Acclaimed science journalist Jeff Wise offers a riveting account of how people confront and process extreme fear. Having jumped out of airplanes and scaled vertical cliff faces, Wise uses his personal adventures and draws on current brain research to weave a fascinating story about the role that willpower and emotion play in shaping anxiety. This is an energetic and inspiring look at how the human spirit can adopt fearful feelings in order to triumph in the face of challenges.
'[Jeff Wise] specialises in what he calls 'the adrenalin-cranking assignment', which means he cannot see a ridiculously raging river without wanting to bounce along it. Show him a cave and he'll go down it, a plane and he'll fling himself out of it, a gorge and he'll bungee jump into it. All in all, he's just the man to investigate the nature of fear and how it is generated. His method is to cut artfully between an assortment of his own and other people's terrifying experiences and the science that informs them.' The Sunday Telegraph '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 'Wise is a good writer and his anecdotes are arresting!' New Scientist 'Jeff Wise has a knack both for gripping accounts of real adventure and an impressive understanding of cutting-edge science.'- Robert Young Pelton, author The World's Most Dangerous Places "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 'Jeff Wise is an experienced journalist with a knack both for gripping first-hand accounts of real adventure and an impressive understanding of cutting-edge science. Extreme Fear is definitely a book to buy.'- Robert Young Pelton, author of The World's Most Dangerous Places '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.
The Mystery of Fear PART I: FEAR IS A PARALLEL MIND The Person That Fear Makes You Superhuman Losing It PART II: THE STRUGGLE FOR CONTROL The Structure of Chaos Fear Itself In Love and War "One of The Biggest Chokers of All Time" The Eyes of Others PART III: COUNTERATTACK Force of Will Steeling Yourself Hanging On Mastery A New Conception of Courage Notes on the Sources Bibliography
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JEFF WISE is a science writer, and a contributing editor at Popular Mechanics and Travel and Leisure. He's written for the New York Times Magazine, Popular Science, Outside, National Geographic and more.