Monday, August 31, 2015

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

This is another one of those books that was deeply discounted in Popular. And since I've heard of it a few times (I'm not sure from where), I decided to give it a read.

To summarise The Gift of Fear, listening to your intuition can help save your life. That's the basic message. The other 327 pages (not including appendixes), are full of examples, as well as lists of what the author calls "Pre-Incident Indicators" or PINs. For example, he provides four general elements that can be used to predict the possibility of violence - JACA or (Perceived) Justification, (Perceived) Alternatives, (Perceived) Consequences and (Perceived) Ability. If a person feels that there is no other alternative to violence, and that he is justified and has the ability to carry it out, the odds that violence is used is much higher.

The latter half of the book deals with specific situations, such as aggressive employees, domestic violence, date stalkers, violent children and attacks against public speakers. These incidents are still remote to me, but they could be useful in the future, and in addition, it shows that even what we feel is the a scary threat can be managed.

Personally, I found the first half of the book the scariest, and the most informative. The talk about how people can used strategies such as forced teaming (using words like "us" and "we" even though I don't know them) to make me want to cooperate, plus the whole "girls must be nice" idea that's drummed into us, made me realise that in an attempt to be polite, I could be exposing myself to more danger. I like talking to people, and while I'm not going to become standoffish (it's too much a change for me), I will be more careful not to give out personal information in the future.

All in all, this was a very informative read, and I don't regret buying the book at all. When I go back to university, I will probably be leaving this book at home, for my younger siblings to read.

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