A Book About Flinching and Fear

Saturday, January 28, 2012
Posted in category Books

I recently came across a one-of-a-kind book that skillfully challenges the standard conventions. It is called The Flinch, and it is written by Julian Smith. It is free on Amazon and you can download it here. If you don’t have an eReader, you can register, for free, to have an Amazon cloud. You can download the eBook and read it online. It is around 100 pages – a very quick read.

In short, the book is about transformative impact and making yourself physically and psychologically more resistant. People stop doing anything difficult because they fear pain and physical stress, and especially, change. They not only become sedentary to avoid physical challenges, but they are moved to fit in with the consensus – intellectually – and thus they make many bad decisions in order to hang with the collective. The book encourages you to expose yourself to difficult stuff to create psychological toughness/breakthroughs and achieve greater things in life. Though the book is about overcoming emotional resistance to change, it is not written from the usual self-help perspective (it is non-Oprah-ish). Smith’s book is the exact opposite of those namby-pamby corporate “change” books like this:  ”In the Long Run We’re All Mice.

That’s the quickie on the book. The author, Julian Smith, is an established author who writes on technology and social networks, etc. He used to be a vegan and became primal (paleolithic diet) in recent years. The book will appeal to paleo-primal types, libertarians, non-conformists, agents of change, corporate managers who can’t relate to simpleton trash like “Who Moved My Cheese?“, and intelligent people who are ready to move beyond the typical, powder-puff self-help book. Here is a quote from one reviewer on Amazon:

What this author has done with “The Flinch” is to make it possible to reset our pschological responses to what makes us afraid and stagnant. . . in just one hour of reading time. In a world that increasingly encourages cookie-cutter mediocrity, The Flinch reminds us that we can each be great, and that we owe it to ourselves to break our own chains.

In machine-gun bursts of insight that are refreshingly blunt, Mr. Smith demonstrates how an evolutionary response to danger has caused us to overract to perceived danger and shrink back from opportunities. Most of us aren’t lazy or crazy, we’re just hindered by a natural reaction to stress. This book absolves us of blame and frees us up to find a solution. . . to work through the flinch we experience when facing the difficult or unknown.

Here is a full review of the book (from C.C. Chapman) and a longer review from anarcho-libertarian and paleo-primal advocate Richard Nikoley. Also of interest is Robb Wolf’s podcast with Julian Smith about the book. On Robb’s podcast, Julian noted that Amazon was getting hit with 5,000 downloads per day for the book.


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6 Responses to A Book About Flinching and Fear

  1. Alan says:

    January 28th, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Nope, can’t read it. Amazon hates Asia. Can’t even install the Kindle reader on my Android phone.
    Lew does the same thing, presumes “If Amazon, then international”. Nope, quite the opposite!

  2. Richard Nikoley says:

    January 29th, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you Karen for that, as well as the link love. A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to meet Julien in SF for breakfast and I came away thinking that I sure hope he’s representative of our future. It inspired this post:


    Of course, there are statements in there that I can see rubbing libertarians the wrong way but, it’s only hyperbole regarding the study of history and its lessons. My general point is that we have of necessity to view the future as far more important and we have an opportunity to talk to and influence the future right now.

    Cheers, Karen. 

  3. Jeannie Queenie says:

    February 3rd, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Regarding this….”the book is about transformative impact…making yourself physically…psychologically more resistant. People stop doing anything difficult because they fear pain and physical stress, and especially, change.”

    I picked up my son from Texas at the airport today and having a wonderful time catching up…lots of talk and plenty of laughs. He introduced me to a video, which url I will supply below which is apropos to the topic above. This lieutenant colonel has labeled his video, “Lessons of My Father: “Depussification” by Nutnfancy” He makes the salient point that far too many americans have had it so soft that many, if not most, would be paralyzed by any untoward emergency or serious interruption cutting into their daily lives. Indeed, our nation has become so soft, so dumbed down, so inadequate to even simple tasks at hand, that there would probably be mass hysteria on a national level in a severe crisis, for as he puts it, we have been experiencing the “pussification” of our citizenry for a goodly time now.
    His video gives parents some real good ideas on how to break your kid, and perhaps yourself, out of that cycle so that in the event of an emergency you can survive, but first it is really paramount that you practice to be prepared. This video is both serious and funny..the guy will be sure to crack you up, so click and watch this gem. And be sure to read the copy under the video..access here.

    If I can find another good one of his on the stupidity of women in the military I will send it along as well. He has this crazy story of a gal who had given birth and had to express her milk for her newborn baby while on a mission..and how they were forced to go back to base as the battery on her expressor had lost power and her breasts were exploding in pain. Just another reason why the nincs who believe in women in the military is not really an equal opportunity deal for the female gender…how many guys to you know that bleed once a month or give birth or nurse? Nada!

  4. Monte says:

    February 4th, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    The flinch is why parents don’t get their kids vaccinated? Did I really read that? If that is the case, happily count me among those who flinch.

  5. Karen De Coster says:

    February 5th, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Monte – LoL. …. that part of the book, of course, is completely ignorable. That was awful, indeed!

  6. Dave K says:

    February 6th, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I love it! Thanks very much for the recommendation. I have been “suffering” through homework assignment #1 for three days now. The resulting shorter showers gave me extra time in the morning to make a good lunch to take to work!

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