Troubador Surviving Kidnappers

Released: 28/09/2017

ISBN: 9781788032797

eISBN: 9781788030748

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Surviving Kidnappers

Precautions, Influence, Strategic Tools

by

Surviving Kidnappers is a detailed guide from conflict expert Olav Ofstad which takes readers through the process of kidnap survival, guiding them through the critical steps from assault through captivity to freedom. Key selling points: There is limited literature on how to survive kidnap; step-by-step guide through different phases of kidnap; author has experience training for kidnapping survival. What would you do if you were kidnapped? Starting with the assault, this book explains the mindset required to stay calm and make intelligent decisions. Moving on to the often gruelling transportation phase, advice is offered on how to brave it and pick up on crucial information. For the phase of captivity this book offers practical advice as well as mental activities that can reduce the risk of being traumatised. The author identifies closely with you as the reader, explaining in simple terms the practical application of social psychology, influencing the captor to your advantage and relating to angry and violent kidnappers. Protection tools and how to apply ‘diplomacy’ if violence occurs are presented.

Total Security Daily Advisor

The Mirror

This book was definitely something. When I started reading it I was shocked at how much information the author was putting into it, and then what really blew me away was the variety of kidnappings he was talking about. When I've read about kidnappings in the past they tend to stick to one or maybe two forms of kidnapping, but the author covered everything. From boat to car to plane to jungle and more. It was shocking.

Although this book was heavy with information I wasn't tired of it. Something the author did was quote real-life kidnapping experiences which for me really helped break apart the amount of information I was taking in.

Overall it was a quick and informative read, that might come in handy one day!

by Teleri Rees


If you live in a country where kidnapping is a likely possibility, then you must read this book. It tells you how to handle different situations and what to do depending of the kind of kidnapping. Excellent resource!

by Lectus Read


Surviving Kidnappers is an essential handbook for anyone who might be at high risk of kidnapping. I read it myself even though I'm not at high risks, I enjoying knowing how to handle what if situations and how psychology can work for you. Though it's not written in a very interesting way, it doesn't need to be to meet it's purpose. The great news is that is way easier to read than a DV manual and you actually understand what to do!

by Audrey Adamson


Excellent! I've long had an interest in survival. Thorough, easy to read. Highly informative.

by Jenny Quinlan


This book was a very informative piece on what to do when the possibility of a kidnapping is around. With the type of information on dealing with kidnapping in different situations I would say that this book would be an essential tool to have read. It is an easy read and written very interestingly. Nobody would every want to be in the situation to have to use what is covered in the book but its very useful to have this knowledge in the back of your head.

by Larissa Lio


An interesting book with great advice for lots of situations. Well set out under different headings.

by Jayne Davies


In some ways this is an odd book, after all, just what are the chances of getting kidnapped? Well, the answer of course depends on where you live and what you do for a living. There are many people throughout the world who probably are at heightened risk – aid workers in conflict zones for example – and this book, written by a Norwegian lawyer and researcher might just save their life. Olav Ofstad certainly knows his stuff, having spent years in conflict zones working with embassies and international organisations and worked in the field of conflict resolution. To be sure some of the information at the beginning of the book about avoiding undue risks in the first place reads like basic common sense, but it isn’t long before he serves up intriguing, and quite possibly lifesaving, psychological analysis.

Surviving Kidnappers takes the reader through the process of being kidnapped, confinement, to (hopefully) release or rescue. Throughout the author analyses the psychological skills and stratagems one might use to survive. This is no gung-ho, wannabe special forces survival manual, rather a serious study gleaned through interviews with victims of kidnapping combined with the insights gleaned from the psychological literature. Topics include building empathy and understanding, utilising cognitive dissonance and cultivating a feeling of reciprocity on behalf of one’s kidnapper.

It would be a shame if this book was only read by those at risk of kidnapping, for as with many such titles the insights gleaned can feed into all walks of life. An appreciation of social psychology and how to influence others can be beneficial to anyone who’s job leads them to interact with others. I personally read a wide range of non-fiction and Surviving Kidnapping has certainly given me a greater appreciation of the psychological underpinnings of severe trauma, as well as a great understanding of psychological resilience.

by James Pierson


rom 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.

by Francis Tapon


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