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The Fear Project: What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me About Survival, Success, Surfing . . . and Love

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  510 ratings  ·  51 reviews
An epic adventure full of incredible characters, death-defying athletic achievement, and bleeding edge science, THE FEAR PROJECT began with one question: how can we overcome our fears to reach our full potential?

Who among us has not been paralyzed by fear? In The Fear Project, award-winning journalist and surfer Jaimal Yogis sets out to better understand fear-why does it s
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Rodale Books
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Start your review of The Fear Project: What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me About Survival, Success, Surfing . . . and Love
Joshunda Sanders
I've coincidentally been reading a lot about fear and fearlessness. I'm reviewing this book for Spirituality and Health magazine, so I'll say more specifically about this book later. There are some enlightening, thoughtful passages here, but the book is hard to describe. It's part memoir, part journalistic exploration of the psychological and biological roots of fear. Yogis is an avid surfer, so the surfing lingo is a little much. But the main takeaway seems to be that fear can be useful in mode ...more
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I first bought this book, I wasn’t ready for it, even though I bought it hoping that it would help me deal with my own demons. But I left it on my shelf for 2 years and a half, having read only the first 2 chapters. Every time I thought about picking it up again, I felt like it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Well, turns out I was completely wrong. It was just really not the right time for me.

But time passes and, well...things change. I began to show a lot of interest in Psychology
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Fear Project was truly a pleasure to read. Part personal story, part investigation into the phenomenon of fear, the book gives just enough of the former to keep it interesting and relatable and just enough of the latter to teach you a little something as you read. And even though Yogis frames much of the book through surfing, which he adores, it was the universality of fear that struck me: the mental processes surrounding it, the way it manifests, the patterns it drags us into. I’ve never be ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was a fan of Jaimal Yogis before reading this book, with his earlier book "Saltwater Buddha" being at the top of my favourites list. I enjoyed this one (though I have to admit I still like SWB better). The analogy of waves representing our fears is apt, and there was some interesting neuroscience bits, as well as some autobiographical elements, which make Jaimal's writing applicable to people living in the real world. It's a great read if you deal with anxiety (and most of us do to some extent ...more
Megan Elizabeth
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This album is a great soundtrack to which to read this book:

P. 67: "In almost all primate species -- and we are one -- there is a phenomenon scientists call voluntary dispersal or voluntary transfer. A monkey, usually around adolescence, will leave the safety of his or her clan and family to go and mate with a monkey from another area, a huge risk. The monkey must leave the familiarity and safety of the clan, travel alone, and expose itself to what may be
Peter Clothier
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jaimal Yogis is the kind of writer who is willing to plumb the depths of his own lived experience—and his own heart—for his material. I’m not surprised to find him quoting Michel de Montaigne , the granddaddy of this approach to writing that most engages and inspires me. It’s what I myself aspire to.

So from the very first Yogis’ new book, The Fear Project, took me back to my own experience in discovering how fear could affect my choices—and the direction of my life—without my even knowing it; an
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read Saltwater Buddha by this author and really enjoyed it so when I saw he was writing a new book on fear I was really looking forward to its release. I couldn't wait for the library and had to buy it. I was not disappointed. I appreciate the way this author can communicate complex concepts from neuroscience in easy to see metaphors. I liked how open the author was about his own personal fears and how he was able to diminish them to achieve the things he'd always wanted to do. I also love tha ...more
Johnee Schwartz
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was an incredibly accessible journey through the primal and contemporary aspects of fear. In a really smart structural move, Jaimal winds his research and analysis of fear through his own personal narrative. While with some authors this could get overly self-referential and boring, Jaimal is gracious with the reader and this really helps you identify with your own fear issues. There is also a really interesting Jungian sense to the book which I appreciated--fear is about somehow coming to g ...more
Laura Stone
May 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was inconsistent. There were parts I thought were really fascinating, particularly the parts focused on meditation, neurobiology, and fear and anxiety as they relate to mental health and sports.

Everything else was superfluous to me. The author was very self-focused in writing this book and it was apparent; at times I felt like I was reading an autobiography. It was unclear how the subject material was directly related to fear. I'm sure it was tangentially (but really what can't be mad
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In Jaimal Yogis I found a kindred spirit. Although our personalities and material circumstances are quite different I felt that he speaks my language. Fear is a large factor in my life, something that I'm now learning how to find a solution to. I started surfing three years ago and as much as I love it I am afraid of big waves, to hear those same fears echoed by a world-class surfer helped me realize that my fears can be overcome and that with work and faith I can become the person that I can be ...more
Jack Oughton
Jul 15, 2016 rated it liked it
It's hard to live a life without fear when your brain has spent the last few million years using fear as a very effective survival mechanism.

So, embrace and use the fear instead.

See also: Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear :3
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and its eloquent mix of science and personal stories. I enjoyed every page and was disappointed to finally reach the end. My favorite quote was the simple statement: "Fear is lying to you"

Can't wait for Yogis next book this summer
Lisa Dubbels
Disclaimer: a client, so I'm biased.
Aaron Cardinal
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
excellent book. changed my whole outlook of fear.
Mohammad Noroozi
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
I've been on my own project, trying to understand fear lately. I feel like I had great luck that I ran into this book when I did. The author used his personal stories about surfing, family, and relationships to anchor the knowledge about fear that he distilled in this story. I thought that was brilliant. He became his own example of how to use what science teaches us to master fear instead of letting it master us.

