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The Safety Trap: Protective Strategies to Eliminate the Threats in Everyday Life

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"Coursen provides real world lessons on how to avoid danger, how to manage it, if necessary, and how to triumph over it, when all else fails. The Safety Trap is the best book on personal safety that I’ve read in the last decade." ―Vincent O'Neill, Chief, Headquarters Security for the International Monetary Fund, retired Secret Service agent and founding member of the elite "Coursen provides real world lessons on how to avoid danger, how to manage it, if necessary, and how to triumph over it, when all else fails. The Safety Trap is the best book on personal safety that I’ve read in the last decade." ―Vincent O'Neill, Chief, Headquarters Security for the International Monetary Fund, retired Secret Service agent and founding member of the elite Counter Assault Team


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"Coursen provides real world lessons on how to avoid danger, how to manage it, if necessary, and how to triumph over it, when all else fails. The Safety Trap is the best book on personal safety that I’ve read in the last decade." ―Vincent O'Neill, Chief, Headquarters Security for the International Monetary Fund, retired Secret Service agent and founding member of the elite "Coursen provides real world lessons on how to avoid danger, how to manage it, if necessary, and how to triumph over it, when all else fails. The Safety Trap is the best book on personal safety that I’ve read in the last decade." ―Vincent O'Neill, Chief, Headquarters Security for the International Monetary Fund, retired Secret Service agent and founding member of the elite Counter Assault Team

30 review for The Safety Trap: Protective Strategies to Eliminate the Threats in Everyday Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Spencer Coursen

    Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the publishing process. I hope you enjoy reading The Safety Trap as much as I enjoyed bringing it to life. Please feel free to be as open and honest in your reviews as possible. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Working together, we can all do our part to help prepare today for a safer tomorrow. Onward. Upward. Work. Sweat. Win. -- SGC

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sara L.

    This was an interesting informative book full of secrets and THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE... Thank God I picked up this book because BOY is my life messed up. I don't mean to be a phobia master but I need to get more protection. Reading this book made me realize how much I'm letting other people know about me! PEOPLE I DON'T EVEN KNOW. I'm sorry but I just need to scream a THANK YOU at the author (Spencer Coursen) for writing this because this will definitely save my life one day. The fact that I This was an interesting informative book full of secrets and THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE... Thank God I picked up this book because BOY is my life messed up. I don't mean to be a phobia master but I need to get more protection. Reading this book made me realize how much I'm letting other people know about me! PEOPLE I DON'T EVEN KNOW. I'm sorry but I just need to scream a THANK YOU at the author (Spencer Coursen) for writing this because this will definitely save my life one day. The fact that I just dump info everywhere and nowhere at the same time is *great* I got an insight into how "bad guys" think which was go helpful because listening to this book made me realize I am opening the door to my life and calling them all in... But anyhow! Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for sending me an arc!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cindelu

    I won this book on Goodreads. It is a very interesting look at how we view and utilize security in this day and age and what we are doing wrong. It considers all aspects of work, school and personal life. We should all read this book!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    I thought this book was going to be a fear-mongering ad for whatever product the author was selling. Luckily, that's not the case. While there are some references to his business in security, it's mainly there for credibility rather than promoting. I appreciated Coursen acknowledged we're in one of the safest eras in human history while still explaining that we could still be safer. I thought this book was going to be a fear-mongering ad for whatever product the author was selling. Luckily, that's not the case. While there are some references to his business in security, it's mainly there for credibility rather than promoting. I appreciated Coursen acknowledged we're in one of the safest eras in human history while still explaining that we could still be safer.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Magruder

