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on 13 July 2007
Gavin de Becker deals in a thorough way with the subject of violence, how one can predict it and also how one can protect oneself against it. The book is full of examples and many insights and leaves the reader with a much better understanding of fear and the warning that real fear communicates. It is clear from reading this book that violence doesn't just happen out of the blue, but that there are important steps that precedes the expression of violence that the attentive observer can use to protect him or herself. A very commendable read, that anyone would benefit from reading.
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on 31 January 2002
Not only is each page of this book packed with useful information; that information is packaged in such a way as to make it memorable and practical for every-day use. So many things in this book ring true for every-day life situations that they're impossible *not* to remember.
This book will help me with running my business, advancing in my Karate, raising my childen (when I have children!) and going down the pub! I have already recommended it to 4 people, and not simply because it's an excellent read, but because I see certain situations in their lives that can be helped or resolved as a direct result of reading this book.
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on 22 October 2006
I first came accross this book whilst in holiday in the states many years ago, I read the opening chapter in the store and bought the book! As a serving Police Officer and a practising Martial Artist and self-defence instructor I found this book to be informative as well as extremely well written. In my work I deal with the victims of Domestic Violence and the author has an excellent understanding of both the abuser and the 'victims' perspectives. Many times I have used the material in this book to help other people and I will continue to do so. I also incorporate the teachings in this volume into my Self-defence classes increasing their effectivenss ans making people safer by turning on thier inherent awareness. I cannot praise the author enough for writing this book. If you deal with people in your work then read this book! It changes lives and it could change yours.
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on 16 January 2013
I don't think that there could be a higher endorsement than for me of this than to say that I FIRMLY believe there would be a lot fewer rapes and deaths out there if women - and men - took the time out to read this book. And it's not a some magical mystery that only the enlightened can access, but changing 'common sense' mindsets that don't work and making sure we give intuition the attention it deserves.

But there aren't just lessons for individuals in there. The bigger message that de Becker puts across in addition to the 'survival tips' is that there is something profoundly wrong with the way that society manipulates the victims to put the blame on themselves and learn helplessness. And I don't think, in spite of it being the agenda of the day, is something that any academic or 'pop' author has, to my mind, ever got across so well as Gavin does here.

There are some interesting stories in there too. They are extras, and I guess if you are into some FBI style thrillers, then you'll find that a bonus. But that's something that could be just as easily dropped if the first message is getting across.

6 stars!
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on 26 July 2014
This book has been hyped in the media and is recommended by Carolyn Hax in the Wash Post. It's initially interesting, and its account of various horrible things that have happened to people who ignored their intuition makes good reading for anyone who enjoys watching crime series on TV. However, how long can you milk this point? The basic made in the book is that you often have an intuitive grasp of whether a situation is threatening, and whether a stranger can be trusted or not. The book is interesting, but could have been half the length.
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on 1 April 2014
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend and I'm glad I did because it was extremely interesting. I found some of the chapters more useful and directly relevant to my every day life than others (I don't think I'll apply the info about assassinations, for example!) but it was fascinating to realise that there was a common theme shared between the perps of various types of crime. Of most interest to me were chapters related to relationships, stalking, and also work place behaviours. I once had a work colleague who gave me the creeps - my instincts were telling me there was something not right - but I ignored those instincts because other work colleagues had told me what a lovely guy he was. Fast forward a few weeks and my instinct alarm bells were ringing again when he turned up at my apartment where my instincts about him were proved correct (not wanting to go into details obviously). As a result of reading this book, I'm much more trustful of my instincts because I realise I was picking up on signals that I hadn't consciously noticed, which De Becker outlined in the relevant chapter, e.g. refusing to take no for an answer. The stalking chapter would have come in useful to me a few years back after I had a date with a weirdo whose later response was totally disproportionate to the length of time we had spent together! Fortunately De Becker provides info on how to diffuse some situations, some of which are contrary to what you may expect, e.g. stalking behaviour is usually worsened by getting a restraining order.

