Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Feelings Betray Us

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Overview

Fear can't help you in a dangerous situation. A former FBI profiler shows you what can.

As one of the world's top experts on psychopathy and criminal behavior, Mary Ellen O'Toole has seen repeatedly how relying on the sense of fear alone often fails to protect us from danger. Whether you are opening the door to a stranger or meeting a date you connected with online, you need to know how to protect yourself from harm-physical, financial, legal, ...

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Dangerous Instincts: Use an FBI Profiler's Tactics to Avoid Unsafe Situations

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Overview

Fear can't help you in a dangerous situation. A former FBI profiler shows you what can.

As one of the world's top experts on psychopathy and criminal behavior, Mary Ellen O'Toole has seen repeatedly how relying on the sense of fear alone often fails to protect us from danger. Whether you are opening the door to a stranger or meeting a date you connected with online, you need to know how to protect yourself from harm-physical, financial, legal, and professional.

Using the SMART method, which O'Toole developed and used at the FBI, we can confidently know how to:

  • Respond to a threat in any situation
  • Hire someone who will work inside your home like a contractor or housekeeper
  • Figure out whether a prospective employee is a safe bet
  • Know whom you can trust with your children

    An especially useful book for women living alone, parents who are concerned about their children's safety, and employers worried about employees who might go postal, Dangerous Instincts gives us the tools used by professionals to navigate potentially hazardous waters. Like The Gift of Fear and The Sociopath Next Door, it will appeal to anyone looking to make the right call in an ever threatening world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though O'Toole's background as an FBI agent and profiler gives her plenty of insights and concrete examples with which to fill this well-organized and thorough book, readers may shy away from its hard-line approach to safety. Much as we'd prefer to believe the opposite, O'Toole argues that our instincts and intuition let us down all the time, with people often describing unfortunate events only to add—"I never saw that one coming." To prove her theory that instincts are dangerous, O'Toole offers tests throughout so that readers can assess their responses and reaction to risk. She also references cases she worked during her years with the FBI, and cites anecdotes about well-known criminals, including serial killer Ted Bundy, and white-collar criminals Bernie Madoff and Rob Blagojevich. O'Toole even shares secret profiler tricks—readers can learn what an Armani suit, a neat and tidy living room, or a book collection might reveal about them. (Oct.)
Library Journal
O'Toole, a recently retired FBI behavior analyst, is more than qualified to help people develop simple analytical tools that will help them better detect danger and recognize risky situations. In this absorbing read, she discusses why people trusted Bernie Madoff and Ted Bundy and dissects online dating responses and typical blind spots. The author helps readers analyze their decision-making patterns and provides a guide for helping them to assess and mitigate risk. O'Toole's book will provide insight to everyone, but it's particularly helpful for women living alone, parents concerned about their children's safety, or employers worried about perplexing employee behavior.
Kirkus Reviews

A retired FBI profiler teaches you how to steer clear of psychopaths, con artists and other assorted evildoers.

O'Toole's crime-fighting expertise has helped crack some of the most heinous murder and abduction cases in U.S. history. But the author is the first to admit she couldn't correctly peg a real-life serial killer just by looking at him. To do that, she has always employed a clear, cerebral-based methodology, ruthlessly jettisoning anything even remotely resembling a "sixth sense." Her first order of business is demonstrating (through blood-curdling case references) just how faulty our everyday assessments of people generally are, which will leave many readers relieved that the odds of actually encountering a serial killer are similar to being struck by lighting. However, writes the author, there are still plenty of other villains out there intent on doing harm. Crooks, connivers and crackpots of all stripes know how to put targeted victims at ease with the right words, disarming them with charm and never hinting at their true colors until it's too late. The author's learned counsel has been proven right consistently, but her mode of instruction is often tedious; readers will hardly enjoy constantly being told that they'll learn this or that vital piece of information in a subsequent chapter. Regardless of the stilted prose, O'Toole's profiling system should prepare readers to uncover the disturbing behavior and attitudes of all the people in their lives.

Beneficial though chilling course in personal safety.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594630835
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/13/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Mary Ellen O'Toole, PhD, retired from the FBI in 2009. She lectures at the Smithsonian, and frequently speaks all over the world.
Alisa Bowman is the coauthor of six New York Times best- sellers.
Visit dangerousinstincts.com.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2012

    Everyone needs to read this book! It is a great reminder that w

    Everyone needs to read this book! It is a great reminder that we blind ourselves with our "gut" but are inadvertantly putting ourselves in precarious situations.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    Excellent book easy to read.

    This is an excellent book for parents, teachers, law enforcement any concerned about the community in which we all live. The book presents an insight into the workings of the criminal mind and gives a framework to evaluate any situation for personal risk.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

    great content! Very bad, sloppy copy editing

    As the title of the review states this was a very informative book. The misspellings and typos in my nook copy were distracting at times. No copy editor worth their salt should let an author's work be seen with that many mistakes. This has happened in other nook purchases, such as a whole page missing in an H.P.Lovecraft anthology.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2012

    Dangerous Instincts

    Mary Ellen O'Toole has the experience and credentials as an FBI Profiler to write a book with regards to protecting yourself. This book will not "scare" you but will prepare you to protect yourself and ask the important questions. Who better than O'Toole to expound this knowledge because we have not seen what she has seen! Highly recommend this book and is a wonderful gift for family and friends.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Very interesting information from a FBI profiler on making us more alert to people we think we can trust. The author's experience warn us not to trust our gut feelings but to ask and observe behaviors and answers to our more probing questions. We can easily be deceived by our feelings.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2011

    Terrific Read

    Best Book

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Good read

    It was very interesting and I'd definitly read it again and again.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    OMG! I was really surprised with the information I learned from this book. I'm extremely glad I decided to read it, I think everyone should. We (society) don't normally think about the information in this book that could one day save a life, our own or someone else's.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    I bought this book for my daughter who is a Psychology major and

    I bought this book for my daughter who is a Psychology major and is intrigued by what makes criminals and saddest do what they do. After my daughter read Dangerous Instincts she passed it on to my wife and told my wife that she had to read it because it was very eye opening. My daughter loves this book and was very happy that Dr. O'Toole wrote this educational and informative book. Dr. O'Toole has helped my daughter see that you can't take any one for face value anymore, learn how to use the SMART method which she found to be very helpful and my daughter looked back and realized that she had been dating some sketchy guys and how to be more cautious with certain things. My wife was so surprised after reading dangerous instincts she told me that she would have opened the door if the cable or power man came to our house without a second thought. After reading this book my wife and daughter are more detail orientated, vigilant, and more aware of there surroundings and if any one is paying to much attention to them. Everyone needs to read this wonderful book because it really opens your eyes to the monsters that are really out there waiting for their next victim. It will make you and your family more aware of the people around you, the people you disclose your personal and financial information to, how to spot a con artist, see the warning signs of an abusive boyfriend or girlfriend and how to talk to your son or daughter about the abusive girlfriend or boyfriend, it also helps to spot someone who could be violent and dangerous as well as psychopaths. Thank you Dr. O'Toole for all of this wonderful and insightful information.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 16, 2013

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    Posted December 12, 2011

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    Posted October 26, 2012

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