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Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, and Live Fearlessly

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Former Secret Service agent and star of Bravo’s Spy Games Evy Poumpouras shares lessons learned from protecting presidents, as well insights and skills from the oldest and most elite security force in the world to help you prepare for stressful situations, instantly read people, influence how you are perceived, and live a more fearless life. Becoming Bulletproof means tran Former Secret Service agent and star of Bravo’s Spy Games Evy Poumpouras shares lessons learned from protecting presidents, as well insights and skills from the oldest and most elite security force in the world to help you prepare for stressful situations, instantly read people, influence how you are perceived, and live a more fearless life. Becoming Bulletproof means transforming yourself into a stronger, more confident, and more powerful person. Evy Poumpouras—former Secret Service agent to three presidents and one of only five women to receive the Medal of Valor—demonstrates how we can overcome our everyday fears, have difficult conversations, know who to trust and who might not have our best interests at heart, influence situations, and prepare for the unexpected. When you have become bulletproof, you are your best, most courageous, and most powerful version of you. Poumpouras shows us that ultimately true strength is found in the mind, not the body. Courage involves facing our fears, but it is also about resilience, grit, and having a built-in BS detector and knowing how to use it. In Becoming Bulletproof, Poumpouras demonstrates how to heighten our natural instincts to employ all these qualities and move from fear to fearlessness.


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Former Secret Service agent and star of Bravo’s Spy Games Evy Poumpouras shares lessons learned from protecting presidents, as well insights and skills from the oldest and most elite security force in the world to help you prepare for stressful situations, instantly read people, influence how you are perceived, and live a more fearless life. Becoming Bulletproof means tran Former Secret Service agent and star of Bravo’s Spy Games Evy Poumpouras shares lessons learned from protecting presidents, as well insights and skills from the oldest and most elite security force in the world to help you prepare for stressful situations, instantly read people, influence how you are perceived, and live a more fearless life. Becoming Bulletproof means transforming yourself into a stronger, more confident, and more powerful person. Evy Poumpouras—former Secret Service agent to three presidents and one of only five women to receive the Medal of Valor—demonstrates how we can overcome our everyday fears, have difficult conversations, know who to trust and who might not have our best interests at heart, influence situations, and prepare for the unexpected. When you have become bulletproof, you are your best, most courageous, and most powerful version of you. Poumpouras shows us that ultimately true strength is found in the mind, not the body. Courage involves facing our fears, but it is also about resilience, grit, and having a built-in BS detector and knowing how to use it. In Becoming Bulletproof, Poumpouras demonstrates how to heighten our natural instincts to employ all these qualities and move from fear to fearlessness.

30 review for Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, and Live Fearlessly

