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Fear Less: Real Truth About Risk, Safety, and Security in a Time of Terrorism Hardcover – January 4, 2002

60 customer reviews

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The best-selling expert on violence and fear discusses post-September 11 issues concerning personal safety in the face of terrorism. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (January 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316085960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316085960
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gavin de Becker is a three-time presidential appointee whose pioneering work has changed the way our government evaluates threats to our nation's highest officials. His firm advises many of the world's most prominent media figures, corporations, and law enforcement agencies on predicting violence, and it also serves regular citizens who are victims of domestic abuse and stalking. De Becker has advised the prosecution on major cases, including the O.J. Simpson murder trial. He has testified before many legislative bodies and has successfully proposed new laws to help manage violence.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Joel L. Gandelman VINE VOICE on June 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Balance. Perspective. Common sense. Trusting your feelings. A reality check. Those are the watchwords of Gavin de Becker's highly informative, lively and supremely reassuring Fear Less. If I had the money I'd send this book to everyone I know...and especially to those who assign and edit terrorism stories in the broadcast/cable news media.
Touted as "real truth about risk, safety and security in a time of terrorism" his main message (in my words here) is essentially this:"Whooa! Wait a minute: look at the FACTS and take a deep breath." It's a message that needs to be delivered more than ever, after the recent announcement about a suspect's arrest for reportedly looking into making a "dirty bomb."
De Becker contends that in battling terrorism everyone -- citizens AND policy-makers -- can better contribute (and react) if they are more attuned to their intuition. Intuition is not only using common sense, but also being keenly aware of subtle bits of information that spark uneasy feelings. Still others believe intuition is a kind of spiritual voice. Whether it's about your neighbor, someone you see getting on a plane, someone leaving a package in a mall, etc. the author argues: TRUST and MONITOR these little intuitive alarm signals...and don't be afraid to ACT on them (tell authorities and risk being wrong).
This book starts out with a story about about a terrorist plot sound just like one in the year 2002...except that it was a Nazi terrorist plot against the U.S. foiled during WWII. He points to times in history when all seemed bleak...yet the U.S. always survived. And what was so shocking at the time quickly became the new reality: people accepted it and lived with it, and moved on...until the next horror topped the last (and then that was accepted, etc).
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By L. A. Kane TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some interesting new vignettes but lacks the power of the original Gift of Fear, a work I consider essential reading and a must own book. If you've already read that book, you really don't need this one. The essential points have already been covered. It's certainly not a bad book by any means, it's just doesn't hold its own against the extremely high standard of his first work. Seems like he rushed this one to press without giving it the full attention it deserves. It's probably worth buying used but I regret paying full price.

Lawrence Kane
Author of Surviving Armed Assaults, The Way of Kata, and Martial Arts Instruction
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By William Holmes VINE VOICE on January 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Fear Less" is worth reading, and it is written in a brisk, "self-help" style that makes it easy to digest in a few sittings.
Gavin de Becker's first step is to confront the reader's fears by putting terrorism into perspective. He explains that life is not risk free, terrorism is not new and Americans are much better at stopping terrorists than you might think. Even after September 11, you face a much higher risk of being killed or injured in your car than in a terrorist attack or a plane crash. Thousands of people will die this year from complications caused by the flu--yet many of those who hoarded Cipro probably did not get a flu shot. de Becker's point is that while we should be vigilant about terrorism, we should not stand around and quake in our collective boots.
To help the reader understand where the fear is coming from, de Becker carefully analyzes the endless hand wringing of television news reporters. In the months that followed September 11, I grew very impatient with the stories streaming in from CNN, Fox News, and even the BBC--they just didn't match reality. The war in Afghanistan was supposed to go on for years (wrong), the allied forces were supposed to lose countless aircraft to Stinger missiles (wrong), the fierce Afghan and Al Qaeda warriors were going to bloody our groundtroops (wrong), the terrorists were poised to blow up American bridges and poision "the nation's" water supply (wrong so far), and Americans were hiding under their beds in fear of the next terrorist attack (wrong--everyone I know took a deep breath and kept on flying and living).
Becker zeroes in on the "code words" that television journalists use to mask a weak but scary story.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Having read "The Gift of Fear", I was really looking forward to this book. Don't worry if you haven't read "The Gift of Fear" though before you pick this up. Gavin de Becker does a good job of summarizing his points about fear- intuition and the feeling of true fear are gifts from nature, the survival instincts that help to keep us alive.
De Becker does a very good job of putting the tragedies of 9/11 into historical perspective. Today is a violent world, but so was yesterday AND tomorrow. Violence is a part of our nature. To accept that is actually an empowering thing. I think the author gives some very good advice to readers to help make you feel less paralyzed by the events we've seen this year and understand the difference between real risks and things we just worry about when we let our imagination run wild.
This brings me to one of the parts of the book I enjoyed the most- the chapter on the media and it's role in heightening our worries. De Becker gives good advice which I think many people did after the first week, post-9/11--- TURN OFF TV NEWS! They are in the business of getting you hooked with sensationistic stories. Part of this chapter contains a list of the most often used words/phrases/cliches news broadcasters use. I'd never really thought about how many news stories I watch have the word "possible" in it. Too many of the "news stories" we watch are just stories about things that MIGHT happen, worst case scenarios, etc. I've definitely felt my stress level go down since I've starting getting my news from other sources (e.g. CNN).
My only critism is that the book seemed a bit rushed. (However, the author admits that this was a book already in the works prior to 9/11 and given the appropriateness of the subject, work on it was accelerated so that it could come out sooner.)
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