June 25, 2017

Prepared Christian Book Review: The Gift of Fear

The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence,

by Gavin de Becker

Book Description from the Publisher:

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, including…how to act when approached by a stranger…when you should fear someone close to you…what to do if you are being stalked…how 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.
My Take:

I have had this book for a while but only recently started reading it. For full disclosure, I have not completed it yet. I am so thoroughly impressed that I believe this book should be required reading for everyone, especially women. I think it is important enough that I am going to give away five copies! See “how to enter” for a chance to win a copy.

Mr. De Becker is correct; true fear is a gift. In this book he explains how it is used as a weapon. He explains the signals to look for when men use ploys to get their way and when they won’t take no for an answer. This book will help you better understand threats, how they are used and why context matters.

Violence in the workplace, domestic violence, stalking and violence by children are all explored. You will be given example after example of why paying attention to one’s gut is critical. This brings me to my one complaint about the book; Mr. De Becker credits nature and evolution for this, I credit God. Just because he doesn’t give credit to God, doesn’t take away from the fact that he knows what he is talking about.

I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed this book, it’s too dark a topic to enjoy, but it is important and if I had a daughter, this book would be required reading.

I give this book 5 stars.


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  1. Must reading for all women. And good reading for men, for that matter.

    It has escalated my awareness in some important situations, and also helped de-escalate or at least modulate my semi-paranoia that I brought into civilian life, after being in LE. I have bought and handed out several copies to the ladies I care about. It’s nice to have an extra in your car, for example, when a female complains about some ex-boyfriend bothering her, or says she’s got a bad vibe about the guy downstairs, etc.

    Five Stars for sure.

  2. Just substitute God for the word “nature,” that’s my solution for that. I knew a psychiatrist who highly recommended this book to many of his patients and friends. God given instincts are a true first line defense. Yet we too often ignore them to our detriment if we don’t know the difference.

  3. Mark Manney says:

    After I read The Gift of Fear (many years ago) I had my wife and daughter read it and then I sent them to a woman’s self defense course. The combination was effective.

    My constant situational awareness and exaggerated startle reflex were forged in war where the gift of: fear, training, instinct, and combat experience have all combined to leave me hyper alert 24/7/365 to any and all threats…and reasonably prepared for most.

    Not too long ago I was heading back to my car during a dark freezing night in a Wal-Mart parking lot out outside of Philly during a business trip. I spotted two guys standing back between cars and in a place where they could come up behind me as I passed them walking to my car. There was no one in sight but us. They both looked like refugees from a police lineup. I stopped and made eye contact sliding my .380 out of its pocket holster ready to just tilt the barrel up and fire through my overcoat pocket if suddenly faced with a deadly force attack. The stop and lazor stare was a split second that spoke volumes.

    A funny thing happened along the way to their mugging…they knew that I knew…and the prey had the body language of a predator. The two guys with the hoodies and the wolf faces wispered to one another and probably decided to wait for someone that didn’t have the gifts….

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