  1. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    The will to survive is fundamental to us all. But in a life-or-death situation—when calm, careful planning, and logical thinking are what’s needed most—research shows that most of us will lose our shit. --------------------------------------- Being able to navigate your mental and physical response to fear is your number one survival skill. It can also be the best ally you have in any intimidating situation life throws at you. Managing your fear requires deliberate acts of courage. It is a cho The will to survive is fundamental to us all. But in a life-or-death situation—when calm, careful planning, and logical thinking are what’s needed most—research shows that most of us will lose our shit. --------------------------------------- Being able to navigate your mental and physical response to fear is your number one survival skill. It can also be the best ally you have in any intimidating situation life throws at you. Managing your fear requires deliberate acts of courage. It is a choice that you make, and it’s one that everyone is capable of making. Evy Poumpouras is one tough broad. And she would like to help you become tough too. Of course, she wasn’t always as tough as she is today. Growing up a working-class kid in Queens, she lived in a world of restrictions. You can’t go here, or there, and certainly not there. She was even deprived of a chance to go Brooklyn Tech High School, one of the elite specialty high schools in the New York City Public School system, because her parents did not think it was safe for her to go to Brooklyn. She says that not wanting to live in fear was a motivating force in her eagerness to pursue a career in law enforcement, which she did, first with the NYC Police Department, and then with the US Secret Service, where she served for a dozen years. Evy Poumpouras - image from her Instagram pages The book opens with her in the World Trade Center on 9/11, which she uses as an example of how training can come to the fore in a life and death situation. …when it seems like the world is ending, being willing to help others is the antidote to fear She was awarded a Medal of Valor for her actions that day. The tale of her experiences there is both chilling and uplifting. There are two basic streams in Becoming Bulletproof. The first is the author’s memoir of seeking out a career in law enforcement and ultimately capping that with years of work in the Secret Service. This was fascinating, offering a look at what it really takes to become a cop or an agent in the USSS. She is currently a co-host on Bravo’s reality series Spy Games. This last item is not given space in the book. She uses the challenges she faced in her career, having to overcome social, mental, and physical barriers, and just learning what agents learn, to reinforce the self-help message she is promoting. And that is the other stream here. Poumpouras writes about protecting yourself physically and mentally, and shows how you can influence others, and how other try to influence you. She writes about the three-F response to major stress, Fight, Flight, or Freeze. She offers sage advice on how to prepare for potentially stressful situations, and shows you how to dampen unhelpful reactions. There is excellent intel here on the importance of keeping on the move, whether coping with a shooter or a conversationally hostile actor. She even offers very useful information on securing your home. One of the things that self-help books offer is a quick way to get from here to there. In the case of Bulletproof, the author aims to show you how to become more inured to, and better prepared to cope with, the challenges life can throw at you, whether that might be an assassin attempting to take out the person you are protecting, or dealing with unpleasant people on line who attempt to draw you into no-win situations. The advice certainly seems reasonable enough. But, as with any such counsel, it can be a big leap from taking in some words on the page, and putting those words into action in a meaningful way. She writes of the hormetic effect of exposing yourself (or being exposed) to increasing levels of stress in order to build up a tolerance, so that when you are faced with a really stressful situation, you will be able to cope and not fall to pieces. This book is rich with the patois of the self-help genre – attitude, positivity, taking ownership, accepting responsibility, never giving up. There is a great list of suggestions for things to do and check when travelling, particularly abroad. But some seem bromitic, along the lines of “don’t let it throw you.” The bottom line for most self-help efforts is that it all comes down to the will of the reader. The advice can be divided into two categories, external actions you can take, things you can do that are pretty manageable and mostly a question of investing time and/or money. Others entail more personal challenges, and require more of a personal investment. The best advice in the world will not be particularly helpful if you lack the will to do what is suggested to achieve the desired results. There are enough specific suggestions here, however, that can be implemented, that can be learned, that it seems a worthwhile read even if you are not up to implementing all the recommedations. Sometimes, the advice could use a bit more nuance. For instance, there is a recommendation that one make eye contact when someone is making you feel uncomfortable. As many of us who have grown up in large cities (as the author did) can attest, it is often better to avoid eye contact, as eye contact is the route a certain sort of predator (or crazy person) uses to get you to stop moving, or to engage, when you really do not want to engage. Not all of us can rely on our well-honed combat skills to help us should our visual challenge to a predator be taken up. She offers excellent advice on how to handle yourself in an interview, as in when you are interviewing a suspect, the techniques also being quite useful when engaged in conversations in which you have a particular goal you want to achieve, whether persuading a person of something, or finding out something from or about them. She has a particularly sharp approach to getting a sense of when someone is lying, whether a suspect or your significant other. This is bolstered by an incisive description of body language, (aka paralinguistics) and how you can both use and interpret it. She honed this skill when she was an interrogator with the Secret Service. Of more interest, for me, anyway, is Poumpouras’s descriptions of preparations that are needed to make sure that this or that venue or travel route is safe for the VIP du jour, whether that be a member of the administration (or their families) or a foreign dignitary. Really interesting behind the scenes take there. There is a similar to-do list for regular folks planning foreign travel. I would definitely check that out. Evy Poumpouras with then First Lady Michelle Obama - image from InStyle In keeping with tradition, this agent did not listen and tell. Loose lips may sink ships, and may be what makes DC go round, but you will be disappointed if you are hoping for dirt on the presidents (or other people) she has helped protect. She does, however, include a section near the end of the book in which she reports on some of the more laudable qualities manifested by those under her protection. It does not take a career in law enforcement to come up with some conclusions about which of these people she esteems more than others. While I was hoping that a higher percentage of the book would be on behind-the-scenes gossip and technique, there is still enough of that here (technique, not gossip). You will learn a bit about the Secret Service, which is a wonderful thing. Who doesn’t love learning something about a real world organization with the word “Secret” in its name? Poumpouras can indeed help you better defend yourself in the world, even if you do not take her up on all her recommendations. While she does not exactly exude warmth, I am not sure that is necessarily a desirable trait, anyway, in a book about hardening your defenses. Still, she comes across as a very real, very understandable person, someone who knows a lot and is eager to share. Becoming Bulletproof may or may not keep you from taking an incoming, but it can certainly improve your chances of being out of the line of fire. Review posted – May 1, 2020 Publication date – April 21, 2020 I received an ARE of this book from Atria, in return for…well, it seems that I am not allowed to tell you what I gave in exchange, if anything. Something about state secrets. But I can let you reach reasonable conclusions based on the evidence above. Ok? Can I say that? You will be stronger for having figured it out for yourself. =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, Twitter, Instagram and FB pages Interviews -----Women of Impact - Former Secret Service Agent Shows You How to Get The Truth Out of Anyone | Evy Poumpouras - Lisa Bilyeu - Fun stuff on Sixth Sense – not in the book, and much more - this is a wonderful, longish interview, that will be well worth your time. If you watch only one interview it should be this one -----Steve TV - Evy Poumpouras Protects the President - with Steve Harvey – nice bit on physically protecting POTUS, but Harvey demonstrates his shallowness at the end of the segment -----MSN - Evy Poumpouras Was Ready To Face Death On 9/11 Songs/Music -----The Police - Every Breath You Take -----Sinatra - Someone to Watch Ove Me Items of Interest -----Spy Games -----People Magazine - Meet the Secret Service Agent Turned Bravo Star Helping Workers on the Coronavirus Frontlines

