The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

My sister recommended this book to me a while back, and then proceeded to talk about it constantly when I visited her a couple of months ago. Every other sentence out of her mouth was “Gift of Fear this” or “Gift of Fear that,” to the extent that we mocked her relentlessly about her joining the cult of the Gift of Fear.

But then I read it, and drank the Kool-Aid, too. De Becker’s target demographic is women, but really, I think anyone could benefit from his advice, which can be summed up by saying follow your intuition. Maybe 420 pages is a lot to pages to say just that, but de Becker gives concrete examples of situations that can occur (or on the other hand, fizzle out before they even become a situation) by listening to yourself and how you feel about the people who come into your life.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable about someone or something, but reasoned that since you didn’t have any good cause to be wary, you should just go ahead and be nice, or accommodating, or whatever else we’re taught to be? According to de Becker, you should go ahead and distance yourself from this person – your discomfort is reason enough.

Especially interesting to me was how predictive de Becker is of the media’s portrayal of events and the people who commit them. The Gift of Fear was written the year before the Columbine High School massacre, but his profiling of the killers of that and other attacks seems spot on. With the Colorado theater shooting and Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin still fresh in our minds, this is a worthwhile book for all to read. Although those events may have not been preventable on the days of the attacks, there were probably signs in advance that those around the killers should have seen.

Find and request this book in our catalog.


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