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Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps' Combat…
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Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps' Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your…

by Patrick Van Horne, Jason A. Riley, Jason A. Riley

Other authors: Steven Pressfield (Introduction)

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A good process-driven approach to observing people and classifying activity so that you are aware of potential threats.

The purpose of the book is to train more Marines in how to stay "left of bang." The authors describe left of bang as everything that occurs before a violent incident occurs, which is "bang." Examples of bang might be a shooting, or an IED explosion. Everything that happens after the incident is "right of bang" and is frequently marked by reactive actions. The purpose of the book is to allow combat personnel to recognize the approaching "bang" point, and act decisively before the deadly activity occurs. If you recognize the indicators of bang, you may be able to proactively avoid the bang. Avoiding the bang is the point of the book.

What I like: The book describes the science related to human activity, studies of incidents in the past, the authors experiences, and presents a methodical approach to observing behaviors which are indicators that someone is planning a violent act. Once you learn to recognize these behaviors you can look for them as you go about your business, and you can take action accordingly. For combat personnel, the existence of three of these indicators is enough to make a decision to act. The same can be applied to first responders in the civilian world, and (with restrictions) to the civilian population. Obviously the actions taken vary widely depending on your role in society. A soldier may act by eliminating the perceived threat. A police officer may approach a threat or call for backup. A civilian may run. Each of these is discussed in the book. Finally, the authors call the readers to take a critical preparatory step: think about what you would do in the event of an emergency. Too frequently casualties occur because people in the immediate vicinity of a violent act freeze. Those who have a plan are much more likely to survive.

What I did not like: The book repeatedly points to evolution as the cause for actions and behaviors (such as nervousness, sweating, blushing, running, etc.). I believe the cause for these behaviors being normal in nearly all people is that we have a common Creator. Why even address the cause in this book? The fact is, these behaviors exist and are predictable, regardless of why you think that is so. Additionally, the book repeats key information repeatedly. Left of Bang is an example of a book that could be produced in a much shorter form. I came away thinking the publishers instructed to authors to lengthen the book, so they repeated the information two, three, sometimes four times.

Overall Left of Bang is an interesting and informative book. It has the potential to help any reader become a better observer of activities around them, make fact based decisions, and have a plan of action that may save your own life and the lives of those around you. ( )
1 vote BrannonSG | Jan 23, 2017 |
Excellent book!! If you still get nervous in crowds or areas with a large population this book will help you to increase your crowd awareness. See the clues to look for danger before it happens. That funny feeling you get right before things go wrong is real, learn how to develop that feeling into an organized thought pattern that can occur farther left of the bang. It could save your life or the life of others around you. Always move in a state of cautionlevel of Yellow. ( )
  cwflatt | Dec 22, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick Van Horneprimary authorall editionscalculated
Riley, Jason A.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Riley, Jason A.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Pressfield, StevenIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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-- You walk into a restaurant and get an immediate sense that you should leave.

-- You are about to step onto an elevator with a stranger and something stops you.

-- You interview a potential new employee who has the resume to do the job, but something tells you not to offer a position.

These scenarios all represent LEFT OF BANG, the moments before something bad happens. But how many times have you talked yourself out of leaving the restaurant, getting off the elevator, or getting over your silly “gut” feeling about someone? Is there a way to not just listen to your inner protector more, but to actually increase your sensitivity to threats before they happen?

Legendary Marine General James Mattis asked the same question and issued a directive to operationalize the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter program. A comprehensive and no-nonsense approach to heightening each and every one of our gifts of fear, LEFT OF BANG is the result.
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Describes how to listen to your inner protector and increase your sensitivity to threats before they happen.

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