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The Gift of Fear Mass Market Paperback – May 11 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 209 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; 1 edition (May 11 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440226198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440226192
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.9 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 209 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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

De Becker, the CEO of a firm that attempts to predict and prevent violence against individuals, shares his informed insights on enhancing personal safety. He believes that violence is part of the human condition and that America is increasingly a violent place. For example, homicide is now the leading cause of death for women in the workplace. De Becker posits that intuition is our most basic and reliable survival skill. When it produces fear?as distinct from worry or anxiety?we should pay attention. Mixing theory with case histories, he discusses stranger-to-stranger crime, obsessive admirers, employee rampages, and spousal crime, as well as the more esoteric categories of celebrity stalkers and assassins. Having suffered an abusive childhood himself, de Becker has a special empathy for victims and an acute awareness of the signs of criminal intent. A valuable contribution on a timely topic, this is recommended for public libraries.
-?Gregor A. Preston, formerly with Univ. of California Lib., Davis
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By A Customer on Dec 23 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read this book few years back. And six months ago I was .. abused on the street. I was followed by a sick perverted person for 3 blocks while I was jogging, and when I turned back while trying get away from him, he grabbed my hand and assaulted me in various places. Using knowledge of this book, I screamed and people heard and came out on the street, and thank God, I was not raped or anything but this book and reading this book saved my life. I'm very greateful to the author for taking time to write this book
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By A. Volk #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on April 10 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My title says it all. This book talks about crime, especially violent crime, and how to avoid being a victim. It emphasizes two things:

1- Listen to your instincts. They aren't always right, but they do pick up cues from the environment and process them unconsciously. The feeling that something isn't right with that guy who keeps staring at you suggests that something is almost certainly not right. It might not be malicious, but it might, and you should now change your actions accordingly.

2- Trust data and science. Cops, the law, common advice, etc. often fall short in delivering the advice victims need. Especially victims of stalking (e.g., restraining orders can INCREASE the chance of violence).

This is an excellent, easy-to-read book that I'd highly recommend to the anyone and everyone.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is simply the best book of advice on how everyone can protect themselves from danger (and many other unwanted situations). And yes, it is a very simple strategy - as some reviews have pointed out - that shouldn't have to be taught, or learned. That is because, as the author repeatedly points out, humans have allowed centuries of civilization to deaden their innate animal instinct of survival - also known as "intuition".
This is not a book sounding an alarm bell of paranoia, nor does it advocate any sort of vigilante action. Anyone who is familiar with the term "fight or flight" will immediately grasp that avoiding a dangerous situation is always preferable to a violent conclusion. For the "fight", one may choose various forms of (trained) self-defense, none of which are actively promoted here, or may simply call 911 if a real threat does materialize - all encompassed by the term "common sense".
But, what isn't that common anymore is trusting your gut feeling that something is very wrong, that you or someone else is in very imminent danger, and then taking all reasonable steps to avoid the easily predictable outcome. So why do we need a book to tell us all this when, as many have pointed out here and elsewhere, that the advice given is so simple? Read the book and find out. After all, "buy low, sell high" hasn't worked for many investors, and "eat less, exercise more" has been around forever, but every day people are trying to lose weight with the latest fad diet. Simple advice isn't that simple at all: it is very difficult to accept an answer that is right in front of you, one that is in you already, called "intuition". Listen to it. Simple(?).
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