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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.
"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.""
" 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."
" Important and provocative."
--Linda A. Fairstein, sex crimes prosecutor and author
" Chilling and fascinating."
--Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson
From Library Journal
-Gregor A. Preston, formerly with Univ. of California Lib., Davis
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --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
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 402 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0316235776
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,540 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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This book made all the difference. So many times women who have been attacked/raped describe how nice their attacker seemed seconds before. When I saw that his eyes had turned black and he had zero interest in that dog (who I think was a prop to get women to respond to him), I knew I had to get out and I did, thank God. Please buy this book and share-- it doesn't matter that it's 20 years old-- same thing applies today and then.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
The premise of the book, in a nutshell, is: trust your instincts. The author takes you through the way your brain processes threats and the fact that, to your brain, it's a binary matter - stay or get the hell out of there. It doesn't consider that you need to know the ins and outs of why there is a threat, you just need to know that's the situation is dangerous and you need to do something about it. It highlights how the analytical part of your brain is too slow and by the time you realise why you are in danger it could be too late. The author takes the reader through a number of scenarios where the victim's life is saved by trusting their instincts and then breaks them down so that you can see what the warning signs were - warning signs missed by the conscious mind but picked up by the subconscious.
From there, the book takes the subject of risk very wide and includes advice on how to deal with obsessive people and stalkers and details their mindsets.
There is far too much to go into in an Amazon review but suffice to say The Gift of Fear provides an excellent guide to the psychology of people you would be better off avoiding and why, if you get a bad feeling about a person or a situation, you are probably right.
The Gift of Fear is highly readable. De Becker makes frequent use of anecdotes to highlight his principles and this prevents the book from becoming too bogged down in technical detail. I have read this book about four times now and I refer back to parts of it frequently. I do not consider myself to be particularly academic so most people should not find it to be too hard going. It is a solid, practical guide to risk, how to spot it, and why understanding what the risk is, is something best considered afterwards from a safe distance. It's extremely useful for keeping yourself safe but also provides a number of principles that can be used to advise others.
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....