The Gift of Fear Book Summary - The Gift of Fear Book explained in key points
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The Gift of Fear summary

Gavin de Becker

Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence

3.9 (62 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker is a non-fiction book that teaches us how to recognize and trust our intuition to avoid violence and dangerous situations. It provides practical advice on staying safe in today's world.

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    The Gift of Fear
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    Your intuition is the best safeguard against danger.

    Have you ever woken up from a dream feeling like you’ve just had a premonition? Well, it’s best not to ignore such feelings, since dreams are a vital part of human intuition.

    Your dreams can even provide you with an intuitive sense of looming danger.

    Michael Cantrell, a police officer, has observed this on the job and he takes it very seriously. One day, Cantrell’s patrol partner, David Patrick, told him that he’d had a dream in which he got shot. Cantrell advised Patrick to pay attention to this dream and consider it a warning of possible future danger.

    This was advice Patrick needed to take to heart; he often ignored intuition, a tendency that had put him in harm’s way before.

    For example, the two policemen had once pulled over a car with three men inside. While Cantrell had sensed danger in this situation, Patrick hadn’t noticed anything unusual.

    Cantrell noticed that the two men in the back seat refused to make eye contact and kept looking straight ahead, which he intuitively understood as a sign of danger even before his rational mind could react. Fortunately, when Cantrell asked the driver to step out, he noticed a gun on the floor of the car before any of the men could pick it up.

    Meanwhile, Patrick remained oblivious to these signals, standing calmly beside the car and smoking his pipe.

    Patrick’s behavior demonstrates how ignoring your intuition, and thus the warning signs it picks up on, can have life-threatening consequences. Despite this incident, however, and his unsettling dream, Patrick didn’t change his ways.

    Later, Patrick was on patrol alone, and he noticed a pair of men driving by who resembled armed robbers that the police were looking for.

    Instead of calling for backup, he confronted the men on his own. He pulled the car over and asked the driver to step out. While he was patting him down, the other man pulled out a gun and shot Patrick.

    Luckily, he survived. The whole incident may have been avoided, however, had he heeded his intuition.

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    What is The Gift of Fear about?

    The Gift of Fear (1997) provides insight into the mechanisms of fear, explaining how our instincts protect us from criminals by attuning us to universal signals and warning signs. Violence rarely comes out of the blue, and by recognizing some telltale signs, you will be better equipped to keep yourself out of harm's way.

    The Gift of Fear Review

    The Gift of Fear (1997) is a compelling exploration of the inner workings of fear and intuition, and why we should pay attention to them. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides practical tools and strategies to assess and respond to potential dangers, empowering readers to trust and utilize their instincts effectively.
    • By drawing on real-life case studies and examples, the book offers valuable insights and guidance on how to protect ourselves from various threats.
    • With its engaging storytelling and thought-provoking analysis, this book captivates the reader's attention and keeps boredom at bay.

    Best quote from The Gift of Fear

    Technology is not going to save us. We have to rely on our intuition, our true being. - Joseph Campbell

    —Gavin de Becker
    example alt text

    Who should read The Gift of Fear?

    • Victims of violence or abuse who want to avoid future harm
    • Anyone who has been threatened or is worried about criminals and predators
    • Criminal law experts and lawyers interested in crime prevention

    About the Author

    Gavin de Becker is the founder of a security firm that provides services to some of the top government officials in the United States. A pioneer of crime-prevention law, he is a sought-after expert in criminal cases, including the O.J. Simpson trial.

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    The Gift of Fear FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Gift of Fear?

    The main message of The Gift of Fear is to trust your intuition and use fear as a tool for personal safety.

    How long does it take to read The Gift of Fear?

    The reading time for The Gift of Fear varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Gift of Fear a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Gift of Fear is worth reading as it provides valuable insights on personal safety and the power of intuition.

    Who is the author of The Gift of Fear?

    The author of The Gift of Fear is Gavin de Becker.

    What to read after The Gift of Fear?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Gift of Fear, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono
    • Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward with Donna Frazier
    • The Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam
    • The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
    • The Art of Clear Thinking by Hasard Lee
    • Dangerous Personalities by Joe Navarro
    • The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz
    • The Little Book of Stoicism by Jonas Salzgeber
    • Quiet by Susan Cain
    • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl