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The Gift of Fear [Mass Market Paperback]

Gavin De Becker
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 11 1998
True fear is a gift.
Unwarranted fear is a curse.
Learn how to tell the difference.

A date won't take "no" for an answer. The new nanny gives a mother an uneasy feeling. A stranger in a deserted parking lot offers unsolicited help. The threat of violence surrounds us every day. But we can protect ourselves, by learning to trust—and act on—our gut instincts.

In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker, the man Oprah Winfrey calls the nation's leading expert on violent behavior, shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger—before it's too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker, whose clients include top Hollywood stars and government agencies, offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love, to act when approached by a stranger...when you should fear someone close to you...what to do if you are being to uncover the source of anonymous threats or phone calls...the biggest mistake you can make with a threatening person...and more. Learn to spot the danger signals others miss. It might just save your life.

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From Amazon

Each hour, 75 women are raped in the United States, and every few seconds, a woman is beaten. Each day, 400 Americans suffer shooting injuries, and another 1,100 face criminals armed with guns. Author Gavin de Becker says victims of violent behavior usually feel a sense of fear before any threat or violence takes place. They may distrust the fear, or it may impel them to some action that saves their lives. A leading expert on predicting violent behavior, de Becker believes we can all learn to recognize these signals of the "universal code of violence," and use them as tools to help us survive. The book teaches how to identify the warning signals of a potential attacker and recommends strategies for dealing with the problem before it becomes life threatening. The case studies are gripping and suspenseful, and include tactics for dealing with similar situations.

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Perhaps we have a bad feeling about someone we've just met, or a little gnawing perception that a situation just doesn't "feel right," or perhaps even a fear that a co-worker might do something harmful. What de Becker, renowned expert on violent behavior, explains here is that instead of shrugging off these fears, we need to listen to them, see why we're having them, and act accordingly. Far from being silly intuitions, often these can truly show when something is wrong and violence might be imminent; if listened to, along with information about how violent people behave, these feelings might protect us from harm. Using examples from cases on which he's worked and even from his own childhood of domestic violence de Becker shows how instinct, and knowledge, can warn us of impending violence, whether by stalkers, family members, predators, or people in the workplace. Expertly read by Tom Stechschulte, the book gives sound information (e.g., a detailed listing of behaviors predators use to ensnare victims) in a way that should be helpful to all listeners. Indeed, one of the best parts of this audio version is an epilog, going over some of the letters the author has received since the book's original publication in 1997, which tell, in gripping stories, just how great a gift one's intuition, and knowing how to use it, can be. Very highly recommended for all audio collections. Sally G. Waters, Stetson Law Lib., St. Petersburg, FL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Realistic look at crime that can benefit you June 22 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
THE GIFT OF FEAR: AND OTHER SURVIVAL SIGNALS THAT PROTECT US FROM VIOLENCE by Gavin de Becker is a helpful, engaging quick read (it's a trade paperback of around 380 pages). His premise is that fear is a means of survival and that if we listen to it and follow it, we can save our own and others' lives; however, for various reasons, we often discount our intuition about danger or we don't listen to our fear and put ourselves unnecessarily at risk.
The book begins with a "true crime" story about Kelly, a woman who was raped in her apartment by a man she met in her stairwell who offered to carry the groceries she had dropped up to her apartment. De Becker parses the incident and categorizes the methods the attacker employed to get her to do what he wanted and put herself under his control, and this section is very enlightening. But the main theme of this first chapter and the book is that men and women should follow their intuition -- intuition isn't some flighty, sixth sense; it's a call to action when your brain has become aware of many small signs that something isn't right, even if, at that moment, you cannot articulate exactly what is wrong.
This book is not a self-defense or how-to guide, but rather makes a case for intuition and believing in oneself when one senses danger or feels fear, and the best reading in it, I think, is the examples de Becker explicates from his many years in the security and risk-assessment business (he also lived through an exceedingly violent and abusive childhood).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epiphany after Epiphany March 9 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
From the age of 12 or so, ALL women begin to experience unwanted and often times threatening attention from the opposite sex.
-I've caught my friend's step father watching me undress (I listened to my intuition, turned around before I changed and saw him standing in the doorway in his underwear)
-Perverts particularly hang around middle schools when the school day is over, I've been flashed, seen men do things that are too explicit to recount here. (I was 12 and 13 yrs old)
-I've had countless men demand that I get into their car, I've been followed in stores and down the street by strangers.
-I've been grabbed and manhandled in crowded clubs or at concerts and couldn't identify who had done it because my immediate area was so crowded.
The terrifying thing about these situations I've just illustrated is that I could walk up to any woman on the street and she could tell me similar stories. One of the most important things I learned from this book were the specific methods used by attackers to convince a woman to let them into their house, give them a ride, etc. Now that I know the methods, I recall that many of them have been used on me. This is frightening because I know there are girls and women out there who find it difficult to say no to a man, are too trusting, easily charmed, or quick to rationalize their intuition. I say EVERY woman should read this book! I particularly believe that teenage girls should not only read it, but commit it to memory. It really could save your life, and offers insight into HOW these predators lure and persuade their marks. Once you know the methodology of these creeps, you can spot them blindfolded.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn to trust your intuition Nov. 28 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
That's the central message of the book, and one that may save your life if you listen to it.

