Monica Whaley

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The Gift of Fear

Posted on September 22, 2009 at 7:15 PM

(My friends are rolling their eyes right now.)


The Gift of Fear is a book that I discovered a few years ago via Oprah. The author, Gavin de Becker, is phenomenal. He is an expert at predicting violent behavior. He talks about the fact that especially in Western society, we have pushed our instinct to the back. Instinct in animals (including humans) is driven by survival, so it stands to reason that it becomes important when you're in danger. We have this "gift of fear" to keep us alive. Because we don't listen to our instinct anymore, we often find ourselves in dangerous situations we could have avoided. Instinct is subconscious, so we don't "see" the things that could be dangerous, but our instinct kicks in to tell us. We have to start listening to it again.


For example, if a woman hears a unfamiliar man's voice from down the hall, and "something" tells her he's dangerous, she should LISTEN. We tell ourselves in our Western enlightenment, "Oh, you're imagining things. You have no reason to believe he's dangerous. Stop being crazy." I would rather be "crazy" and safe, then "logical" and dead. When you read his book, he tells you how to know when it's your instinct trying to save your life and when it's just you being paranoid for no reason (often, we think we're being paranoid when it's really our survival instinct).


I cannot stress the importance of this book enough. Every woman must read this book and every man should. I'm including a link to his web page ( I'm also including a link from CNN that includes the first chapter of his book ( If that doesn't convince you, nothing will. If you don't want to buy the book (or borrow it from me), then go to the library. I consider this one of the most important books in existence; maybe only second to the Bible. READ IT!!!!

Categories: miscellaneous

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1 Comment

Reply Rach
8:52 PM on September 22, 2009 
Your instincts were right. I was indeed rolling my eyes.