• The Gift of Fear

  • Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence
  • By: Gavin de Becker
  • Narrated by: Gavin de Becker
  • Length: 12 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (797 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A special edition of The Gift of Fear, with a new foreword by the author.

A stranger in a deserted parking lot offers to help carry a woman's groceries. Is he a good Samaritan, or is he after something else? A fired employee says "You'll be sorry". Will he return with a gun? After their first date, a man tells a woman it is their "destiny" to be married. What will he do when she won't see him again? A mother has an uneasy feeling about the nice babysitter she's just hired. Should she not go to work today?

These days, no one in America feels immune to violence. But now, in this extraordinary, groundbreaking book, the nation's leading expert on predicting violent behavior unlocks the puzzle of human violence and shows that, like every creature on earth, we have within us the ability to predict the harm others might do us and get out of its way. Contrary to popular myth, human violence almost always has a discernible motive and is preceded by clear warning signs.

Through dozens of compelling examples from his own career, Gavin de Becker teaches us how to read the signs, using our most basic but often most discounted survival skill - our intuition. The Gift of Fear is a remarkable, unique combination of practical guidance on leading a safer life and profound insight into human behavior.

©1997 Gavin de Becker; 2021 Gavin de Becker (P)2021 Audible, Inc.

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Good Until The Afterword

Excellent book all the way through and up until the Afterword, where de Becker goes on a leftist political rant against guns. As with any product, safe use has always, is always, and will always rest in the hands of the user. Guns simply do not kill or injure people. People kill and injure people with guns, cars, knives, fists, rope, etc. According to him, he would advocate for forcing all kitchen knives to include technology that hides the blade until the safety release is pressed...or rope that coils so tightly on its own that it can only be useful once the safety button is pressed to unfurl it in hand. Clearly, none of these ridiculous measures can prevent misuse, which is why it's important for our society to return to the days of holding individuals accountable for their behaviors, not the items they misuse. Items don't misuse themselves. People misuse items. Therefore, people, not items, are to be held accountable. It's simple, but despite an entire book full of immensely helpful information, the author takes a sudden, uncharacteristically ignorant and obtuse vector at the very end that ruins his respectability and credibility. Go ahead and listen to this book, but do yourself a huge favor and don't bother listening to the Afterword.

25 people found this helpful

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Must Read for women of all ages!🌟

My sister told me this was a good book, but what I found was that it is so much more. This is an essential book. Reading it has had a profound impact on how I view the potential to predict threats. It cannot simply be summed up as the need to always remain vigilantly suspicious of your surroundings and the habits and behaviors of all people you encounter. That would be exhausting and lead to a life filled with anxious foreboding. Rather, it provides training on consistent behaviors, patterns and language of others to be alerted to. It explains the value, relevance and, most importantly, the signs of REAL fear. This book should be required reading for all women.

8 people found this helpful

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One of the most interesting books ever.

This has been one of the most interesting books I have ever listened to. It touches on dark stories and violence, so be prepared.

6 people found this helpful

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Everyone needs to listen!

I’d like to start off by saying this version of The Gift of Fear was updated in 2021. It’s a phenomenal book and I really feel like everyone could gain knowledge from reading/listening.

5 people found this helpful

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Absolute Must Read

Many books are entertaining or informative…but very few can be classified as “life changing.” The Gift of Fear is without question a life changing must read. Gavin is brilliant and has the unique ability translate complex physiology and psychology into easily digestible prose. I’ve read the book twice, but hearing it dictated from the author himself adds an even deeper level of context. Everyone…and I mean everyone can benefit from this book.

3 people found this helpful

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Profoundly impactful

This book was mentioned in a true crime podcast that I had listened to: ‘Stalked’
Every woman should read / listen to this book. It changed my awareness of my senses. I am so much more attentive to the subtle nuances of potential danger, but also, it made me think about my unfounded fears in a clear sober way! Thank you Gavin de Becker!

3 people found this helpful

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Fascinating!!! A MUST read

Every single aspect of this book is fascinating. My adult daughter recently went through a horrific situation. She was trafficked and horribly abused and tortured. After spending 2 months in the hospital with her while she recovered physically (mostly) it was heart breaking to realize just how deep mentally this experience goes and how although eventually the physical wounds will heal, leaving terrible scars all over her body, the mental aspect will take years and years of therapy for her to be able to cope with what was done to her.
There were warning signs. I felt them but could not force an adult to make a different choice. She suffered greatly. The person who did this is in jail and will likely plea out. She almost killed my daughter. Literally. Anyway, this book opened my eyes so much. Thank you Gavin, I will share this book with every woman I know. I already have my sister reading it.

1 person found this helpful

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this book should be mandatory

the speaking was good, the material updated and relevant. the content, however, should be an absolute mandatory read for everyone on earth.

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Insightful thank you!

