Recommended reading

This is not a comprehensive list of every resource on self-defence, conflict manager and recovery I know; it’s just a very idiosyncratic list of my favourite resources. These are some of the books that made me go “I wish I’d known this way back when.” There’s plenty of other good stuff out there. Conversely, the fact that a book is listed here does not mean that I agree 100% with all of its contents.



If you’re going to read only one book on the subject, I’d pick this one. Probably my favourite non-fiction book.


A more targeted look at how and why violence happens, and how to best deal with it.


A good introduction to the role of intuition in keeping us safe and some of the common techniques predators use in order to get close to their chosen targets. Probably most useful in encouraging people who need to give themselves permission to self-defend.


I bought this book because it was dirt cheap and I wanted to sneer at it. It turned out to be a surprisingly good introduction to Cluster B personalities and how they can wreck your life. I’m still annoyed about it.

Conflict management:

I recommend this book to all humans planning to interact with other humans in any setting.


A useful resource for learning to self-de-escalate and express needs in a non-challenging way. Despite protestations to the contrary, it will NOT work in asocial settings, or with people who aren’t invested in getting along with us.


Specific to communication with emotionally disturbed people. Most of us will probably never have to do it, but it’s useful information if the situation ever arises. It can also give us a better understanding of the challenges presented to those people who have to deal with these situations as their job.


A very good introduction to the emotional and psychological impacts of childhood abuse and neglect on later life.


Similar to the above, but focusing specifically on emotional abuse. Blissfully short and to the point. An online resource for children (of any age) of estranged parents who are either abusive or dysfunctional, aiming to explain the mentality of the estranged parents and why dealing with them can be a frustrating waste of time and effort. An online resource designed for professionals working with victims or perpetrators of stalking, full of well-presented, concise advice.


Children and teens:


“Run, Yell & Tell!” by Carol Watson.

“I Want to be S.A.F.E.R.” by Carol Watson

“Erica’s Choices: Alternatives to Running Away” by Carol Watson


General brain feeding:

A book for parents who want to raise their children to give themselves permission to self-defend, and for grown-ups who need a bit of help re-wiring that aspect of their thinking. Also a fun read.


“Be with your horse.”  A book about leadership, emotional stability, and generally being less of an asshole. About what you need to give in order to hope to get what you want. Technically a book about horses, but horses make very good mirrors.


Stuff I wrote:

My latest. It’s about creeps, oddly enough. I hope it does what it says on the cover.


The same, but in Spanish:


A short booklet incorporating the basic principles of recovery from violence and trauma. The principles themselves can also be used by men, but some of the social conditioning around violence is gender-specific in many cultures, hence the gendered title.


A book for self-defence instructors who want to be better able to understand and assist students who have been the targets of violence, abuse, and trauma. Also useful for students who want to be able to spot toxic personalities, attitudes, and behaviours in their self-defence training.


Fiction. Sci-fi, allegedly, though it’s mostly about terrible things happening to good people.

Free and for no money:

Captain Awkward. Advice on most things. Probably one of three places on the internet where reading the comments is actually helpful.



Anna Valdiserri is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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