There's some great tricks to learn in this book to work through your fear. One is c
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a tough one to rate...but I think it comes in solidly at a nice average 3 star. Not great, not bad. What’s good about it is, in no particular order:

- it’s written (and spoken in the audiobook) like a normal person is talking, even the scientific descriptions. It’s not dry, and it’s not trying to sell you on anything. A stark contrast to the last book I read by Malcolm Gladwell. I definitely prefer this style.
- it falls in the perfect spot between scientific treatise and self-help instruc
Sara Kimball
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great read, especially if you or someone you love is often paralyzed by fear. One of my favorite quotes from the book "If I've learned anything , it's that nature has selected a whole variety of traits for us- some good, some bad, and some a combination of the two. But the brain and the mind and the body have more plasticity than we ever imagined. We are constantly evolving. We learn from events, from one another, from our own empathese and awarenesses. A single thought changes the very struct ...more
dane hansen
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The authors ability to keep me intrigued as well as entertained and most importantly educated made this read extremely fulfilling. This was not a life changing book for me but indeed life enhancing. Completely understanding a fear, the fear, all fear or no fear was not my experience. What I did experience is learning a new tool to look at some fears with less fear. And I have already tried to put that in action. Being a surfer myself I found a lot of the content was highly relatable.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audiobook of this book and had a blast. The way Jaimal develops the book, taking the reader on his own life journey, sharing all the facts but also narrating how he confronted his fears and analysing them so that anyone can learn from his experiences... All of this makes for a fascinating read, eye-opening and captivating. It really helped me to get a new perspective on fear and anxiety and also on surfing!
Jul 13, 2020 rated it liked it
It’s a good book but very different from the first one I read by Jaimal Yogis. I was expecting something different.
If you want to learn a bit about the brain and how emotions work, this is a good read.
Adam Cook
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hands down one of the best book I’ve ever read - amazing!
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I LOVED this book. This one is really more of a 4.5 stars book for me. I picked it up on a whim (it was one shelf down at the library from the book I was looking for) but very glad I did, especially as it also includes big-wave surfing and Mavericks, two things I'm very much a fan of.

He does a great job of presenting why we may be afraid of certain things (nature versus learned sort of discussion), but also with a sense of humor. In facing his fears he says "I decide to start an activity much m
Dec 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
** Given a copy from the author - Goodreads giveaway**
Thank you Mr. Yogis.

I have to admit that I sort of (ok maybe more than sort of) procrastinated starting this book. I was really excited when I read the description on the back of the book, then I started thinking, "what if it reads like a text book and I don't like it?" "The author was kind enough to share his work with me and I don't want to have to tell him I don't like it..."

The Fear Project, was a very goo
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book after hearing the author speak on Public Radio--Cheers WPR!! Anyway,while I am sure you'll never find me catching a wave, I really was drawn by the author's desire to overcome his fears and the neurology behind them. He made many compelling observations that have helped me find ways to understand and conquer my fears. I've also utilized and shared some of the practices Yogis was introduced to in his search to free himself from his reptilian brain. This was an easy, but arresting ...more
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book will not disappoint you to say the least. I read this to try overcoming fear of big waves, but found myself understanding how to overcome that of practically anything else. It's not to become fearless, but to be okay with the scare and calm down soon after necessary shocks. From the in-depth studies of our fear biology to amazing stories and interviews with daredevil athletes, The Fear Project offers a clear understanding of how to cope with our often-problematic "ancient brain" in a m ...more
Igor Laray
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The fear project

This is the second book by Mr yogis that I have read, and one again I finish the book deeply satisfied ! I really enjoyed the real life accounts and how Mr yogis weaves these seamlessly into his expose on fear. Additionally, I realize while I would usually not sit down and study neuroscience, Mr yogis provides a lens in which a layman like myself can better understand and relate to such topics. Thank you!
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was so interesting to read how the brain works as it relates to fear, & how the different parts of the ancient & modern brain work together (or work against each other, as the case may be) & co-exist. Plus, Yogis personal experiences were fun to read about & easily applicable to personal situations. ...more
Feb 14, 2013 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I found the science interesting, and I especially liked how he applied what he learned to his life. He's a storyteller with humility. His humanity shines through his right, and I liked him as a person. I'm inspired to apply what I learned in my own life, and I wish him and his family well.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing

This was a very interesting read. A fun comparison to science and his life. His research was thorough and very applicable. He was thought provoking, funny, and intriguing. I really enjoyed this memoir/psychology book. A real honest look at fear. This would book a great book for a book club!
Taisha Rucker
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and accessible. Most importantly, it offers practical approaches for anyone serious about overcoming and conquering fear.

I read his first book, Salt Water Buddha, when it was released and stumbled upon an interview with him on Shrink Rap Radio about this book. I love that he incorporates his own stories of facing his fears in this. Nice balance to all the studies.
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Jaimal Yogis is a writer, Buddhist meditation teacher, and outdoorsman with a special love of surfing. His most recent book, All Our Waves Are Water, is a Harper Collins memoir that The BBC called “Best Beach Read of 2017,” Spirituality and Health Magazine called a "Best Book of the Year" and The San Francisco Chronicle called “evocative…articulate, and genuinely funny.” Jaimal is also the author ...more

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