I am still in a situation where I am being stalked. Learned a lot!

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Good, but counterdicts himself with firearms

Very good book. Throughout, I can’t wrap my mind around how anti-gun he is, yet preaches about fear and protecting one’s self. He does clarify in the Afterward how his opinion has changed since the original publication, but it’s still quite hypocritical. I did still like it.

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  • Naz
  • 01-30-22

Authors' Dangerous Misconception

The interpretation of primal signals are dangerous, and lots of dangerous interpretations from the author.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. K. Leigh
  • 06-22-22

Fascinating account of understanding instinct & insight into American violence.

The book became far more than an insight into understanding our innate instincts. The author is clearly invested in understanding human nature and its darker side as well as empowering each of us to be capable of better protection by observing our environment and those around us. The book also - and I wasn’t expecting this - reveals America to be different from most if not all civilised nations with its obsession with guns and its unenviable number of violent and mentally disturbed people. An enjoyable book but confirmation of why only an American can truly love America and all its self-created problems!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs. Edgar
  • 02-19-22

Every woman should read this book

Oprah Winfrey interviewed Gavin de Becker once and when she read the book she apparently said every woman should read this book and I completely agree. We all have the ability to notice things if we only slowed down a little to let our consciousness catch up and then some of the things we feel are off would become clearer and we could take positive action and hopefully experience less of the nastiness that is out there. Sometimes listing to yourself right when you first meet someone can be the imm end to what otherwise turns out to be an abusive relationship.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tina
  • 09-23-22

Good book but bad sound quality

Some very good tips on staying safe but more relevant to the American audience in certain chapters.

The sound is not great and echoes.

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  • Lisa
  • 09-08-22

Great book

I loved this book and would highly recommend. very informative and made you look at how you react and when you should.

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  • Irishgirl
  • 09-06-22

Fascinating book that could save your life

Excellent book. Narration was very good. Once I started listening it was hard to stop.

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  • NembhardL
  • 09-04-22

Great read

i love the examples given that provide a short story telling of an event. Very interesting and makes you think differently about fear.

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  • P T Hinch
  • 08-31-22

Great book but barely updated

Great book but barely updated in twenty years.
Still a must read for professionals and those interested in good risk assessing.

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  • Katrina Nuttall
  • 07-03-22

exceptionally interesting

I couldn't stop listening to him. Extremely interesting and informative. Best audiobook I have listened to to date. He has such a wealth of knowledge and experience which he shares with his audience. I would recommend this book to anyone but in particular women, parents and educators.

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  • R. Young
  • 05-26-22

A must read!

Thank you. This book was recommended by Martha Beck, so grateful to her and to Gavin De Becker for sharing his wisdom.

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  • Shaun
  • 06-18-22

Excellent…but incomplete.

Loved what he had to say and the overall message of trusting your intuition. But I really didn’t like how men were always the perpetrators and women were always the victims. It’s actually men who are more likely to be victims of violence. Not addressing this gives males a false sense of security and suggests to females that they have nothing to fear from their own gender. This is dangerous thinking.

Gavin addressed the issues that his clients come to him with: domestic violence, stalking, etc. But he does not address perhaps the most common form of violence: assaults from alcohol and drugs and from those wishing to commit robberies. It’s this sort of everyday violence that most people have to fear and he neglects to discuss it. Books that address this well come from Rory Miller and Lawrence Kane.

Still, Gavin does a wonderful job of discussing violence and intuition and that, after all, is the most important thing. The Gift of Fear should be read by all, keeping in mind what I suggested earlier.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-30-22

Confronting

to ones belief systems but gives cogent arguments for his position. The succinct rules and answers to complex and disturbing situations is refreshing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rena
  • 08-24-22

Must Listen

Great book, I have taken away so much from it! Things I hope I never have to use but will be grateful I have the knowledge from this book should I ever need!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Leonie F. Murray
  • 09-16-22

Amazing book

This is a book that everyone should read or listen to. But for women it should be a must read. I could only imagine how many lives would be saved if women had the knowledge shared with them by Gavin in this book. If you have teenager girls get them to listen. It could be the best education they ever receive!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-14-22

Eye opening

I can see why so many people recommend this book. I found it to be incredibly eye opening and will perhaps forever change the way I view fear and what causes it. Fascinating from start to finish!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-06-22

A Must Read

loved it and learnt a lot A must read for everyone of all ages

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-05-22

Ironically extremely relaxing

This book is truly enlightening and gives you the perspective of women in a non preachy talking down to you manner, but the primary take away is the identification of real fear and realising irrational anxiety, if you have social anxiety or panic attacks over nonsense this book will help immensely and give you real self confidence.

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  • Tania Ras-Devereux
  • 03-24-22

Must for your seldefence toolbox

Specific, very valuable information on how to spot and avoid unhealthy relationships. Recommended for every woman and girl in your self preservation toolbox.