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The Gift of Fear: And Other Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence

Gavin de Becker


The Gift of Fear, written by one of the leading national experts on personal safety, threat assessment, and violence prevention was designed to give anyone the tools they need to provide their own threat assessment. In it, de Becker addresses intuition, prediction, how to be in tune with your survival signals, how to understand and evaluate threats, dating hazards, violence in the workplace, stalking, and domestic violence, among many subjects. He uses first-person accounts along with common sense easy to digest advice that can help anyone learn to be their own best protector. This book can also be healing for people currently trying to get out of a toxic or abusive relationship or who recently left a relationship of that nature and is processing the experience.


TRIGGER WARNING: While not overly gratuitous, this book contains many first person accounts of violence including sexual assault, homicide, and domestic violence.




Charm: “Think of charm as a verb, not a trait.”


Too Many Details: “When people are telling the truth, they don’t feel doubted, so they don’t feel the need for additional support in the form of details.”


Disrespecting Your No: “’No’ is a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who chooses not to hear it is trying to control you… I encourage people to remember that ‘no’ is a complete sentence."


Shutting down unwanted contact: “If you tell someone ten times that you don’t want to talk to him, you are talking to him — nine more times than you wanted to. If you call him back after he leaves twenty messages, you simply teach him that the cost of getting a call back is twenty messages."


Interpersonal Violence: “Being beaten by a ‘loved one’ sets up a conflict between two instincts that should never compete: the instinct to stay in a secure environment (the family) and the instinct to flee a dangerous environment."

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