The Gift of Fear

The Gift of Fear

Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence

Book - 1998
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Explains how to use the power of intuition to identify and avoid danger, and shares advice on restraining orders and self-defense tactics.
Publisher: New York : Dell Pub., [1998]
ISBN: 9780440226192
Branch Call Number: 362.88 DE BECKER
Characteristics: x, 420 p. ; 18 cm.


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Gemini__Librarian Jul 17, 2020

The Gift of Fear emphasizes making understanding of common sense and trusting your intuition when a situation seems uncertain, mysterious and even potentially dangerous. Unfortunately, crime is known to exist in the world since the dawn of time and detailed studies show evidence of crime even amongst a host of life on Earth including animal species. Anthropologists have long documented a violent history amongst various characters in the animal kingdom, amongst humans and have described acts of crime and violence as primitive, biological impulses, sometimes regulated and clearly for others, sometimes not. These destructive impulses have theorists suggesting their effects namely that of to control, to gain power, to gain resources, to gain advantage and so forth. A look into the history of crime and punishment shows our earliest ancestors were witnesses of crime and improving society meant creating systems that enable protection of those who are injured and punishing those who are a detriment with their violent, destructive conduct. Justice systems were developed in part to remedy the effects of crime. The Gift of Fear presents "warning signals" to look for in the vast span of everyday life in effort to protect our own lives and those of others. From strange encounters to very evident and blatant signs to look for, Gavin De Becker provides a common sense outlook and strategy for identifying and combatting crime. His idea espouses an individual who is truly cognizant and is trusting their insight and sensory perceptions may be able to better pinpoint, identify and alleviate crime. De Becker provides anecdotes of survivors of violence who, after experiencing odd behavior from criminals, relayed there was distinct, clear, lucid, identifiable activity on behalf of the criminal that in some way was made known to the crime victim. These crime victims then relayed they felt they had an internal obligation to recognize and share what they observed as a crime victim. Some of these crime survivors then shared they were, in essence, gaslighted by those around them. Reasons for gaslighting varied, but in many cases, some of the individuals who exemplified gaslighting were not able to perceive the crime in the same way as the perceptive crime victim did. Some individuals who gaslight became deniers of a crime even though they were an indirect crime victim and the crime was happening and readily apparent. Crime victims then noted those who gaslighted appeared to not be paying attention to their environment. De Becker highly encourages paying attention to your immediate environment and argues paying attention to your direct environment can save your own life in times of criminal crisis. Some episodes of crime involve strategic routine and Gavin De Becker shares his advice for recognizing patterns of conduct and not ignoring these warning signs if something appears out of the ordinary or off-kilter. His argument is we have an innate ability to recognize and deter crime but if we are not trusting our judgment and assessment it may come at a higher cost. Gavin De Becker shares practical, logical, sensible ways to recognize, deal, uncover and ultimately survive crime. This is a suggested read for individuals who are wanting to improve their idea of safety, perception and understanding of cycles of crime and violence in order to live a more safe, welcoming, healthy life. - Review Written by Danielle

Dec 10, 2019

This book, to an extent, is out of date. In San Francisco, there are battered women's shelters dedicated to the victims of women. ! Who'da thought it? And who, in such cases, are we expected to believe, automatically, which is the basis of the 'Me 2' movement. Automatic belief. Which could come full circle when you consider some of the situations Mr. Gavin deals with, in this book: If you are in your company's parking lot, heading toward your vehicle to go home, and you see a nattily dressed young man heading on a collision path towards you , at an angle, should you assume that no harm is going to come to you (because you are in a familiar setting; because he does not look like the stereotype of a danger-stranger); or, should you change your course so you do not collide. And, anticipate, so that if he corrects his course in order to, again, collide with you: that is when you make ready your self-defense tools. You look around, to see if there is anyone else in the vicinity, upon whom you can call for help. You prepare your vocal cords for the eventuality of the necessity of screaming...............But if you are a woman involved in a same-sex relationship, who discovers too late that her partner is a bully, i guess you're up the proverbial creek, then, for this is now an unpublicized problem, for which little has been prepared for you to , prepare yourself for the eventuality of the problem to break forth./ My point of course being, that the bullying relationship amongst the victim-class is not a rarity, unfortunately. A point Mr. De Becker has missed in this book./ If you are a woman who has been taught never to fear other women, then this book could hardly be of help to you in such a case. Possibly, if you substitute the advice for protecting yourself from men, to protecting yourself from predator-women, this would work out well for you.

