I like (“American Sniper”) Chris Kyle’s simplified view of people: there are the sheep, the wolves that prey on the sheep and those who take on the wolf to protect the sheep … the sheepdogs. 100 DEADLY SKILLS’ purpose is to provide readers with enough necessary information to become sheepdogs. The method is simple, provide the sheep (easy victim) with the same tools and know-how wolves (criminals, terrorists, etc.) use on their prey … fighting fire with fire.
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The simple presentation of the material is particularly effective. There are no long, laborious chapters of text to sift through. Emerson generally uses a two-page technique for each of the 100 skills he presents. The left page provides a brief, easily understood explanation of a particular skill and the right page offers a simple step-by-step graphic presentation of the skill. This one-two punch makes a solid impression that is easy to remember. The range of skills covered in the book is diverse and some of the skills are a little extreme (hopefully, most readers will wonder why they need to know how to dispose of a body).
But, again, I sense that the purpose of this information is less about actually USING each and every skill as it is making people understand that most of the skills presented are already commonly used by those with ill-intent … the power is knowing what they know and finding ways to avoid or effectively counter their methods. Emerson calls the understanding/use of these skills characteristic of the “Violent Nomad” (or, in Chris Kyle’s world, the tools of the sheepdog).
So, for those of us who don’t really have a need for knowing how to: Dispose of a Body (skill #86), Steal a Plane (#26) or Cross Enemy Boarders by Sea, Air and Land (#11, #12 and #13) … what does reading such a book offer? Quite a lot, actually. First of all, I read this book while on a vacation and it provided several practical tips pertaining to everyday travel: how to hide things in a room and how to discover whether or not your suitcases have been opened.
Additionally, it revealed how unsecure you really are in your hotel room with instructions on how to bypass hotel room doors and unlatch door locks. The section on surveillance techniques probably won’t come in handy for most, but understanding how to detect and lose those who may be sizing you as a potential victim certainly may be useful.
Educating people on personal, cultural, situational and third-party awareness (#17 Blend into Any Environment) is probably one of the most important skills presented in the book because it’s the one skill that can be employed to avoid using most of the other skills (by having the presence of mind to avoid a potentially deadly encounter).
100 DEADLY SKILLS is filled with useful instructions on weapon improvisation, defense and safety techniques that certainly could be useful in dire situations; as well as common inconveniences, like being locked out of your home (#50 Defeat a Padlock or #53 Discretely Open a Garage Door).
100 DEADLY SKILLS is a tremendous source of USEFUL information that gets readers out of their comfort zone. Most everything presented is based on common-sense and uses common household items with a little ingenuity. Some may see such a book as equivalent to “giving the fox the keys to the henhouse”, but the author asserts most all of the items discussed in the book are commonly used by criminals/terrorists; we just don’t realize it. By giving us a better understanding of the criminal-mind’s ingenuity, we are better prepared to avoid/survive a negative encounter (especially for those who travel to less-than-friendly parts of the world).
Clint Emerson, retired Navy SEAL, spent twenty years conducting special ops all over the world while attached to SEAL Teams (including the elite SEAL Team SIX) and the National Security Agency (NSA). Utilizing an array of practical skills he developed to protect himself while at home and abroad, he created Violent Nomad—a personal, non-kinetic capture/kill program cataloguing the skills necessary to defend against any predator or crisis.
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