    Everyone needs a copy of this book on their shelf. Read it cover to cover and then reference it as needed. I wish I’d read this when I was a freshman in college. It would’ve saved me a lot of hard learning the past 20 years. But it’s even more important now that I’m a mother and business owner. Because there is a chapter in here that will hit home with every person reading it. You really will think and look at the world differently after reading it. And be much safer.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Once every decade or so a book comes along that changes the paradigm and ups the game for everybody who wants to write in that field. Think what Die Hard did to action movies in the 80s, and what Harry Potter did to young adult literature in the 90s and 00s. For the field of personal protection, that book in the 90s was Sanford Strong's "Strong on Defense". For the 2000s it was Gavin deBecker's "The Gift of Fear". Rory Miller dominated the 2010s with his series of practical self-defense manuals Once every decade or so a book comes along that changes the paradigm and ups the game for everybody who wants to write in that field. Think what Die Hard did to action movies in the 80s, and what Harry Potter did to young adult literature in the 90s and 00s. For the field of personal protection, that book in the 90s was Sanford Strong's "Strong on Defense". For the 2000s it was Gavin deBecker's "The Gift of Fear". Rory Miller dominated the 2010s with his series of practical self-defense manuals including "Mediations on Violence" and "Force Decisions." This decade's game-changer is "The Safety Trap." In this surprisingly well-written guide (security professionals are rarely excellent wordsmiths), Coursen introduces the concept of a "Safety Trap" -- a situation where people tend to feel safe and secure when they are in fact neither. He then walks us through fifteen of the most common, explaining what it is, why it's important, and how to best avoid falling into it. The advice is clearly presented and empowering, rather than jazzed up with fear-motivation like many third-tier books of this sort. As a martial artist with nearly 40 years experience and a dad of 23 years combined, I can tell you his advice checks out AND added to my already extensive knowledge base. This is a must read for anybody serious about safety. One surprising aspect of the book I really loved was how compassionate it is despite being a personal safety book. There's a kindness behind it all that really makes the whole work more approachable, and socially responsible. Buy this book. Read it. Make notes in the margins about how you will apply it to your life. Get it as a gift for people you love.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Aschman

    Coursen has managed to concoct the perfect blend of insights, education, real life examples, and wit, and bottled them in The Safety Trap. His experience and reputation in the threat management space is second to none, giving him more than enough credibility to discuss this subject in the depth in which he does. The chapter recaps in and of themselves are worth the price of admission. This is one of very few books that has taken up permanent residency in my nightstand and has woven its principles Coursen has managed to concoct the perfect blend of insights, education, real life examples, and wit, and bottled them in The Safety Trap. His experience and reputation in the threat management space is second to none, giving him more than enough credibility to discuss this subject in the depth in which he does. The chapter recaps in and of themselves are worth the price of admission. This is one of very few books that has taken up permanent residency in my nightstand and has woven its principles into my everyday life. If you are looking for a simple way to start curbing the real life threats that are becoming more common, grab 2 copies of this book - one for your own edification and another for a loved one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jared Driessche

    This book is fabulous and a guaranteed bestseller! Spencer provides such sound advice to a wide audience on realistic strategies that will keep people safe. If you’re a parent, in the military, in protection or just interested in being safer in general, this book is for you!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Misty’s Corner Reviews

    Misty's Corner Review : It’s not often that I can say that I learned a lot, absorbed much, and took detailed notes on a book with plans to re-read/listen to specific sections for reference. (My usual genres are thrillers, cozy mysteries, romance books - enjoyable stories, a form of escapism if you will.) Coursen’s “𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙖𝙛𝙚𝙩𝙮 𝙏𝙧𝙖𝙥” had me taking notes and then immediately applying these real-world safety tips and strategies. Our family now has a nightly safety sweep routine; we've turned licen Misty's Corner Review : It’s not often that I can say that I learned a lot, absorbed much, and took detailed notes on a book with plans to re-read/listen to specific sections for reference. (My usual genres are thrillers, cozy mysteries, romance books - enjoyable stories, a form of escapism if you will.) Coursen’s “𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙖𝙛𝙚𝙩𝙮 𝙏𝙧𝙖𝙥” had me taking notes and then immediately applying these real-world safety tips and strategies. Our family now has a nightly safety sweep routine; we've turned license plates into a lyrical memory game and we've established the 3F’s regarding stranger danger (ok to seek help from families, food sources & locations with flags) with our kiddos and SO much more! Having read and listened to this book, because I couldn't just stop reading, I had to continue this safety experience through audio as well; I've started taking a harder look at oversharing, social media, physical fitness, and overall life preparedness. 🎧𝘚𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘦, 𝘐 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘳 𝘯𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘩𝘪𝘮𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧! This book includes many helpful tips backed by logic, psychology, and security expertise supported by years of the author’s own experiences. The protective preparedness for the safety trap of responsibility and children really hit home. I appreciated the relatable metaphors and examples, which helped bring about a deeper understanding. The protective strategies in “𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙖𝙛𝙚𝙩𝙮 𝙏𝙧𝙖𝙥” are quite beneficial, written in an easily understood and relatable narrative. ✨   “𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝚝𝚛𝚞𝚝𝚑 𝚒𝚜 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚠𝚑𝚎𝚗 𝚠𝚎 𝚏𝚎𝚎𝚕 𝚜𝚊𝚏𝚎𝚜𝚝 𝚒𝚜 𝚊𝚌𝚝𝚞𝚊𝚕𝚕𝚢 𝚠𝚑𝚎𝚗 𝚠𝚎 𝚊𝚛𝚎 𝚒𝚗 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚘𝚜𝚝 𝚍𝚊𝚗𝚐𝚎𝚛. 𝚃𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚒𝚜 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚙𝚊𝚛𝚊𝚍𝚘𝚡 𝚘𝚏 𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝚂𝚊𝚏𝚎𝚝𝚢 𝚃𝚛𝚊𝚙.” ✨   My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 Many thanks to the author, publishers & @netgalley for my advanced copies. 🙏🎧📖 I have honestly and voluntarily reviewed this title. Thanks for reading! Misty M. @MistysCornerReviews —————————————— Follow Me: Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Pinterest | GoodReads | BookBub

