Saturday, 27 February 2016

The gift of fear

Gavin de Becker mingles with the rich and famous. And he protects them from crazed killers.

De Becker has spent his life with violence, seeing it, understanding it and preventing it. By his own reckoning, his exposure to violence as a child should have lead him on a path to prison, but he took another direction. His company Gavin de Becker and Associates has spent years pioneering strategies to predict and prevent violence. In his classic book The gift of fear, he explains how you can use fear. It's your survival instinct that is there to protect you, if you listen to it.

Turns out that our fellow humans are one of the most dangerous predators we are likely to face. But how can you tell that one bad person in a society of mainly nice people. There are ways to spot them, certain behaviourial indicators that give them away. Maybe it is that difficult worker in the office, that overly keen romantic interest or that won't-go-away stalker.

This is a fascinating book, if somewhat dry reading in places. And some of the stories are tragic, like the mother who lost her son because she didn't listen to that voice in her head warning her not to trust the doctor. It is worth reading just for the chapter on Assassins. The real life story de Becker tells is just like a TV crime drama. Dead bodies found, crazed killer on the loose, a celebrity rushed to a safehouse, crime scene analysis and profiling, trackers scourging the bush. It has it all.

Seriously, this book could save your life, be it from psychopaths, incompetent surgeons or zombies.

Bite off more than you can chew.

Mr Rimsky

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