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The Gift of Fear


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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 Cahners Business Information.

"Remember that the vast majority of violent people started as you did, felt what you felt, wanted what you wanted," admonishes the author. "The difference is in the lessons they learned." De Becker, founder of his self-named company that designed a system used to screen threats aimed at public figures, grew up in a volatile household in which, at one time, he witnessed his mother, a victim of repeated beatings, shoot at and nearly kill her husband. Here he writes how he learned to sense and move away from dangerous situations. According to him, it is possible to develop survival skills based on intuition that can protect us from people unable to control their violent instincts. De Becker argues that the tendency of TV news programs to air stories of unusual disasters as immediate dangers interferes with our ability to discriminate between real and manufactured fear. A practical if pedestrian guide to enhancing the safety of yourself and your loved ones. (June)

"The Gift of Fear offers the gift of survival. Read it."--Linden Gross, author of To Have or to Harm
"A how-to book that reads like a thriller...provocative...empowering."--Boston Globe
"A tour de force...Riveting, instructive, a book that dissects the phenomenon of violence, unravels its mysteries, and shows us how to prevail."--Erika Holzer, author of Eye for an Eye
"De Becker has a lot to say about crime and the fear of crime, and he says it persuasively...His blend of empathy, reassurance, and common sense wows readers."--Newsweek
"Gavin de Becker's book is the first to explain that our powers of intuition are the best protection we have against violence."--Daniel M. Petrocelli, lead counsel for plaintiffs in Fred Goldman v. O. J. Simpson
"Gavin de Becker's brilliant insights and encyclopedic familiarity with the minds of criminals have made powerful contributions to the successful prosecution of many cases, including mine, and now he shares that knowledge with his readers."--Marcia Clark, prosecutor
"Should be required reading for women and their loved ones. It offers potentially life-saving information in a style that is compelling. It is by far the best book I have read on how to handle violence, and I recommend it to one and all."--Theresa Saldana, actress and founder of Victims for Victims
"Superb and compelling, bringing into focus the complexity of human response to real or perceived danger. De Becker redefines the parameters of fear and challenges the basis of a fear response. This book is for everyone who has ever feared."--Ann Wolpert Burgess, Professor of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
"The ability to protect oneself from violent behavior, largely through one's own intuition, is the central premise of de Becker's book--thus, fear is a gift. The book taps the anxieties of an era."--New York Times
"This book can save your life...It should be read by everyone who wants to triumph over fear."--Scott Gordon, former Chairman of the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council

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