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ktmholm

    Coursen, a specialist in threat management, teaches readers how to assess the risks in their personal and professional lives, and act to reduce those vulnerabilities. Are you inviting crime, or will that criminal choose an easier target? Do you have a false sense of security because you missed the warning signs? He explains False Authority, and stresses that staying alive is more important than being wrong by not following someone else’s instructions. Staying in an assigned evacuation spot coul Coursen, a specialist in threat management, teaches readers how to assess the risks in their personal and professional lives, and act to reduce those vulnerabilities. Are you inviting crime, or will that criminal choose an easier target? Do you have a false sense of security because you missed the warning signs? He explains False Authority, and stresses that staying alive is more important than being wrong by not following someone else’s instructions. Staying in an assigned evacuation spot could put you in even more danger. In case of an active shooter, he stresses that we’re often told wrong, that running (not hiding) is usually the safest strategy to follow, a moving target running away being harder to hit. (Remember, bullets can penetrate both doors and furniture.) A chapter on workplace safety discusses motivations and types of threats, with insider threats (e.g. disgruntled former employees) worse than outsider, because these people have often gone through the active shooter drills, and know the hiding places and weaknesses. Parents and school employees should read not only the school safety chapters, but especially the one on “Stranger Danger,” which includes simple yet valuable advice. And especially in these days of social media, he reminds us all to be careful what we share. If you get nothing else out of the book, take his PTA, Personal Test Assessment, to evaluate your home’s security level. The final topic lists the author's top 25 questions for your personal threat assessment checklist, along with guidelines what you should do in each case and why it is important. Highly recommended, for everyone.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tara Jennings

    So, in all honesty I skimmed some of this and went to the parts that interested me in the here and now. I find myself not wanting to read it all at once because this isn’t a book to just read in one sitting and move onto the next this is a read some then take it in and go back to analyze and read different or same sections again. This is a great guide because more than ever we are living in a more dangerous world than some of us had growing up and our parents before us and grandparents before th So, in all honesty I skimmed some of this and went to the parts that interested me in the here and now. I find myself not wanting to read it all at once because this isn’t a book to just read in one sitting and move onto the next this is a read some then take it in and go back to analyze and read different or same sections again. This is a great guide because more than ever we are living in a more dangerous world than some of us had growing up and our parents before us and grandparents before them! This book hits into realistic situations and hits close to home for people with their thoughts or maybe even experiences. I think this book is really engaging to anyone who is interested in helpful advice about safety and protecting yourself and family the best you can. Better to keep oneself over prepared or at least keep in the know of preparedness than to be in a false sense of security thinking there is nothing to ever worry about! I would recommend this to anyone to just get more insight, whether anyone thinks they know it all there is always something that can be learned. Thank you Goodreads giveaways for the copy and the handy guide to keep using!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    3.5 This was an informative and practical resource on personal safety. There was definitely some really important emphasis placed on the individual being firstly responsible for their own safety and that you should never rely on or expect others (be they police, school administrators, security guards, etc) to take the responsibility to keep them safe. That many procedures that are nominally for our safety are directly counterintuitive to what the individual should do. I thought the section about 3.5 This was an informative and practical resource on personal safety. There was definitely some really important emphasis placed on the individual being firstly responsible for their own safety and that you should never rely on or expect others (be they police, school administrators, security guards, etc) to take the responsibility to keep them safe. That many procedures that are nominally for our safety are directly counterintuitive to what the individual should do. I thought the section about the star and her ex went on a bit long though I see the point of it. It also works better as a reference text rather than listening to the audio straight through as some sections are repeated verbatim. This book started many incredibly interesting discussions with my partner and I as he's a combat veteran. This did break down though when I read him: "Ask any soldier who had ever been in combat to tell you the number one rule of survival". "Do something" became his catch phrase for bullshit over the next few days where he pointed out scenarios where doing 'something' would get you or others killed. That definitely soured him on the book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    This book goes far beyond what I initially expected in a book about personal safety. I'm sure many will find specific instances that Spencer Coursen explores, to be highly controversial. (Especially, school lock-downs in cases of an active shooter scenerio.) He's right though. Much of what has been put in place, in public settings, can actually put you in more danger than it protects you. That doesn't mean we need to live in fear. It does mean we always need to be aware that possible threats exi This book goes far beyond what I initially expected in a book about personal safety. I'm sure many will find specific instances that Spencer Coursen explores, to be highly controversial. (Especially, school lock-downs in cases of an active shooter scenerio.) He's right though. Much of what has been put in place, in public settings, can actually put you in more danger than it protects you. That doesn't mean we need to live in fear. It does mean we always need to be aware that possible threats exist. The most important lesson Coursen has for us, is to not trust others to protect us. We must be actively responsible for our own personal safety. Throughout the book, Coursen gives solid examples and advice to build a better safety net around us. He warns throughout that feeling safe, ignoring potential threats, can mean we are exposing ourselves to greater danger. We can all learn a lot through this book. Knowledge and action will be what keeps us safe. I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Peter Z.

