Gavin de Becker doesn’t necessarily want you to be afraid. But he does want you to use your fear in a constructive manner. He wants you give that friendly but off-putting stranger a polite but firm “No thank you” and to be persistent in that answer. He’d like you to remove yourself from situations that make you uncomfortable and make any apologies for rudeness later. But mostly he’d like you to listen to your fear instinct. De Becker is one of the nations leading specialists in personal security for both public personalities and private citizens. He knows how to predict whether or not a person will become violent or is simply a nuisance.
Since this book is almost 20 years old, some of is advice doesn’t seem as groundbreaking as it did in 1997. It’s also pre-Columbine, pre-9/11 and pre-social media. I’d love to see an updated version for the modern era. Still his advice is helpful not only as a safety guide but as a study of human behavior. De Becker shows how almost no violet outburst is sudden or unpredictable and how seemingly normal people can be moved to violent behavior. My only major quibble with the book is that de Beckers arrogance (earned though it may be) shows on the page. Many of his case studies should be renamed “If Only They’d Listed to Me.”
I’d advise anyone, not just modern women, to pick up a copy of this book. It’s a great guide for predicting, and possibly preventing violent behavior in human beings.