There is no simpler way to say it: if you are not reading, you are not preparing.
There are really only two ways to go about acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to protect yourself and your loved ones from the unpredictable nature of violence. The first is actually taking to the mats and getting hands-on training experience. The second way is learning from others.
I (Keith) personally read all the time. Between articles, personal narratives, and books, I spend a considerable amount of my free time packing my brain with information that will add to my defensive skillset. A lot of those books are self-defense centered. Still more of them are focused on handling rampage killers and understanding humans and violence.
Suffice it to say, it is my firm belief that the best prepared self-defenders are those who are well studied in the field.
I present to you this list of recommended readings. Clicking through to these books will take you directly to the Amazon page for each book. If you choose to order a title, please know that a small percentage of your purchase helps to keep the lights on here at DefCon. For that, we thank you immensely.
Given that I read all the time, we will be adding titles to this list fairly regularly. Check back often for new suggestions.
Human Interaction & Violence
The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence – Gavin DeBecker
Conflict Communication: A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication – Rory Miller
Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision Making Under Threat of Violence – Rory Miller & Lawrence Kane
Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence – Rory Miller
Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected – Rory Miller
Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane) – Gavin DeBecker
The Big Bloody Book of Violence: The Smart Person’s Guide for Surviving Dangerous Times: What Everyone Must Know About Self-Defense – Lawrence Kane & Kris Wilder
In the Name of Self-Defense: What it costs. When it’s worth it. – Marc “Animal” MacYoung
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society – Dave Grossman
On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace – Dave Grossman
Active Killers/ Terrorism
Surviving a School Shooting: A Plan of Action for Parents, Teachers, and Students – Loren Christensen
Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings – Katherine S. Newman
School Shootings: What Every Parent and Educator Needs to Know to Protect OurChildren – Joseph A. Lieberman
Surviving Workplace Violence: What to Do Before a Violent Incident; What to Do When the Violence Explodes – Loren Christensen
Fear Less: Real Truth About Risk, Safety, and Security in a Time of Terrorism – Gavin DeBecker