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The Gift of Fear Paperback – May 11 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (May 11 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440508835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440508830
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #96,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

4.7 out of 5 stars

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Stacey M Jones on 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Phung Minh Hoang on 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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9 2004
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Aeneas on Nov. 6 2007
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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