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The Gift of Fear Kindle Edition
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People don't just "snap" and become violent, says de Becker, whose clients include federal government agencies, celebrities, police departments, and shelters for battered women. "There is a process as observable, and often as predictable, as water coming to a boil." Learning to predict violence is the cornerstone to preventing it. De Becker is a master of the psychology of violence, and his advice may save your life. --Joan Price
A Q&A with Gavin de Becker
Gavin de Becker : Your question contains much of the answer: today’s world, "where terror and tragedy seem omnipresent..." The key word is "seem." When TV news coverage presents so much on these topics, it elevates the perception of terrorism and tragedy way beyond the reality. In every major city, TV news creates forty hours of original production every day, most of it composed and presented to get our attention with fear. Hence an incident on an airplane in which a man fails to do any damage is treated as if the make-shift bomb actually exploded. It didn’t. Imagine having a near miss in your car, avoiding what would have been a serious collision--and then talking about every hour for months after the fact. Welcome to TV news.
To the second part of your question, No, the world is not a more violent place than it has ever been, however we live as if it were. The U.S. is the most powerful nation in world history--and also the most afraid.
Question: You were just on the Oprah show discussing spousal homicide--can you talk about the show, and whether spousal homicide is a growing epidemic?
Gavin de Becker: Through two shows Oprah dedicated to the topic, we’re conveying a great deal of new information, and most of all, Oprah’s announcement that a MOSAIC assessment system developed by my firm will be made available to any person who wants to use it, at no cost, via her website. This will allow anyone to diagnose a relationship to determine if it has the combination of factors most associated with escalated violence, and spousal homicide. Is spousal homicide increasing? It is not; however, the reality is more disturbing than an increase: Spousal homicide has remained a constant in our lives, such that every four hours at least one woman is killed in America by a husband or boyfriend. That uninterrupted and sad statistic can be interrupted and changed--because as explored in The Gift of Fear, spousal homicide is the single most preventable serious crime in America--largely owing to that fact that it always occurs after many warning signs, and after several people are aware of the risk.
Question: Your bestselling book The Gift of Fear gives many examples to help readers recognize what you call pre-incident indicators (PINS) of violence. What role does intuition play in recognizing these signals?
Gavin de Becker: Like every creature on earth, we have an extraordinary defense resource: We don’t have the sharpest claws and strongest jaws--but we do have the biggest brains, and intuition is the most impressive process of these brains. It might be hard to accept its importance because intuition is often described as emotional, unreasonable, or inexplicable. Husbands chide their wives about "feminine intuition" and don’t take it seriously. If intuition is used by a woman to explain some choice she made or a concern she can’t let go of, men roll their eyes and write it off. We much prefer logic, the grounded, explainable, unemotional thought process that ends in a supportable conclusion. In fact, Americans worship logic, even when it’s wrong, and deny intuition, even when it’s right. Men, of course, have their own version of intuition, not so light and inconsequential, they tell themselves, as that feminine stuff. Theirs is more viscerally named a "gut feeling," but whatever name we use, it isn’t just a feeling. It is a process more extraordinary and ultimately more logical in the natural order than the most fantastic computer calculation. It is our most complex cognitive process and, at the same time, the simplest.
Intuition connects us to the natural world and to our nature. It carries us to predictions we will later marvel at. "Somehow I knew," we will say about the chance meeting we predicted, or about the unexpected phone call from a distant friend, or the unlikely turnaround in someone’s behavior, or about the violence we steered clear of, or, too often, the violence we elected not to steer clear of. The Gift of Fear offers strategies that help us recognize the signals of intuition--and helps us avoid denial, which is the enemy of safety.
Question: Your latest book, Just 2 Seconds, has been called a "masterpiece" of analysis on the art of preventing assassination. It contains an entire compendium of attacks on protected persons across the globe. What motivated you to put together such a definitive reference? What tenets can be applied to one’s everyday life?
Gavin de Becker: Most of all, we wrote the book we needed. My co-authors and I had long looked for an extensive collection of attack summaries from which important new insights could be harvested. Unable to find it, we committed to do the work ourselves, eventually collecting more than 1400 cases to analyze. Many new insights and concepts emerged from the study, and the one most applicable to day to day life, even for people who are not living with unusual risks, is to be in the present; pre-sent, as it were. Now is the only time anything ever happens--now is where the action is. All focus on anything outside the Now (the past, memory, the future, fantasy) detracts focus from what’s actually happening in your environment. Human being have the capacity to look right at something and not see it, and in studying such a crisp event--the few seconds during which assassinations have occurred--Just 2 Seconds aims to enhance the reader’s ability to see the value of the present moment.
