The Fear Project: What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me About Survival, Success, Surfing . . . and Love

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An epic adventure full of incredible characters, death-defying athletic achievement, and bleeding edge science, THE FEAR PROJECT began with one question: how can we overcome our fears to reach our full potential?

Who among us has not been paralyzed by fear? In The Fear Project, award-winning journalist and surfer Jaimal Yogis sets out to better understand fear-why does it so often dominate our lives, what makes it tick, and is there even a way to use it to our advantage? In the ...

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The Fear Project: What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me About Survival, Success, Surfing . . . and Love

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An epic adventure full of incredible characters, death-defying athletic achievement, and bleeding edge science, THE FEAR PROJECT began with one question: how can we overcome our fears to reach our full potential?

Who among us has not been paralyzed by fear? In The Fear Project, award-winning journalist and surfer Jaimal Yogis sets out to better understand fear-why does it so often dominate our lives, what makes it tick, and is there even a way to use it to our advantage? In the process, he plunges readers into great white shark-infested waters, brings them along to surf 40+ foot waves in the dead of winter, and gives them access to some of the world's best neuroscience labs, psychologists, and extreme athletes. In this entertaining, often laugh-out-loud narrative, Yogis also treats himself like a guinea pig for all of his research, pushing his own fears repeatedly to the limits-in his sport, in his life, and in love. Ultimately, Yogis shares with his readers the best strategies to emerge triumphant from even the most paralyzing of fears.

THE FEAR PROJECT gives readers insight into the following:

- How fear evolved in the human brain

How to tell the difference between "good fear" and "bad fear"
- How to use the latest neuroscience to transform fear memories

Why fear spreads between us and how to counteract fearful "group think"

How to turn fear into a performance enhancer - athletically and at work

In pursuing this terrifying-and often thrilling-journey with Yogis, we learn how to move through fear and unlock a sense of renewed possibility and a more rewarding life.

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  • The Fear Project
    The Fear Project  

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There is a hell of a lot of fun packed between these two covers. Wonderfully reported, unflinchingly honest and definitely big-balled. If Jaimal Yogis’ deep dive into fear doesn’t make you want to go out and push your limits—well, you’re probably already dead." —Steven Kotler, author of West of Jesus

"Nothing holds us back more in life than fear. Jaimal Yogis explores this primal emotion in depth from an evolutionary, neuropsychological, and philosophical perspective, all wrapped up in a highly engaging personal narrative. The Fear Project offers the keys to overcoming excuses and anxiety, and stepping into the life you've always dreamed of having."—MeiMei Fox, co-author of the New York Times bestseller, Fortytude

"The Fear Project is an enchanting autobiographical journey. Yogis deftly explores our current scientific, religious and philosophical views on our most fundamental emotion, and the reward is as significant as it is palpable. I absolutely loved this book and will share it with everyone—in particular, high performance athletes."—Michael Lardon, author of Finding Your Zone

"Jaimal Yogis weaves together neuroscience, dramatic true stories, and practical wisdom in a fascinating, important book that moves with the page-turning verve of a thriller." —Rick Hanson, author of The Buddha’s Brain

"Like a mammoth wave moving across the ocean, The Fear Project takes us on a wild ride into the heart of our deepest primordial fears and onto the shores of light."—Stuart Coleman, author of Eddie Would Go and Fierce Heart

"From the first chapter about his swimming in the dark, shark-infested waters surrounding Alcatraz to stories of surfing 80-foot waves at Mavericks, this book is alive and pumping with adrenaline! It brings you to the edge of fear over and over again with a lasting lesson on confronting fear in ways that are healthy and powerful."—David Romanelli, author of Yeah Dave’s Guide to Livin’ the Moment

"This book is worth the price of admission for the Maverick’s chapter alone: the first and, as far as I know, only literary first-person account of riding one of the greatest big-wave breaks on Earth. Yogis is a man on an authentic mission—to face down his deepest fears and interrogate the deepest sources of meaning in every aspect of human life. From his Alcatraz swim to surfing Maverick’s to that biggest challenge of all—fatherhood—Yogis writes with confidence, clarity, and brio. This is a heartfelt, hard-won, and utterly worthwhile book."—Dan Duane, author of How to Cook Like a Man

"Jaimal Yogis combines harrowing personal experiences with cutting edge science to bring us remarkable insight into fear. The Fear Project will transform how you approach this primal emotion — and your life." — David Agus, MD, author of the New York Times best-seller, The End of Illness

