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The Fear Project: What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me About Survival, Success, Surfing . . . and Love Hardcover – January 8, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“There is a hell of a lot of fun packed between these two covers. Wonderfully reported, unflinchingly honest and definitely big-balled. If Jaimal Yogis' deep dive into fear doesn't make you want to go out and push your limits--well, you're probably already dead.” ―Steven Kotler, author of West of Jesus

“Nothing holds us back more in life than fear. Jaimal Yogis explores this primal emotion in depth from an evolutionary, neuropsychological, and philosophical perspective, all wrapped up in a highly engaging personal narrative. The Fear Project offers the keys to overcoming excuses and anxiety, and stepping into the life you've always dreamed of having.” ―MeiMei Fox, co-author of the New York Times bestseller, Fortytude

The Fear Project is an enchanting autobiographical journey. Yogis deftly explores our current scientific, religious and philosophical views on our most fundamental emotion, and the reward is as significant as it is palpable. I absolutely loved this book and will share it with everyone--in particular, high performance athletes.” ―Michael Lardon, author of Finding Your Zone

“Jaimal Yogis weaves together neuroscience, dramatic true stories, and practical wisdom in a fascinating, important book that moves with the page-turning verve of a thriller.” ―Rick Hanson, author of The Buddha's Brain

“Like a mammoth wave moving across the ocean, The Fear Project takes us on a wild ride into the heart of our deepest primordial fears and onto the shores of light.” ―Stuart Coleman, author of Eddie Would Go and Fierce Heart

“From the first chapter about his swimming in the dark, shark-infested waters surrounding Alcatraz to stories of surfing 80-foot waves at Mavericks, this book is alive and pumping with adrenaline! It brings you to the edge of fear over and over again with a lasting lesson on confronting fear in ways that are healthy and powerful.” ―David Romanelli, author of Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' the Moment

“This book is worth the price of admission for the Maverick's chapter alone: the first and, as far as I know, only literary first-person account of riding one of the greatest big-wave breaks on Earth. Yogis is a man on an authentic mission--to face down his deepest fears and interrogate the deepest sources of meaning in every aspect of human life. From his Alcatraz swim to surfing Maverick's to that biggest challenge of all--fatherhood--Yogis writes with confidence, clarity, and brio. This is a heartfelt, hard-won, and utterly worthwhile book.” ―Dan Duane, author of How to Cook Like a Man

“Jaimal Yogis combines harrowing personal experiences with cutting edge science to bring us remarkable insight into fear. The Fear Project will transform how you approach this primal emotion -- and your life.” ―David Agus, MD, author of the New York Times best-seller, The End of Illness

“The Fear Project not only tells the riveting story of the science of fear, but helps us understand how we can deal with fear when it stands in our way. Effortlessly weaving together science and everyday life, this book gives you insight into your own fears such that you can face them head-on and perform at your best.” ―Sian Beilock, Ph.D., author of Choke

“The Fear Project is an engrossing and insightful book that blends memoir, research, interviews, and the author's honest search for meaning and safety in an unpredictable world of nature and relationships. It's a solid read that entertains, educates, and at times challenges readers to push themselves just a little harder.” ―About.com

“The true strength of The Fear Project is its versatility. Our fears are so personal and precise, but Yogis somehow manages to leave no stone unturned in looking at the full spectrum of fears, be they developmental, situational, comical, or extreme. He crafts a charming narrative based in accessible science reporting and his own experiences, and readers are certain to find echoes of their own fears and anxieties throughout the book. The Fear Project is smart, funny, and essential reading.” ―Mark Lukach, author of Where the Road Meets the Sun

“Honest memoir with thorough reporting on the things that scare us all... readers can use what [Yogis] learned embracing his deepest fears to dispel their own.” ―SPIRITUALITY & HEALTH MAGAZINE

“The Fear Project is replete with practical advice (all backed by scientific research) like getting more exercise, using breathing techniques, finding time to meditate, thinking positively and facing your fears.” ―Monterey County

“Yogs' descriptions of his inaugural Mavericks session make fear palpable.” ―OUTSIDE.COM

“This book will give you insight as to why fear can dominate your life and ways to use fear as an ally...This book took me to the depths of my fears--the current one of uncertainty--and gavem e insight to relate to it in new and emerging ways.When you are ready to explore fear as an ally, go read this book.” ―TONINGTHEOM.COM

“An adventure-seeking surfer triumphs over his anxieties and proves you can, too.” ―O MAGAZINE

