Sliwa believes that self-defense is all in your mind. Start with the attitude that no one is going to take advantage of you, and the actual physical act of defending yourself will follow instinctively. If you don't, all the martial-arts training in the world won't help. She acknowledges, correctly, that ""there is no 'right' way to handle threatening situations."" So she includes a variety of street-smart, self-defense techniques: press an assailant's finger backward until it snaps, try to poke the eyes, and keep in mind that making a traditional fist is difficult if you're not a trained fighter (you could break your wrist), so use a ""hammer fist"" by pounding with the side of your fist. There's also advice on how to handle suburban crime and all kinds of men, everything from the office octopus to date rape to groups of street toughs. Her tone is spitfire and her message is a good one. All she wants is for women to stop thinking and acting like victims. She is off the mark only occasionally, most notably in criticizing the women's movement for not helping women learn self-defense. She conveniently ignores the generations of women who have, in fact, said the same things Sliwa is saying and who've made it possible for her to speak her mind--and use her fists.