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The Gift of Fear
 
 

The Gift of Fear [Kindle Edition]

Gavin de Becker
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Review

"A how-to book that reads like a thriller...provocative...empowering.""--The Boston Globe" "De Becker has a lot to say about crime and the fear of crime, and he says it persuasively...his blend of empathy, reassurance and common sense wows readers.""--Newsweek" "Chilling and fascinating."--Jeffrey Toobin, author of "The Nine" "From the Paperback edition."

Product Description

A Special Kindle Edition of The Gift of Fear, with a new Foreword by the author.

A stranger in a deserted parking lot offers to help carry a woman's groceries. Is he a good Samaritan or is he after something else? A fired employee says "You'll be sorry." Will he return with a gun? After their first date, a man tells a woman it is their "destiny" to be married. What will he do when she won't see him again? A mother has an uneasy feeling about the nice babysitter she's just hired. Should she not go to work today?

These days, no one in America feels immune to violence. But now, in this extraordinary groundbreaking book, the nation's leading expert on predicting violent behavior unlocks the puzzle of human violence and shows that, like every creature on earth, we have within us the ability to predict the harm others might do us and get out of its way. Contrary to popular myth, human violence almost always has a discernible motive and is preceded by clear warning signs.

Through dozens of compelling examples from his own career, Gavin de Becker teaches us how to read the signs, using our most basic but often most discounted survival skill - our intuition. The Gift of Fear is a remarkable, unique combination of practical guidance on leading a safer life and profound insight into human behavior.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Follow Your Nose 11 Dec 2009
By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Gavin de Becker's book is far more than I expected. Typically self-help books tend to be rather shrill and include a lot of large font type with daft mnemonics; one suspects the material is a bit thin and has been stretched over the available space. But with de Becker he has (as he ruefully admits) a great deal more than he could (or would) ever recount.

The book's central core is to identify the signs that the author claims one intuitively detects and then to act on them rather than to dismiss them. He opens with a very powerful piece (which I have read before) on the signs that a rape-victim dismissed and those which she picked up to avoid becoming a murder victim. He also identifies the approach used by controlling men. This account completely changed how I would offer help to a woman. This is not just a limited topic however; the identified controlling strategies are ones you will all encounter when talking to salesmen, bossy people and bosses. By identifying them you can act to defuse the alpha-male. The author also does a very good feature on saying "No" clearly.

There is much else that is useful in this book, his chapters on stalkers are particularly good. The keys I took away were that de Becker was himself a victim of violence and had used it well, that his advice was not some macho dream but that stalkers are best defeated by lack of contact and that restraining orders may work in the opposite direction. He also points out that what makes these men monsters is actually what makes them the most human; they act predictably if amorally.

Well written and moderate in tone, I got a lot more than I expected when I bought the book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn to trust your intuition 28 Nov 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
That's the central message of the book, and one that may save your life if you listen to it.

Through this book, de Becker has convinced me that most violence can be predicted. He goes through a great many common situations in which violence happens, from encounters with strangers, workplace violence to domestic violence and date stalking. In each situation, he describes the indicators of likely violence. Some of these indicators are so often overlooked and rationalized away by the people involved. My favorite one is called: "Refusal to take no for an answer." It can be as trivial as the new date persisting in offering you a drink. Although trivial, such incidents are very telling about his tendency toward violence.

De Becker also discusses a characteristic in many people that blunts out their intuition to actual dangers: unwarranted anxiety. Due to media and social conditioning and other influences, those people feel fear or anxiety in situations that do not pose actual dangers. Such unwarranted anxiety makes them confused and oblivious to the real signals from their intuition. De Becker offers ways for people to overcome that curse and live a life relatively free from fear and anxiety.

In short, I would highly recommend this book. It is one of the few books should be read by everyone (both men and women).
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changes lives 4 Sep 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Never before has a book had such a profound effect on me. The sub-title is slightly mis-leading as the strategies can be used in all aspects of every day life. It teaches you to become more aware of yourself, others and your surroundings. I bought 5 copies for my friends and they all raved about it. One friend passed it onto her brother who'd come out of a car accident with severe disabilities. It gave him the courage to take charge of his life again. Read this book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend, and have to say she couldn't have advised a better book! We often think we are aware of people who lie and decieve, but this book makes you listen to your gut feelings. If want to be more aware of people, or feel you want to teach you children how to protect themselves from danger, this is a must read. You would be surprised how much this facinating book can teach you!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We have instincts for a reason 27 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback
The Gift of Fear was recommended to me as a useful resource and while it does have valuable information it wasn't quite the book I was expecting.

If you've ever found yourself in a situation where you've encountered a person who prompts a reaction of tension or anxiety, for a seemingly unknown reason, The Gift of Fear can be a valuable guide to deconstructing those situations. The author goes through case histories and his experiences of why we should learn to listen to the valid subconscious cues and information we can receive about a person's behaviour.

Chapters Two to Four are resonant reading because, sad to say, I doubt that many women can read them without thinking of at least one occasion where similar behaviour has occurred even if it did not result in the same outcomes. These sections were the genuine strength of the book by having practical and reasonable suggestions about listening to your own reactions in difficult or potentially dangerous situations.

Where I encountered some problems with the book is that, although marketed as a self-help guide, there are only a few chapters I found to be entirely relevant. The book goes from explaining why we have instinctive responses and how to use them to being a type of true crime/criminal profiling study. Whilst this may be of interest to readers of criminal behaviour and legal systems; it is based on information for a purely American audience rather than an international one, so has some very clear cultural differences between countries (prevalence of crime with guns to highlight one example).

Gavin de Becker is also not backwards when it comes to selling himself and his credentials with mentions of high-profile clients he's worked for.
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