crowyhead, September 25, 2008 (view all comments by crowyhead)
The more I think about this book, the more impressed I feel with how useful it is. So often, information about avoiding danger that is given to people, particularly women, is unhelpful, dangerous, sexist, and/or serves only to feed into paranoia.
De Becker, in contrast, draws a strong distinction between the culture of fear that we live in (where TV news and email forwards cultivate fear of dangers that are unlikely to occur), and fear as an instinctive tool one can use to protect oneself. He points out repeatedly that there is a difference between helpful fear and anxiety/worry, and that one must learn to quell the voices of paranoia that (for example) tell one that every individual walking down the street is a potential attacker, so that when one encounters someone who actually is a potential attacker, one can "hear" one's fear.
In addition to advising the reader to listen to his/her fear, de Becker also gives helpful tips regarding behaviors to watch for. Does someone refuse to accept "no" for an answer, after it's clearly stated? Do they seek to allay your discomfort by creating camraderie where there is none (using a lot of "we" statements)? Do they seem overly interested, or supply way too many details for someone you've just met?
De Becker doesn't just focus on encounters with strangers or near-strangers (such as dates one has just met). He also spends a great deal of time discussing domestic abuse and child abuse and the way fear functions in these relationships. There is also a great deal of information on workplace violence and ways it can be avoided, which should be required reading for any manager or hiring officer. The only time the book seemed somewhat irrelevant was in the later chapters, where de Becker discusses celebrity stalking and assasinations/assasination attempts. These chapters are interesting from a human behavior standpoint, but are less readily applicable.
Overall, I would recommend this to everyone, but particularly to women like me who sometimes have trouble balancing safety with the desire not to let anxiety rule their lives.
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rherrera123, August 1, 2008 (view all comments by rherrera123)
The "Gift of Fear" in the title refers to the intuitive ability of human beings that allows them to detect danger quickly, without conscious, logical thought. There's some good stuff in the book about how to recognize intuition, and also (in the very last chapter) how to distinguish real fear of real dangers from worry about hypothetical dangers. If you enjoyed reading The "Gift Of Fear" i recomend reading Gavin De Beckers new book " Just 2 Seconds". I was intrigued by the title “Just 2 Seconds” and having read DeBecker's "Gift of Fear" couldn't wait to read his insights on this fascinating subject. "Just 2 Seconds" did not disappoint. Within a few sentences, I found myself hooked. This book provides numerous insights on protecting public figures. I've recommended this book to many friends and each has agreed with my assessment. If you're in the protection, security, or law enforcement business, this book is a MUST HAVE! Gavin de Becker, Tom Taylor and Jeff Marquart understand the topic and present the material in a way that the reader can easily understand and digest!
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Ealasaid, June 18, 2007 (view all comments by Ealasaid)
I picked this book up because Sars of TomatoNation.com keeps recommending it, and I am now going to recommend it to everyone I can. It's hands-down the best book I've read on intuition and how society trains us to ignore it, and it offers a lot of very practical advice that you can use. He writes about the difference between needless fear and justified fear, and how to tell which one you're feeling. He writes about the cases he's handled as a security consultant. This really is a cross between a self-help book and a psychological thriller, and it succeeds on both fronts. I know I'll be listening to my intuition a lot more -- and knowing when it's sending me signals based on solid information and when it's reacting to the fearmongering so prevalent in our society. Good stuff.
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