The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

If you read one book this year – make it this one. If you have a son – make him read this book. If you have a daughter – make her read it twice.

Ever get a creepy feeling around someone but you don’t know why? Well, go with the feeling! The Gift of Fear is all about trusting your intuition because it’s usually right. Some of the specific case studies are tough to read (i.e. sexual assaults/predators) but there’s no doubt the knowledge in this book has helped save countless lives. According to the author, our intuition always has our best interests in mind. Ignore it at your own peril.

Prefense: The 90% Advantage by Steve Tarani

This book is one-stop-shopping for anyone looking to prepare for the worst without obsessing over it. Steve Tarani is a world class operator and this finely honed book is the result of decades of real world experience training CIA, NSA, Tier 1 Special Ops, FBI, Air Marshals, etc. It is not about guns and weapons – it’s about the mindset required to avoid trouble in the first place. However, when avoidance fails, this book will give you the tools to fight back and survive in almost any scenario (kidnappings, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, violent crime, etc.) I also highly recommend Steve’s live seminars. His courses are well organized, relevant, and you’ll leave the training facility with tools immediately applicable to the real world.

Above all – Steve is a class act on a mission to harden the soft underbelly of the country by encouraging people to prepare and train for potential violent events in advance because once things hit the fan it’s too late. Read the book and train with Steve if possible – you’ll be glad you did.

Left of Bang by Patrick Van Horne and Jason Riley

The Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program was originally designed to help Marines scan crowds in Iraq/Afghanistan and “see” the violence before it happens. In Left of Bang, Van Horne and Riley adapt the program to the civilian world – and it works. Learn to set baselines, spot anomalies, and take action in advance instead of reacting and playing catch-up (or worse) after the “bang.” This is easy to read and full of examples that help drive home the main lessons.

There you go! Three page-turning reads that could save your life.