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Freedom from Fear

a book review

product linkFreedom from Fear
sub-title''Taking Back Control of Your Life and Dissolving Depression''
authorPayton Quinn
date reviewed2012.11.12
genreSocial Science
isbn9780975999608

This is a book that explains a view of human psychology as involving two layers of thought, and blames our tendency to fall back on non-rational avoidance instincts when dealing with awful, predatory people. It starts with a familiar concept, separating fight-or-flight instinctive response-driven reaction originating in what the author calls the "frog brain" from the rational every day brain. The author then depicts several situations in which a predatory figure (bar room thug, office bully, etc) initiates a confrontation via an interview process that tests the potential victim's suitability as prey.

I think there's something to all of this. I've long believed that relationships between individuals are established in the beginning when two parties first meet. The author's framework helped me see that there a pattern of aggression employed by predators (themselves deeply troubled, naturally) that has to be dealt with immediately. Quinn's solution is a simple set of rules: 1. Do not insult them. 2. Do not challenge them. 3. Give them as easy and honorable exit as you can. 4. Show no fear.

I intend to follow this advice.

There's an extended second and third section of the book that deals with a wide range of issues such as substance abuse that was secondary to my purpose of reading the book, so I won't comment on that.

As for the book itself: the writing is highly repetitive; the printing is poorly managed with substantial variation in the readability due to text weight/darkness; the layout is perfunctory, like a lengthy Word document; and the book's organization is a little uneven. In all, this makes for a challenging read, but I think the material is sound. To the author's credit, he lists several references for further exploration of the ideas in the book.

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rand()m quote

When the world is in accord with the Dao, fast horses are left to fertilize fields. When the world is not in accord with the Dao, war horses are bred in the countryside.

— Lao Tsu