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The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence

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Book Overview

Protect yourself by learning how to trust -- and act on -- your instincts with the "empowering" #1 bestseller from personal safety expert Gavin de Becker (Boston Globe). A carjacker lurking in a... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

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Intuition And Empowerment Conquer The Unknown

Gavin de Becker has produced a landmark work in the dual fields of criminal psychology and self defense. I was recommended "The Gift of Fear" by a colleague with experience in law enforcement: he claimed it was the best overall book on self preservation and personal safety he had ever read, and while it is excellent for both sexes, it is especially valuable for women. I purchased the book for a female friend on his recommendation, and I read it as well. The book is detailed, personal, practical, and poignant. The book extols the value of intuition (and resultant fear) as a predictor of potential violent or harmful behavior. Although my original intent in purchasing the book was a concern about violence from outsiders, the area of the book that I believe is most useful (especially to women) is violence from intimate partners. I found the sections on predicting violent behavior from people known to a victim to be the most harrowing yet most practical in the book. One thing that runs as a theme through the book (again, especially useful to women) is that controlling behavior in any relationship is an extremely serious warning. Although most controlling males don't become violent, the likelihood of violence from them is dramatically higher than in a healthy relationship; further, even if the scenarios don't escalate to violence, control issues can manifest themselves in a variety of other awful ways that are only touched on here. In this book de Becker makes the case that intuition is actually reasoned, but it is a function performed so fast in our brains that we are unaware exactly why we have such feelings. I think the book argues persuasively that we ignore such warnings at our own risk and that while we may be more comfortable with reason and logic, intuition is an invaluable ally, as is genuine fear (which is altogether different from worry or anxiety.) Although I bought this book for a very close friend for a very specific reason, I am going to purchase several more copies for other people I love and care about. Rarely do I recommend a self-help book unequivocally, but this is one of those times. Buy this book, read it yourself, and pass it along to people you love. This is a fantastic book, and I wholeheartedly endorse it.

Time to Pay Attention

Gavin DeBecker could have named this book "The Gift of Intuition" and tapped into an even larger reader base. Human beings have an enormous capacity to reach deep inside and access the powers within. We just choose not to. Whether it is a religious belief that makes us look outside of ourself for help or just conditioning, we have let this gift atrophy. I always said the answer to so many of our problems is in the listening, not the doing or talking. Just sit quietly and listen, the answers are all there if you're willing to allow them to surface. DeBecker knows this and teaches you how to hone these skills. He will show you how to trust yourself, have faith in your own ability to know when a situation is terribly wrong. How many of us suddenly see all the red flags at the end of a horrible relationship or situation? Those red flags did not suddenly appear out of nowhere. They were there from the beginning and were ignored or pushed aside either out of ignorance or the desire for the "appearance" of a situation. The great guy, the independence, the can't miss business opportunity. All of these can shout decibels louder than your intuition ever could. Intuition is quiet voice, it has to be actively listened too, it won't overpower any voice you choose to hear. "The Gift of Fear" will help you listen to yourself, to hear what is inside you. This is the best gift you can give your teenagers, help them learn this from the start. I might even go as far as to say no better graduation gift exists. Okay, so put it on the seat of that new car or put the cash inside the pages instead of a card, but do give this as a gift to the ones you love. It very well might save their lives. At the very least, it will make their lives better by helping them to live it more aware and in control.

A book that dispells crime prevention myths

Few crime prevention experts emphasize intuition. Instead, they talk about staying alert to crime. Sometimes crime prevention experts generate more fear than they alleviate.Gavin deBecker, on the other hand, makes intuition and freedom from fear the focus of his philosophy. Instead of imagining the bad things that could happen, he says, live without worry of crime. He also says to stop watching the news. It only generates needless worry and gives one a distorted view of the world. I have been teaching these same concepts for years as a black belt in karate, so it was refreshing to read them from someone else. I avoid newspapers and TV news--it only darkens our view of the world. It only makes crime seem worse. Give up news for two weeks and notice how your outlook improves.As a teacher of women's self-defense, I've heard many stories of intuition. Some people call it the "back ground music," because it is like the music that plays in a movie before something bad happens. As deBecker writes, act upon your survival signals (run, search your house in the middle of the night, stay away from an individual, etc.), even if you feel foolish doing so.Shed the fears in your life, because fear clouds the survival signals. Those who live in fear of crime are already victims.Some of the book is difficult to read, such as chapters on child abuse. But the book is still worth it. Buy copies for yourself and friends. If you spend time worrying about crime, this book could change your life.

It's What You Know

I read THE GIFT OF FEAR when it was first released. Since then I've recommended it to friends and acquaintences - a few in direct danger of stalking exes, most worrying about the escalation of violence in our culture.I thank Gavin DeBecker for writing this book. His penchant for awakening intelligent intuition is remarkable. Have you ever put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation because you didn't want to appear rude? (given too much information to a stranger? gotten on an elevator with someone even though you felt uncomfortable)? Has anyone ever thrown you off balance and then taken advantage of your weakness? DeBecker shows how fear sends us trouble calls, and how often, and easily, we ignore the signals. (An added plus, these techniques even work against the tactics of car salespeople!). THE GIFT OF FEAR teaches the reader to listen to intuition and act with confidence. If we can perceive violence on the horizon, we can most easily avoid a confrontation with it. If it takes us by surprise, we can address it without panic. Now, go read the excerpt.
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