(Photo © Avery Helm)
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"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 --Reviews --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B0036Z9U2A
- Publisher : Gavin de Becker (January 19, 2010)
- Publication date : January 19, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 490 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 354 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,615 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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When he got in the car, I suddenly felt DANGER radiating at me from the passenger seat. It actually felt like a heat lamp burning my skin, a physical presence I'd never felt before or since. I went to FULL RED ALERT, and was on edge until I got him to his house. I let him out with the car in reverse and my foot ready to stomp the gas. He held his hand out for a shake I didn't feel like, but we're trained to BE POLITE so I took it. This wussy looking guy had a grip like iron. As I left, the danger feeling stopped and I eventually forgot about it.
Fast forward to finding this book. As I read it, that incident came back to mind. I realized he had lied repeatedly and tried to manipulate me, taking advantage of my society-trained compulsion to be "nice" to a pushy stranger. My subconscious noticed all the things I ignored, added them up and decided he was trouble. Bigger trouble than I'd ever met and it made damn sure I paid attention.
And that's exactly what this book teaches you to do. LISTEN to your instincts and OBEY them, don't endanger yourself to "be polite" to someone who makes you nervous. That danger signal may have saved my life, and I'm not an easy target.
I have bought, loaned and given away at least ten copies of this book. Everyone thanks me profusely and passes it on to someone else they care about. Get it for you, get it for a loved one. Get it for the women in your life, who are unfortunately preferred targets for criminals. Ignore the second half, it's all about workplace and profiling. But the first half could save your life, or that of someone you love. BUY IT NOW.
I also greatly appreciate the author's discussion of the origins of fear and how important it has been in allowing mankind to develop. In addition to the twenty years I spent in law enforcement, I am also a Certified Body Language trainer and teach the power of nonverbal communication. As research has shown, what we call women's intuition is in reality the fact that women, on average, are far better at picking up nonverbal cues than men. That "intuition" was absolutely essential for the females of our species to survive in a very hostile world, where they were of slighter stature and needed to quickly detect threats around them. As the primary caregiver to children they also needed to be able to effectively interpret the cues and needs of infants and small children before spoken language.
One interesting study involved showing short film clips with the sound turned off to groups of men and women. Women scored an incredible 87% accuracy in evaluating the situation shown in the video. Afraid guys we only scored 42%. fMRI scans reveal women use 14-16 regions of their brains during communication, while men only 4-6 areas (most women probably would dispute giving us that much credit-:)
In modern society, in the interest of being "polite", we often suppress our natural intuition, our gut feelings. Back in my police career we didn't even have a term called Body Language. We only knew it as "street-smarts". One of my great fears has to do with my beautiful wife's suppression of her natural intuition around strangers, in the interest of being polite and non-judgemental. The nature of my our respective careers requires us to live in a dense urban area, surrounded by all sorts of threats. Dark parking lots, underground garages, elevators and streets filled with street people and drug addicts. While our building is very secure, once you are on the streets it's a whole different ball game. She has terrific intuition when she uses it. She is like a perfectly honed tuning fork when she is willing to trust her intuition, but due to her kind and trusting nature, she often suppresses it in the interest of being all-inclusive and accepting.
Gavin de Becker's loud message to women, Trust your gut, Don't suppress your intuition, Don't worry about hurting some stranger's feelings is a powerful one. It is my hope that my wife and every woman will be willing to read the book, reflect on all the powerful stories in The Gift of Fear, including the author's personal story.
The world has changed a lot in the past 20 years. The dangers or the way we should be using our intuition or protect ourselves have changed and evolved. But this book has not evolved or being updated at all.
Top reviews from other countries
Instead of buying this book and wading through his self-promotion you could just tell yourself "be more alert in dangerous situations and act if you feel threatened" the end result is the same....
Red: ignore what's going on around them until it's too late.
Amber: take some note of what's going on around them but tend to miss obvious warnings. This is most people.
Green: full alert every time they are out of the house, constantly assessing and noting or dismissing potential threats. Unlikely to be caught off guard and will react appropriately to aggression.
This tends to include those trained to a high level in many martial arts, low enforcement, security (if trained thoroughly) and the military. They do not walk along the street with their earbuds turned up to maximum and their expensive phones held up in the air for anyone to snatch.
A highly recommended book.