and 11 women to have become the Sole Survivor, with one woman winning twice.
In terms of seasons, 16 have been won by men while 12 have been won by women.
In seasons with a Final Two and a 7-person Jury, only men have won in a 5-2 vote (Ethan, Chris and Aras).
Coincidentally, each of them defeated a female finalist.
Tony Vlachos is currently the Sole Survivor with the most Jury votes received in a Final Two, with 8 Jury votes received.
In seasons with a Final Three and a 9-person Jury, only men have won in a 5-4-0 vote (Yul and Fabio), only women have won in a 6-3-0 vote (Sandra and Sophie) and only women have won in a 7-2-0 vote (Natalie and Kim).
Richard Hatch is the only Sole Survivor to be revealed on location rather than in the U.S.
Natalie White and Kim are tied for the most Jury votes received by any female winner, with 7. Coincidentally, the votes were 7-2-0.
Bob is the oldest Sole Survivor, while Fabio Birza is the youngest when crowned. However, Sophie Clarke is the youngest by date of birth.
Thomas and Cochran went on to play a "perfect game" and won unanimously.
7 winners have won without ever having won an individual immunity challenge: Tina Wesson, Sandra Diaz-Twine (Pearl Islands & Heroes vs Villains), Yul Kwon, Earl Cole, Todd Herzog, Natalie White, and Tony Vlachos.
Sandra accomplished this twice, making it an eight-time occurrence.
Aras Baskauskas has the most votes cast against any winner in a single season with 9.
Natalie has the most votes cast against any female winner in a single season with 8 (However, this includes the 3 votes she received in the revote in The Day of Reckoning).
The most common decision for Sole Survivor by the Jury is a 4-3 vote, occurring a total of 6 times. This includes Survivor: Gabon where Bob won in a 4-3-0 vote.
Tina Wesson is the only winner to return twice after being crowned Sole Survivor on his or her first attempt.
Tyson is the first, and only, contestant to win on their third season.
Rob is the first, and only, contestant to win on their fourth season.
Only 6% of Survivor contestants have become the sole survivor.
11 Sole Survivors who had competed more than once had experienced being voted out, either prior to or after the season that each of them had won: Richard, Tina, Ethan, Amber, Tom, Aras, Parvati, JT, Rob, Cochran and Tyson.
In terms of chronology, this is the order: Amber, Rob, Tina, Richard, Ethan, Parvati, Tyson, Tom, JT, Cochran and Aras.
Bob Crowley is the oldest male winner and oldest winner ever who was 57 at the time of his win.
Denise Stapley is the oldest female winner who was 41 at the time of her win.
By birth date, female winners Tina Wesson and Vecepia Towery are older then Denise with Tina being the oldest female winner by birth date.