Surviving Kidnappers: Precautions, Influence, Strategic Tools is an excellent book for anyone who worries about being kidnapped.
From 2013-2018 I traveled to all 54 African countries, including all the ones where kidnapping is a serious risk. Although I took precautions, I wish I had read this book before my trip. Unfortunately, it just came out so I missed out. But you can benefit from it now.
The book teaches you how to prevent a kidnapping in the first place. For instance, whenever getting into a taxi (or any car), take a photo of the license plate (and the driver) and then email it a friend. Tell the driver that you’re doing this so that he doesn’t come up with any bright ideas to make an unnecessary detour.
His advice is sound, including:
- “Seek information about kidnappings and assaults that have happened.” Kidnappers often have a method of operating and executing their business. If it ain’t broke, they don’t fix it.
- “Store emergency numbers with dialing shortcuts, so that pressing one digit is enough to call for help.” I often forget to do this since I’m changing countries so often but it’s a good practice.
- “If you bring an ATM card, make sure there is limited money in the account. Robbery victims are sometimes held for days because the money in their account exceeds the maximum you can withdraw per day.”
- “Do not stop if anyone addresses you on the street.” This is hard to do, especially in broad daylight. However, had I listened to this advice, I would not have been strangled in a dark alley in Cameroon.
- When kidnappers try to force you into a car, play dead. Collapse on the ground and force them to drag you. It’s hard to carry a limp body and that can buy you precious seconds.
- If you’re near a car, crawl under it and wrap your arms around the axle to make it hard for them to extract you.
Here’s a tricky tip: when in a moving car, fasten your seatbelt, disconnect their seatbelt (most low-income country drivers never wear seatbelts anyway), and then kick the steering wheel to cause a serious accident. It’s a risky strategy.
He teaches you how to prevent kidnapping in the air and at sea.
He gives tips on how to fake a medical condition.
Assuming you're kidnapped, the book teaches you how to stay calm, how to handle ransom negotiations, how to escape, how to influence the kidnapper, how to deal with violent kidnappers, and how to avoid Stockholm syndrome.
Finally, it ends with the release phase and how to get your life back on track after having the kidnapping trauma.
The ebook is worth $10. Buy it if it’s ever selling for less than that.
VERDICT: 9 out of 10.