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The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
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The Gift of Fear (edition 1998)

by Gavin de Becker (Author)

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1,453265,153 (4.03)18
Member:aquaticus
Title:The Gift of Fear
Authors:Gavin de Becker (Author)
Info:Dell (1998), Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:psychology, fear, self-help, intuition, survival

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The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

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» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
A must read book not just for women, but for anybody who doesn't want to be stalked or harassed. I think most women have encountered overly persistent suitors at some point.

While it has great pointers, the weakness of the book is that it is primarily prevention methods. I don't think it'll help when some violent person is hellbent on hurting you or your family members. Yes, a restraining order is just a piece of paper, but what can you do when the psycho is already so emotionally invested when he ignores warnings from the police to stay away?
  arcadianshepherd | May 9, 2014 |
The overall message to listen to your intuition is good, but de Becker's ideas about domestic violence are so wrong-headed as to be dangerous, perpetuating the idea that victims deserve their treatment. ( )
  iliadawry | Feb 6, 2014 |
The chapters that related to everyday advice were useful, especially the last chapter, and there were several points where the author articulated something I subconsciously knew but had never consciously considered. Some of the anecdotes and stories were also very interesting, and for the most part the book felt educational and genuinely useful.

A substantial amount of content, however, focused on celebrities and celebrity lifestyles, and was big on anecdotes and short on actual advice. The author also constantly touted his security company, which after a while started to grate. I'm sure his company does great work, but in a book that's advertised as a way to empower people into taking their security into their own hands, it seems out of place. There's also a risk of confirmation bias in the stories the author tells, and I'm hesitant to take his word as 100% true--especially when certain parts of the book openly contradict each other, like when he pigeonholes certain traits as risk factors for violence while at the same time saying that people should trust their intuition above any arbitrary list of risk factors.

All things considered, this book is a good reference for those interested in personal safety, but I recommend reading it for general advice rather than as a how-to manual for safety. ( )
  Featherwick | May 8, 2013 |
A staggering read. Vital for anyone raising children, or whose work regularly brings them in contact with 'the public '. A lot of this is things we all know instinctively, but it is unbelievably useful to see it all pulled together and analysed by a professional with unquestionable resources at his disposal. If you have ever been a victim of unwanted attention or a violent attack you will be amazed to see that it did not 'suddenly come out of nowhere'. Nothing is random. But ultimately, we are all much safer than we might think. The ultimate lesson is: Don't give in to fear, harness it. ( )
  Melanielgarrett | Apr 2, 2013 |
I want every woman I know to read this book, and it wouldn't hurt the men in my life to read it as well. Gavin de Becker has taught me to distinguish between the worry I put myself through and the fear that is worthy of my attention. I had an interesting intersection with this book and *Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames* by Thich Nhat Hanh, which I was reading at the same time. They are both, at their core, about the same thing: getting through the misperceptions down to real emotions. Each presented a different path, but reading both together has been an amazing experience. ( )
  Jessica_Olin | Apr 1, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440508835, Paperback)

Each hour, 75 women are raped in the United States, and every few seconds, a woman is beaten. Each day, 400 Americans suffer shooting injuries, and another 1,100 face criminals armed with guns. Author Gavin de Becker says victims of violent behavior usually feel a sense of fear before any threat or violence takes place. They may distrust the fear, or it may impel them to some action that saves their lives. A leading expert on predicting violent behavior, de Becker believes we can all learn to recognize these signals of the "universal code of violence," and use them as tools to help us survive. The book teaches how to identify the warning signals of a potential attacker and recommends strategies for dealing with the problem before it becomes life threatening. The case studies are gripping and suspenseful, and include tactics for dealing with similar situations.

People don't just "snap" and become violent, says de Becker, whose clients include federal government agencies, celebrities, police departments, and shelters for battered women. "There is a process as observable, and often as predictable, as water coming to a boil." Learning to predict violence is the cornerstone to preventing it. De Becker is a master of the psychology of violence, and his advice may save your life. --Joan Price A Q&A with Gavin de Becker

Question: In today’s world, where terror and tragedy seem omnipresent, the fear of violence never seems more heightened. Is the world a more violent place than it ever has been?

Gavin de Becker : Your question contains much of the answer: today’s world, "where terror and tragedy seem omnipresent..." The key word is "seem." When TV news coverage presents so much on these topics, it elevates the perception of terrorism and tragedy way beyond the reality. In every major city, TV news creates forty hours of original production every day, most of it composed and presented to get our attention with fear. Hence an incident on an airplane in which a man fails to do any damage is treated as if the make-shift bomb actually exploded. It didn’t. Imagine having a near miss in your car, avoiding what would have been a serious collision--and then talking about every hour for months after the fact. Welcome to TV news.

To the second part of your question, No, the world is not a more violent place than it has ever been, however we live as if it were. The U.S. is the most powerful nation in world history--and also the most afraid.

Question: Your bestselling book The Gift of Fear gives many examples to help readers recognize what you call pre-incident indicators (PINS) of violence. What role does intuition play in recognizing these signals?

Gavin de Becker: Like every creature on earth, we have an extraordinary defense resource: We don’t have the sharpest claws and strongest jaws--but we do have the biggest brains, and intuition is the most impressive process of these brains. It might be hard to accept its importance because intuition is often described as emotional, unreasonable, or inexplicable. Husbands chide their wives about "feminine intuition" and don’t take it seriously. If intuition is used by a woman to explain some choice she made or a concern she can’t let go of, men roll their eyes and write it off. We much prefer logic, the grounded, explainable, unemotional thought process that ends in a supportable conclusion. In fact, Americans worship logic, even when it’s wrong, and deny intuition, even when it’s right. Men, of course, have their own version of intuition, not so light and inconsequential, they tell themselves, as that feminine stuff. Theirs is more viscerally named a "gut feeling," but whatever name we use, it isn’t just a feeling. It is a process more extraordinary and ultimately more logical in the natural order than the most fantastic computer calculation. It is our most complex cognitive process and, at the same time, the simplest.

Intuition connects us to the natural world and to our nature. It carries us to predictions we will later marvel at. "Somehow I knew," we will say about the chance meeting we predicted, or about the unexpected phone call from a distant friend, or the unlikely turnaround in someone’s behavior, or about the violence we steered clear of, or, too often, the violence we elected not to steer clear of. The Gift of Fear offers strategies that help us recognize the signals of intuition--and helps us avoid denial, which is the enemy of safety.

Question: Your latest book, Just 2 Seconds, has been called a "masterpiece" of analysis on the art of preventing assassination. It contains an entire compendium of attacks on protected persons across the globe. What motivated you to put together such a definitive reference? What tenets can be applied to one’s everyday life?

Gavin de Becker: Most of all, we wrote the book we needed. My co-authors and I had long looked for an extensive collection of attack summaries from which important new insights could be harvested. Unable to find it, we committed to do the work ourselves, eventually collecting more than 1400 cases to analyze. Many new insights and concepts emerged from the study, and the one most applicable to day to day life, even for people who are not living with unusual risks, is to be in the present; pre-sent, as it were. Now is the only time anything ever happens--now is where the action is. All focus on anything outside the Now (the past, memory, the future, fantasy) detracts focus from what’s actually happening in your environment. Human being have the capacity to look right at something and not see it, and in studying such a crisp event--the few seconds during which assassinations have occurred--Just 2 Seconds aims to enhance the reader’s ability to see the value of the present moment.

(Photo © Avery Helm)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:05 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Explains how to use the power of intuition to identify and avoid danger, and shares advice on restraining orders and self-defense tactics.

(summary from another edition)

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