Through this book, de Becker has convinced me that most violence can be predicted. He goes through a great many common situations in which violence happens, from encounters with strangers, workplace violence to domestic violence and date stalking. In each situation, he describes the indicators of likely violence. Some of these indicators are so often overlooked and rationalized away by the people involved. My favorite one is called: "Refusal to take no for an answer." It can be as trivial as the new date persisting in offering you a drink. Although trivial, such incidents are very telling about his tendency toward violence.

De Becker also discusses a characteristic in many people that blunts out their intuition to actual dangers: unwarranted anxiety. Due to media and social conditioning and other influences, those people feel fear or anxiety in situations that do not pose actual dangers. Such unwarranted anxiety makes them confused and oblivious to the real signals from their intuition. De Becker offers ways for people to overcome that curse and live a life relatively free from fear and anxiety.

In short, I would highly recommend this book. It is one of the few books should be read by everyone (both men and women).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Aeneas
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Gavin de Becker deals in a thorough way with the subject of violence, how one can predict it and also how one can protect oneself against it. The book is full of examples and many insights and leaves the reader with a much better understanding of fear and the warning that real fear communicates. It is clear from reading this book that violence doesn't just happen out of the blue, but that there are important steps that precedes the expression of violence that the attentive observer can use to protect him or herself. A very commendable read, that anyone would benefit from reading.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. It is very practical and helpful in ...
Excellent book. It is very practical and helpful in always "beiong safe", and being "street smart" in all aspects of life. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Moira Lauren
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative.
This is an exceptional book about learning to use fear to your advantage. It covers how to tell the difference between needless worry and genuine fear. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rusty Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
as a gift
Published 1 month ago by Francine Cool
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book!
A must read for all women!
Published 2 months ago by KT
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
This book talks a lot about gut instincts, and recognizing that those instincts are valid and essential. It gives great case studies, is well written and easy to read.
Published 4 months ago by TNT
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!!!
I love this book. Was introduced to it as a young woman and live by the "red flag" strategy. I have 3 daughters of my own and so I purchased this book for them to read. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Christine Lapierre
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing insight
It is a very informative book. There are situations that I didn't know which make you very vulnerable. It was a good read.
Published 6 months ago by sue komandanski
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I always have to read this author's books in chunks because it does bring me so anxiety, but it is such good info to have, and once I get though the books, I feel better prepared... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Becky
5.0 out of 5 stars helpful
having being put through a traumatic event this book has helped me escape living in fear and get back into the real world.
Published 12 months ago by Janet Bergstrom
4.0 out of 5 stars Gift of Fear
I bought this book for myself after trying many stores for it, than I lightbulb went off. Amazon. The kind of book that needs to be read several times.
Published 13 months ago by Carmel Mossey
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