“In Yogis' beautifully candid exploration of his own heart, our cerebral processes, and the way fear can debilitate and sometimes even motivate us, The Fear Project offers up the means to see between the folds of our grey matter…and make changes to how we perceive the inherent and inevitable trials and travails of life…This is a fascinating and sagely penned work that's full of ideas and philosophies” ―EASTERN SURF MAGAZINE

About the Author

Jaimal Yogis is an award-winning journalist who has written for ESPN The Magazine, The Washington Post, The Surfer's Journal, The Chicago Tribune, AFAR, San Francisco Magazine and many others. His critically acclaimed first book, Saltwater Buddha, is currently being adapted into a film. Jaimal is an avid surfer and lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; First Ed 1st Printing edition (January 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609611756
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609611750
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Morris on January 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Jaimal Yogis' book is a series of stories peppered with research and wonderful insights about coping with fear. He talks about some truly daunting life situations, but also the life situations many of us find ourselves in -- falling in love, having children, creating art. One of my responding thought processes while reading it was that we *must* venture out, we *must* challenge our comfort zone -- because that's what courage is, and what being human is, and it's how we fuel creativity and diversity and learning and growth. Embracing fear is an art, and this book is a very nice way to start that adventure.

He writes: "In almost all primate species -- and we are one -- there is a phenomenon scientists call voluntary dispersal or voluntary transfer. A monkey, usually around adolescence, will leave the safety of his or her clan and family to go and mate with a monkey from another area, a huge risk. The monkey must leave the familiarity and safety of the clan, travel alone, and expose itself to what may be an abusive or dangerous group of monkeys. Romeo seeking Juliet is the prime human example of this, and while the importance of this brazen act is likely to keep us from all dating our cousins, it may be one of the origins of what we call courage."

In the next paragraph, he quotes Robert Sapolsky: "...We do know that following this urge is one of the most resonantly primate of acts. [snip] To hell with logic and sensible behavior, to hell with tradition and respecting your elders, to hell with this drab little town, and to hell with that knot of fear in your stomach. Curiosity, excitement, adventure -- the hunger for novelty is something fundamentally daft, rash, and enriching that we share with our whole taxonomic order.
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I like Jaimal Yogis... I think I saw him at the Beach (SF) once. I love how he disects "fear" which is something surfers must contend with. It's full of personal experience and researched well through different disciplines like psychologists, extreme sports enthusiasts and professionals alike. I feel this book helped me face my own fears... become more intimate with my own fears because it makes one think about it (simply put.) And it is not limited or focused on surfers but it probably is focused more on (risk takers) and athletes.
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I have mixed feelings about this review. There are some good aspects to this book, but in the end I graded it down due to its flaws.

The Good:
-This book is in the manner of many science books written today for the general public. I enjoy this category of books,and I looked forward to learning about the subject of Fear. He does provide some information that I will benefit from.
-The writing style and quality is good.

The Bad:
-In many books of this style, it's common for the researcher to discuss a particular patient who has problems that are being discussed. The problem here is that the patient is always the author, and as often happens, when an author writes about himself, he goes into excessive detail and doesn't know when to stop. One would think that this book is about Fear, but in reality it's about his breakup, and then getting a new relationship, and then getting married, etc. A good editor would have trimmed this book down substantially. It feels almost as though the author didn't have enough material, so he padded the book with personal data. There were many times when I would simply skim 10 - 15 pages because he was talking only about himself.

As I said above, he does say some good things about brain research and its relationship with fear, but as other reviewers have said, the book could have been much shorter. If you're interested in this subject, I'd recommend you use a different book. For the cost of this book, and more importantly, the time committed to reading it (and I did finish the book), I don't think this book delivers.
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This book contains intellectual candy of a similar vein to Malcolm Gladwell. Where it falls short is when the author personalizes his "journey". He just wasn't able to make me care very much about his ever-so-awesome friends or his inability to commit to a woman. It's a pity, because when he is able to get over himself it's a great read with lots of useful and thought-provoking content.
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This book doesn't - nor can any book - solve all of your problems, but it does have some good nuggets. You get a lot of excellent coping strategies that are woven around the author's experiences. The science bits are excellent and really tie it all together.
I would recommend it to any seeker.
Brent
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If sharks both actual and metaphorical are holding you back and you want to get the skinny on the science of fear this book is for you. Get tools to help you walk into your own monster's maw with greater ease. Jaimal is a soulful guide who takes you on many of his real life adventures. He has a knack of making you feel as if you are right there paddling out with him into the thrilling surf.
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Yogis breaks down complex emotion, instincts, and thoughts into easily digestible explanations. I was immediately able to use what he teaches about fear and overcoming it to make me a better snowboarder. I can't wait to surf again as well as taking on many of my social fears.
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