    First two thirds is mostly anecdotes of celebrity protection, analyzing a received threat (e.g. voicemail or letter) and general talk of situational awareness without much of a usable plan on how to perform or achieve either successfully. The book is redeemed in the end by a section with some real specifics on school safety, personal safety and preparation for a disaster or zombie apocalypse. Any of those topics could be covered by a whole book but this book is a fair starting point for someone First two thirds is mostly anecdotes of celebrity protection, analyzing a received threat (e.g. voicemail or letter) and general talk of situational awareness without much of a usable plan on how to perform or achieve either successfully. The book is redeemed in the end by a section with some real specifics on school safety, personal safety and preparation for a disaster or zombie apocalypse. Any of those topics could be covered by a whole book but this book is a fair starting point for someone looking for an overview and diving off point into more specific study of developing situational awareness, or a home defense plan, or prepping for an apocalyptic scenario, for example. In general a lot of nonspecific hand waving, but eye opening anecdotes and the end sections with some actionable information salvage this.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jack Leskovar

    I've been in the executive protection/protective intelligence/threat assessment business for over 30 years. I must admit that “The Safety Trap” is one of the most informational books that I've read in some time. If you are interested in protecting your loved ones and yourself, this book is a must read. My copy is currently filled with "dog-eared" and "Post-it Note" filled pages, so that I can have a quick reference to vital information that will help me be more effective in my personal and profe I've been in the executive protection/protective intelligence/threat assessment business for over 30 years. I must admit that “The Safety Trap” is one of the most informational books that I've read in some time. If you are interested in protecting your loved ones and yourself, this book is a must read. My copy is currently filled with "dog-eared" and "Post-it Note" filled pages, so that I can have a quick reference to vital information that will help me be more effective in my personal and professional life. I'm adding "The Safety Trap" to my personal arsenal of professional development literature and will recommend it to anyone who wants to be more proficient in the area of safety, security, and situational awareness. Very well done! Respectfully, Jack Leskovar

  16. 4 out of 5

    Susan Barrows Libby

    In a complicated world, with threats to our health, well-being, and safety exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and livelihoods, the world can be a scary place. Spencer Coursen breaks down in The Safety Trap what common safety traps we should be aware of, how to spot them, and then with diligence, how to learn to avoid them. Spencer Coursen does this all in a very approachable and, at times, an entertaining manner with personal stories from his extensive international work. As In a complicated world, with threats to our health, well-being, and safety exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and livelihoods, the world can be a scary place. Spencer Coursen breaks down in The Safety Trap what common safety traps we should be aware of, how to spot them, and then with diligence, how to learn to avoid them. Spencer Coursen does this all in a very approachable and, at times, an entertaining manner with personal stories from his extensive international work. As a frequent solo traveler, this book is now in my travel backpack for re-reads and reference. It is a hard book to put down and an even easier one to pick up again and again.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Betts