Dec 08, 2019

Second reading of this book. I use this information every time I leave the house. Considering current social/political situations, content is out ot date.

AnnabelleLee27 May 15, 2019

An encouraging and thoughtful examination of fear, danger, and intuition. The first half was the strongest and most convincing while the section on OJ Simpson was puzzling and incomplete as it failed to acknowledge the impact of race and race relations on this highly visible and emotionally charged case. Overall, the author draws from a wide range of experiences to offer many practical tips and presents a wealth of well-organized resources in the appendices.

Apr 24, 2019

This book is geared more towards women. I found it overly wordy and at around 330 pages, it is a long read. I found myself skipping large sections of the book and reviewing chapter headings to see if I would find them useful or not. Not recommended for most readers.

Apr 03, 2019

This is the one book I highly recommend that everyone read. We often teach children to ignore their fears, and honestly, that's a great disservice. Yes, there is no bogeyman under the bed or in the closet, but sometimes children pick up cues in situations that we automatically dismiss without a thought. (and we were conditioned to ignore it!) I'm really surprised that the library system does not have a copy of Protecting the Gift that is by the same author to pair with this book, as both are excellent. There is also a good book called Surviving the Stalker by Linden Gross that is in the system that I recommend as well.

Mar 15, 2019

We often miss cues about someone who could potentially harm us. This book helps us develop what we need from our intuition and just plain common sense to keep us safe-r. I learned a lot from this book.

Aug 06, 2016

This book is so helpful at helping ones to understand violence and how we unintentionaly add to it by glamorizing it.

May 20, 2016

Recommended in Amy Poehler's book.

Mar 10, 2015

Incredible book, I plan on buying my own copy.
Clear writing style.
Author passionate about and experienced in subject matter.
Loved it!
(I gave it four stars rather than five because I am a female firearms instructor and disagree with his feelings on firearms)

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Mar 10, 2015

pg 64: “’No’ is a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who chooses not to hear it is trying to control you.”

Mar 10, 2015

pg 69: “Remember, the nicest guy, the guy with no self-serving agenda whatsoever, the one who wants nothing from you, won’t approach you at all. You are not comparing the man who approaches you to all men, the vast majority of whom have no sinister intent. Instead, you are comparing him to other men who make unsolicited approaches to women alone, or to other men who don’t listen when you say no.”

Mar 10, 2015

pg 58: “We must learn and then teach our children that niceness does not equal goodness. Niceness is a decision, a strategy of social interaction; it is not a character trait. People seeking to control others almost always present the image of a nice person in the beginning. Like rapport building, charm, and the deceptive smile, unsolicited niceness often has a discoverable motive.”

Mar 25, 2012

My childhood wasn't a movie, of course, though it did have chase sequences, fight scenes, shoot-outs, skyjacking, life-and-death suspense, and suicide. The plot didn't make much sense to me as a boy, but it does now.

Mar 25, 2012

We want to believe that with all the possible combinations of human beings and human feelings, predicting violence is as difficult as picking the winning lottery ticket, yet it is usually isn't difficult at all. We want to believe that human violence is somehow beyond our understanding, because as long as it remains a mystery, we have no duty to avoid it, explore it, or anticipate it. We need feel no responsibility for failing to read signals if there are none to read. We can tell ourselves that violence just happens without warning, and usually to others, but in service of these comfortable myths, victims suffer and criminals prosper.


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