Saturday, August 01, 2009

Cannonball Read - Book 51

Welcome to August. I am currently six books behind my goal - should have finished 58 by July 31, only finished 52. Please note that books read and books blogged aren't the same thing. I read faster than I type.

On to the review: The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker falls somewhere between true crime and self-help. De Becker is a violence specialist (not like Nate is a violence specialist) whose firm protects famous and not-so-famous clients from stalkers and other violent types, and he had a wicked home life as a kid, so he's got expertise on both sides. His mission in writing this book was to inform the masses that real fear is good, and unnecessary fear is bad. Simple enough, right? De Becker says that too many people are fearful when they have no reason to be, but then deny their intuition when something to be really fearful of is present. He says that if we could just pay attention to our intuition, we could probably prevent most violent crimes - heed the warning signs, but don't see signs that aren't there. The example that resonated with me was the woman who clutches her keys in her hand as she walks down the street at night, broadcasting her fear, even when there's nothing around to cause fear. De Becker also says that unnecessary fear can mask true feelings of loss, like loss of identity - there was a great example of a woman who was afraid to leave her office building at night because she was always the last one working, but after digging a little deeper, De Becker determined that being the last one out of the building was a critical part of this woman's sense of self, and if she left any earlier which, theoretically, would mean leaving at a "safer" time, she'd be construed as a slacker - so she put herself in "danger" in order to save face with her colleagues. De Becker cited lots of real cases of stalking and violent behavior (including a shark attack story!), which were very compelling and re-told the information in a practical manner, so instead of just reading about what you should and you shouldn't do, you saw first-hand how doing the right or wrong thing impacted a real person.

This book was great, and I learned a lot, and it certainly opened my eyes to some inappropriate fear behaviors of my own. My only beef was that it was super repetitive - I don't think I needed 14 chapters on listening to my intuition, but maybe De Becker knows best, and knows that breaking people of denying their intuition requires hammering the idea into their heads.

The Gift of Fear - A-


Erin said...

ooh - I remember hearing about this when he was on Oprah promoting the book. glad to know it was good!

Senor Fuerte said...

I chatted with a couple of Gavin's guys whilst doing some work for one of his clients. Though quite pleasant, they did not strike me as men with whom you would want to eff.