I recommend this book! Too often we ignore our own instincts for various reasons, like not wanting to come across as rude, which plays right into the hands of a minority of people. Reading this book may give you 'permission' to listen to yourself more and so keep you safe. The guidance on how to deal with people exhibiting worrying behaviour can also help inform your response.
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on 30 September 2007
Of all the books on Self Defence & Conflict Management/Resolution that I have ever read, THIS one has to be the very best. The fact that it has lasted so long in print & stood the test of time is its best testimonial; I've not seen a negative review about it yet.

A couple of honest points first. There are too many references to other books & authors for my liking - a larger bibliography would have made reading easier. Also, there a many times De Becker mentions "....& I'll covering such & such in more detail in chapter so & so). These niggles are minor compared to the nature of its important & potentially life saving content.

Something that would have made this interesting & fascinating book easier to refer back to would have been more sub-headings, highlighting & bullet points, perhaps even summary points at the end of each chapter.

This is a huge reference manual that ought to take a prominent place in any self-defence instructors book shelf.

They say - "Prevention is better than Cure" & so the main theme throughout is not finding yourself in a situation that could end up in some form of nasty conflict with an adversary that you would certainly not want to confront or fight. So instead of waiting for an attack to happen & then have to deal with the inevitable & nasty consequences of fighting, De Becker teaches us using many useful explanations about the use of intuition & how to recognise & nurture it. More importantly he tells us that we need to pay more attention to our intuition, gut feelings, hunches & suspicions. This he does very successfully by giving us the signals to look for in others, that we ought to be wary of & who may become dangerous; thus we avoid getting into difficulties.

The skills necessary to do this are done by repeating various easy techniques to good effect. I feel that we need this repetition to let these important life skills sink in well.

De Becker also teaches us that fear, when recognised & if reacted to in the correct manner, is a good & desirable thing. We need to learn to recognise those strange feelings, like butterflies inside of us, & put them into proper use.

Please don't be put off by the cover of the book that looks a little old fashioned or that it has been around since 1997. The title really does say it all & it includes all the skills & information you need within its 432 pages to help save our or our families lives.

Do check out De Beckers credentials from his website, he's easy to find on Google, should you feel the need to be convinced any further about his competency & experience to teach on the subject.

Complimentary titles that go with this title are: Beauty Bites Beast: Awakening the Warrior Within Women and Girls by Ellen Snortland &
A Girl's Gotta Do What a Girl's Gotta Do: A Complete Guide to Personal Safety for Women by Kathleen Baty.
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on 29 September 2009
I have had this book for many years and as a martial arts teacher (Kamon Wing Chun Kung Fu) I refer to it on a regular basis. It contains information that helps you to understand violence and other human traits. It is probably one of the most informative books I have come across and is useful to the non martial artist as well. It will help you tap into the primitive self protection system that exsists within our brains that has long been disregarded by society. If there is only one book that you are going to buy to understand the darker side of human nature this is the one.
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on 7 December 2000
You know every citizen in our modern society should really do a couple of things to make themselves and their surroundings more secure: take a First Aid course, get the sturdiest locks on your front and back door you can get, do a self-defense class, install smoke alarms, lock up chemicals where children can't reach. Add one item to that list: read this book! Especially if you are a women and at times feel unsafe. Especially if you are a man and feel the need to protect without scaring the hell out of people. Especially if you have children - and don't forget to get the sequel, Protecting the Gift, which is all about kids. Especially if you are an employer and deal with frustrated (ex)employees. Especially if you are a teenager, dealing with mixed emotions and signals from peers and adults. Especially if you are elderly and afraid to leave your house at night. Especially if you have ever gotten a nagging negative vibe from a polite stranger or family friend, if you have ever been intimidated, or even stalked, or have been scared by the behaviour of someone in your neighbourhood. De Becker teaches that this fear is actually your internal warning system; your friend in possibly tricky situations. He shows how you can recognize and use these signals for your own security and the safety of those close to you. My advice: don't leave home without it.
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on 21 January 2010
Excellent read,,all women especially should read this.
I recognise a couple of things which had happened to me and I had used my gift of fear to save myself so to speak.
Its true we dont use this gift enough,,so i recommend this book! You never know when it could help you.
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