The little hairs rose on the back of your neck.

That’s how you knew something was wrong. You sensed it before you knew it, felt it before you saw it when the hairs rose on the back of your neck and your gut felt like gelatin. Did you listen to what your body was telling you, or should you read “The Power of Awareness” by Dan Schilling so you know what to do next time?

You weren’t being silly.

That’s what we often tell ourselves when those moments of “Uh-oh” hit and we feel a sense of awfulness-to-come, for no apparent reason. Ignoring that warning doesn’t seem wise, but leaving or turning around might feel like an overreaction, though Dan Schilling says doing so might save a life.

Yours, in fact.

Schilling knows what he’s talking about: he was a squadron commander in Somalia. He’s served in the military overseas, has worked as a Combat Controller, and established and commanded two “special operations squadrons,” among other things. He’s survived random violence and he says that the average person can learn to do the same, with “six safety rules” that fall into three broader categories.

First of all, KNOW what’s around you, a skill Schilling calls “Situational Awareness” or “SA,” and trust your intuition when you sense something wrong. PREPARE by knowing if there’s a problem or one is about to happen, then learn how to make a plan appropriate to the situation. ACT “decisively” and then escape with the “Two Rs” in mind, Regroup and Recover.

Schilling says it’s that last one that so many people struggle with.

Finally, get the “tools” you need to be ready for any situation. Prepare your home and business by noting entry points, and know how to act when you hear a noise in the middle of the night. Reduce your appeal to criminals. Learn how to react to a shooter situation and if you can, fight. Always let “the bad guys... know you won’t go quietly...”

Here’s the most astounding thing you’ll learn when you read “The Power of Awareness”: you aren’t going to learn much. Even Schilling admits that some of what he says “may seem like statements of the obvious,” but he also sums up the reason why you need his book: preparation and practice are everything. Especially these days.

Admit it: you’ve thought about how you’d act in the face of random violence, and this book will make you more ready to automatically move than to freeze. Schilling makes a game of it all, and he offers exercises you can try in any public place without looking like a “creep.”

But let’s say you live on the edge, you eat danger for breakfast, and you’re not a-skeered of anything. You’ll still find this book to be exciting entertainment because Schilling uses real-life, personal and authentic special-op tales as illustration for his points.

Secret double agents, move over and grab “The Power of Awareness.” This book is perfect for when life gets a little hairy.

“The Power of Awareness” by Dan Schilling c.2021, Grand Central Publishing $28.00 / $35.00 Canada 250 pages.

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