The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect us from Violence by Gavin De Becker

The Gift of FearThis is one of the most important self-protection book ever written, despite containing (in one sense) no martial arts whatsoever! In another sense, it delves into the key martial arts aspect of awareness in unparalleled depth.

Most reputable self-defence will tell you that awareness of danger is often more valuable than the ability to kick and punch your way out of it. Gavin de Becker shows how the ability to detect threats is hard-wired into our psyche from birth. We simply need to learn to listen to our intuition, rather than allowing the conscious mind to dictate what we believe are the facts.

He argues, very convincingly, that intuition is far more reliable than reason, calling it ‘soaring flight compared to the plodding of logic’. He goes on to show what signs to look for, and how to interpret these signs correctly.

Interestingly, women are far more in tune with intuition than men, who (mistakenly) tend to explain away a gut feeling of danger with logic and reason. This is good news for women, since the threat of potentially dangerous male attention is more real and constant for them.

The Gift of Fear provides vivid scenarios for many situations, everything from an unknown male offering to help a woman load her car in a lonely carpark, to date-rape, stalking, domestic violence, and even firing employees who may turn violent.

The author is a criminal psychologist and a leading expert in profiling dangerous criminals and predicting their behaviour. He heads a security firm that guards US Presidents and A-list celebs among many others; and some of the real-life examples read like a plot from a Hollywood movie.

To top it all, The Gift of Fear is beautifully written, quite poetic in places. Engrossing, surprising and deeply empowering, it’s especially recommended to women, though pretty vital to everyone. Please read it and be safer.