16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Thought-provoking book on how to enhance personal safety and improve personal decision-making,
This review is from: Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Feelings Betray Us (Hardcover)
In this thought-provoking book, a retired FBI special agent challenges the notion that people can rely on their gut feelings, intuitions, or emotional reactions to effectively assess other people, recognize dangerous situations, and enhance their personal safety. The author uses her experience as a behavioral analyst ("profiler") to discuss, analyze, and describe how many people are not very good at doing the following: (1) accurately gauging the personality and character of other people; (2) predicting or anticipating how people will behave; (3) observing pertinent details or understanding their significance; (4) being effective in asking questions and eliciting relevant answers; (5) making good risk assessments; (6) engaging in sound decision-making; and (7) taking effective steps to enhance their personal safety. The author also makes recommendations on how people can improve their ability to undertake those actions effectively.
The author illustrates her observations, arguments, and recommendations with examples from various criminal cases, including such notorious ones as Gary Leon Ridgway (Green River Killer), Ted Bundy (serial killer), Dennis Raeder (BTK Killer), Charles Whitman (University of Texas clock tower shooter), Edmund Emil Kemper (serial killer), Derrick Todd Lee (Baton Rouge Serial Killer), and Kevin Coe (South Hill Rapist). The author's references to various criminal cases (whether notorious or not notorious) are made to support her observations, arguments, and recommendations, not to provide a systematic study or review of the criminal cases themselves.
This book is written for the general public, and does not require the reader to have any training or experience in law enforcement, security, psychology, behavioral analysis, or risk assessment. Anyone looking for technical or detailed discussions of serial criminals, behavioral analysis, interviewing or interrogation, risk assessment, and personal safety should look for other books.
This is a fairly readable, worthwhile book about serious topics that can affect all people at various times during the course of their lives. The author's observations, arguments, and recommendations are thoughtful and worth considering, even if the reader does not find all of them persuasive.