Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger

Overview

"Fear is a mysterious force. It sabotages our ability to think clearly and can drive us to blind panic, yet it can also give us superhuman speed, strength, and powers of perception. Having baffled mankind for ages, fear is now yielding its secrets to scientific inquiry. The simple model of "fight or flight" - that people respond to danger either by fleeing in terror or staying to fight through it has been replaced by a more complex understanding of the fear response." Veteran science journalist Jeff Wise delves into the latest research to produce ...

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Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger

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Overview

"Fear is a mysterious force. It sabotages our ability to think clearly and can drive us to blind panic, yet it can also give us superhuman speed, strength, and powers of perception. Having baffled mankind for ages, fear is now yielding its secrets to scientific inquiry. The simple model of "fight or flight" - that people respond to danger either by fleeing in terror or staying to fight through it has been replaced by a more complex understanding of the fear response." Veteran science journalist Jeff Wise delves into the latest research to produce an astonishing portrait of the brain's hidden fear pathways. Wise, who writes the "I'll Try Anything" column for Popular Mechanics, favors a hands-on approach, volunteering to jump out of an airplane while wearing sensors and to endure a four-hour simulated missile attack on a Navy destroyer. He combines lucid explanations of brain dynamics with gripping, true-life stories of mortal danger: we watch a woman defend herself against a mountain lion attack in a remote canyon; we witness a couple desperately fighting to beat back an encircling wildfire; we see a pilot struggle to maintain control of his plane as its wing begins to detach. By understanding the nature of our response, Wise argues, we can better arm ourselves against our own everyday fears.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Wise is a good writer and his anecdotes are arresting…His message is hopeful: fear can be tamed.”—New Scientist

Extreme Fear is a correlate of extreme risk – either that, or you just don’t understand the situation. Wise provides a fascinating account of how, with luck, it can be conquered by experience and self-discipline.”--BBC Focus Magazine

“'Extreme Fear' is extremely good, extremely important, and extremely well-written. It's a perfect example of what the human brain is best at: slowing time and motion to a crawl so we can find the 'structure of chaos,' as author Jeff Wise so aptly puts it. Wise zeroes in on that most mysterious of human emotions — panic — and makes us a witness to our own brains, beautifully deconstructing what happens when logic shuts down and instinct takes over. Through Wise, we get to experience what it’s like to be a 25-year-old woman facing a cougar; a stunned student in the midst of the Virginia Tech massacre; a physician who has to remove his own appendix at the South Pole; and a police officer who’s suddenly plunged into insanity after an argument with a stripper in the Club Kalua. But the best part of Wise’s wonderful book is his demonstration that fear, like any other powerful force, can be turned to your advantage — IF you understand it.”–Christopher McDougall, author of the New York Times bestselling Born to Run: The Rise of Ultra-running and the Super-athlete Tribe

"This book is like an adrenaline rush--thrilling, and stimulating activity in many parts of your brain--and you will most likely find yourself occasionally pausing to set it down and take a deep breath. If you want to know exactly why this is probably a good thing to do, you can do no better than to heed Jeff Wise, who, when it comes to deconstructing the mechanisms of fear, is scary smart."—Robert Sullivan, author of Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants

 

“Intelligent and textured. Jeff Wise smartly uncoils the science behind fear, and profoundly plumbs the obsession, the possession, and the struggle against the brevity of life." -- Richard Bangs, author of Quest for the Kasbah, and producer/ host of the PBS series, Adventures with Purpose.
 
"Jeff Wise has a knack both for gripping accounts of real adventure and an impressive understanding of cutting-edge science."--Robert Young Pelton, author of The World's Most Dangerous Places
 

“In Extreme Fear, Wise dissects this most basic emotion with an engaging mix of the latest science and stories of perseverance and survival under the most challenging conditions. Written in an accessible prose, this book is both enlightening and fascinating, no matter what your background or expertise, and is a must-read for anyone interested in human behavior.”--Jason P. Kring Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Human Factors and Systems, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and President of the Society for Human Performance in Extreme Environments

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230614390
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/8/2009
  • Series: MacSci Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 822,504
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeff Wise is a science writer, outdoor adventurer and pilot of airplanes and gliders. He is a contributing editor at Popular Mechanics, Travel + Leisure, Outside's GO, and Fortune Small Business. He has also written for The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Details, Popular Science, National Geographic Adventure, and many others. In the course of his journalism career he has surfed in Alaska, scuba dived the South China Sea, piloted a WWII fighter plane, and mushed a dog team in Montana. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction The Mystery of Fear 1

Pt. 1 Fear Is a Parallel Mind

1 The Person that Fear Makes You 11

2 Superhuman 25

3 Losing It 43

Pt. 2 The Struggle for Control

4 The Structure of Chaos 63

5 Fear Itself 79

6 In Love and War 89

7 "One of the Biggest Chokers of All Time" 101

8 The Eyes of Others 117

Pt. 3 Counterattack

9 Force of Will 131

10 Steeling Yourself 145

11 Hanging On 165

12 Mastery 185

13 A New Conception of Courage 201

Notes on the Sources 209

Bibliography 227

Index 241

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Do Not Buy This E-Book From B&N!

    Barnes and Noble is charging more for the e-book version then the paperback and hard cover versions by a wide margin. If you want this in an e-book format then purchase it from Sony's e-book store. It is in EPub format and only $9.99 on their site.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Shadowstar-Camp clearing/High Branch

    Fearclans clearing is a dip between hills. Its protected by trees that surround it at the top. There are old caves that have a slight rabbit smell to them. The caves are the dens. In the middle of camp there is a tree with one branch just low enough for a cat to jump on. This is called High Branch. Its where clan meetins are held, and be sure to check it constintley for any updates or anything!~Shadowstar

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2011

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