"The Fear Project not only tells the riveting story of the science of fear, but helps us understand how we can deal with fear when it stands in our way. Effortlessly weaving together science and everyday life, this book gives you insight into your own fears such that you can face them head-on and perform at your best.—Sian Beilock, Ph.D., author of Choke

"The Fear Project is an engrossing and insightful book that blends memoir, research, interviews, and the author's honest search for meaning and safety in an unpredictable world of nature and relationships. It's a solid read that entertains, educates, and at times challenges readers to push themselves just a little harder."—

"The true strength of The Fear Project is its versatility. Our fears are so personal and precise, but Yogis somehow manages to leave no stone unturned in looking at the full spectrum of fears, be they developmental, situational, comical, or extreme. He crafts a charming narrative based in accessible science reporting and his own experiences, and readers are certain to find echoes of their own fears and anxieties throughout the book. The Fear Project is smart, funny, and essential reading. —Mark Lukach, author of Where the Road Meets the Sun

"Honest memoir with thorough reporting on the things that scare us all... readers can use what [Yogis] learned embracing his deepest fears to dispel their own." —SPIRITUALITY & HEALTH MAGAZINE

"The Fear Project is replete with practical advice (all backed by scientific research) like getting more exercise, using breathing techniques, finding time to meditate, thinking positively and facing your fears."—Monterey County

"Yogs' descriptions of his inaugural Mavericks session make fear palpable." — OUTSIDE.COM

"This book will give you insight as to why fear can dominate your life and ways to use fear as an ally...This book took me to the depths of my fears—the current one of uncertainty—and gavem e insight to relate to it in new and emerging ways.When you are ready to explore fear as an ally, go read this book."—TONINGTHEOM.COM

"An adventure-seeking surfer triumphs over his anxieties and proves you can, too."—O MAGAZINE

"In Yogis’ beautifully candid exploration of his own heart, our cerebral processes, and the way fear can debilitate and sometimes even motivate us, The Fear Project offers up the means to see between the folds of our grey matter…and make changes to how we perceive the inherent and inevitable trials and travails of life…This is a fascinating and sagely penned work that’s full of ideas and philosophies—EASTERN SURF MAGAZINE

Kirkus Reviews
A mix of autobiography and research comprises this exploration of what we fear and how we fear it. Journalist and photographer Yogis (Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea, 2009) shares an anecdote about his childhood, telling how he loved doing math as a child until a failed test somehow instilled a "fear memory" so deep inside him that he has avoided math as much as possible ever since. Understanding fear--how the split-second instinctual reaction trumps cognitively understanding the risks involved and how to ameliorate the fear afterward--led Yogis to embark on what he refers to as "an obsession" with exploring a subject not often discussed. This obsession led him to experience firsthand some common fear-inducing situations, as well as personal fear-trigger circumstances, to take a closer look at his responses and learn more about universal responses. Yogis relates scientific research as naturally as a conversation with a friend--often, the book reads as though it was transcribed rather than written. The author fluidly links discussions of frontal lobes, the modern adaptations of fight or flight and negativity bias with his own experiences--e.g., his foray into some of the most dangerous surfing conditions in the world. Yogis pulls these unusually fear-inducing situations in some surprising directions. Not all of the adventures lead to insights for readers, but most will enjoy the trip nonetheless.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609611750
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/8/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 344,342
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Jaimal Yogis is an award-winning journalist who has written for ESPN The Magazine, The Washington Post, The Surfer's Journal, The Chicago Tribune, AFAR, San Francisco Magazine and many others. His critically acclaimed first book, Saltwater Buddha, is currently being adapted into a film. Jaimal is an avid surfer and lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.
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Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Chapter 1 How I Got Here 1

Chapter 2 Of Fright and Courage: A Tale of Two Brains 17

Chapter 3 In Praise of Movement 47

Chapter 4 Know Your Monsters 73

Chapter 5 The Good, the Bad, and the Brain 91

Chapter 6 Practice, Practice, Practice 117

Chapter 7 Hello Darkness, My Old Friend 139

Chapter 8 Feel-Good Fear 157

Chapter 9 Investigating the Elephant's Footprint 183

Chapter 10 The Paradox of Having a Big Head 203

Acknowledgments 223

Endnotes 228

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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