    As a person in a public-facing job, I've always been wary of my level of security, both in person and online. I found myself dealing with some unsavory people and wanted to learn more about how to keep myself AND my family safe. The Safety Trap was an incredible way to learn the ins and outs of security and privacy lessons. To be honest, there were a lot of things I had never even thought about that stick with me now wherever I go. Not a "scare tactic" book, instead it's a well-written and thoug As a person in a public-facing job, I've always been wary of my level of security, both in person and online. I found myself dealing with some unsavory people and wanted to learn more about how to keep myself AND my family safe. The Safety Trap was an incredible way to learn the ins and outs of security and privacy lessons. To be honest, there were a lot of things I had never even thought about that stick with me now wherever I go. Not a "scare tactic" book, instead it's a well-written and thoughtful look at how we treat our safety and how to improve it in our day-to-day lives. Highly recommend reading this for your own sake and your family's sake.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sharen

    There was some good stuff here about taking responsibility for our own safety as opposed to relying on others to keep us safe. Some suggestions around preparedness and information around how to scan our own environments to determine potential threats. Expecting 'others' (police, fire department, building manager etc) to respond to keep us safe isn't enough. We have to participate in our own safety and harm prevention. A bit repetitive but works if people are going to pick and choose book sections There was some good stuff here about taking responsibility for our own safety as opposed to relying on others to keep us safe. Some suggestions around preparedness and information around how to scan our own environments to determine potential threats. Expecting 'others' (police, fire department, building manager etc) to respond to keep us safe isn't enough. We have to participate in our own safety and harm prevention. A bit repetitive but works if people are going to pick and choose book sections to read. '...your child's school is simply not capable of keeping your child protected.' 'When your life is on the line, you are your own authority.'

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    The Safety Trap by Spencer Coursen is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late May. While addressing the fear of not being safe enough or being caught unawares, this book is a mixture of being a resource, a precautionary & preparedness self-help book, and an overview of recent tragic events and what could have been done differently. Obviously, it's a scary set of topics that's tough to broach and Coursen comes from a lifetime of keeping people secure and unharmed, but it comes up on the mid-ran The Safety Trap by Spencer Coursen is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late May. While addressing the fear of not being safe enough or being caught unawares, this book is a mixture of being a resource, a precautionary & preparedness self-help book, and an overview of recent tragic events and what could have been done differently. Obviously, it's a scary set of topics that's tough to broach and Coursen comes from a lifetime of keeping people secure and unharmed, but it comes up on the mid-range of right-wing hyperconcern.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Calley

    If you’re just starting to research what you can do to make yourself and your environment safer this book is perfect for you and has some amazing tips. If you’re like me and walk around with your keys through your fingers like wolverine then this book is going to have a lot of “duh” moments for you. That’s not to say their won’t be great takeaways for you, they just may be a little harder to find.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ashley King

    This book is a must read! I thought I knew how to keep myself and my family safe but the expert advice in The Safety Trap proved how wrong most of us are in our sense of security. I have recommended this book to every friend and relative I have. 10 Stars! Must read!

  22. 5 out of 5

    John Friedlander

    I found Spencer's book credible and engaging, with substantive recommendations to improve general security awareness and individual personal security. I look forward to giving The Safety Trap to select family and friends who will benefit from its content. I found Spencer's book credible and engaging, with substantive recommendations to improve general security awareness and individual personal security. I look forward to giving The Safety Trap to select family and friends who will benefit from its content.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris Chauvin

    Tons if insights into the signals that we ignore, the mistakes we make, and the better things we can do to plan and protect ourselves and our loved ones. As I read through this, I found myself nodding my head so many times in complete agreement with Coursen's advice. Tons if insights into the signals that we ignore, the mistakes we make, and the better things we can do to plan and protect ourselves and our loved ones. As I read through this, I found myself nodding my head so many times in complete agreement with Coursen's advice.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Val Duncan

    Full of information that is important information This book is full of information on every subject of keeping yourself protected, how to look for certain things that may point us in the right direction for a safe escape from danger.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Stephenson

    I won this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. It is a very interesting look at how we view and utilize security in this day and age and what we are doing wrong. It considers all aspects of work, school and personal life.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kris Zeller

    Can’t recommend this book highly enough. Read it in a day and learned a lot!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Wright

    The only security book anyone ever needs. Reliable information.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heather Wefel

    This book has some really good advice in it. I have been sharing a lot of the tips with family and friends.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey

    There is so much good information in this book, but it is in dire need of an editor. It is definitely aimed at beginners, who haven’t considered this issue much.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Coursen

    Fantastic, usable knowledge shared! Loved the relatability in so many of Mr. Coursen’s stories! I plan to purchase several copies as graduation gift for High school and college kids I’m celebrating this year. Highly recommended

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