  2. 4 out of 5

    Randal White

    A very good read. Not at all like most of the self-help books you will read. No, this author has "walked the walk", so she has the experiences to back up her advice. A former US Secret Service officer, she was assigned to protect three Presidents, and also earned a Medal of Valor. She also was a crack polygraph examiner. The book is easy to read. The flow of the book is good, each chapter building on what you have learned in the previous. The author knows how to tell a good story, and to use the A very good read. Not at all like most of the self-help books you will read. No, this author has "walked the walk", so she has the experiences to back up her advice. A former US Secret Service officer, she was assigned to protect three Presidents, and also earned a Medal of Valor. She also was a crack polygraph examiner. The book is easy to read. The flow of the book is good, each chapter building on what you have learned in the previous. The author knows how to tell a good story, and to use the episode to illustrate a lesson she is trying to instill in the reader. And she summarizes each point well. Where I think the book really shines is in the second section, where she teaches you how to read people. People would be surprised, I believe, if they realized how much a polygraph reader learns about you before you are even hooked up to "the machine". The insights the author gives here are worth the read by themselves. As a retired law enforcement officer, I can acknowledge that her insights work well in reading people. I used many of them myself, but was also pleasantly surprised by reading several that I didn't know. These tips will help anyone in their personal as well as their professional life. Imagine being able to decipher what that teenage child of yours is really saying between their words. Or in reading a fellow employee's moods better. Or in understanding your boss better. Or being able to pick up on subtle clues when one of the former is lying to you. All of these tips can be applied to your own life! The author not only tells you how to better read others, she gives you advice on how people are reading you. How you can better present yourself to the boss, or a potential suitor. I learned several things in this part of the book. The author ends the book talking about "being Presidential". She illustrates things that impressed her about Presidents and First Ladies that she has been assigned to protect. No tawdry gossip, just things she observed that could help anyone be a better person. Finally, she wraps up the book with her advice on becoming "bulletproof". To be bulletproof is to find the strength to bear the unbearable. To face the worst honestly, humbly, and courageously. And her advice on heroism. "Heroism is quiet". It's not about being the biggest, baddest, or strongest. It's about realizing that when it comes right down to it, the person you have to rely on to protect you is you. "You are the hero you've been waiting for". I would recommend this book to anyone curious about others. Anyone who is interested in improving their own outlook on life, and willing to try to get there. Kudos to the author. And I really want to thank her for her service.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Linden

    The author, a long time Secret Service agent, has many suggestions for personal safety, such as know all of the entrances/exits when you go into a public place, and most importantly, trust your instinct if you feel a place or situation is unsafe. She points out that “bullies can be a deceptive friend, a manipulative supervisor, or a malicious family member” who look for people they think are easy targets. She doesn’t advise trying impressive kung fu moves, because “when you’re assaulted, your fi The author, a long time Secret Service agent, has many suggestions for personal safety, such as know all of the entrances/exits when you go into a public place, and most importantly, trust your instinct if you feel a place or situation is unsafe. She points out that “bullies can be a deceptive friend, a manipulative supervisor, or a malicious family member” who look for people they think are easy targets. She doesn’t advise trying impressive kung fu moves, because “when you’re assaulted, your fine motor skills go out the window.” Rather, “a violent strike to the groin, a swift kick to the shin, a hard punch to the throat, or jamming a finger in the eye” are better choices—“ to move and strike in such a way to shock the attacker and give [yourself] time to run.” She tells about some of her Secret Service assignments, and not only about administering polygraph tests, but also about becoming a “human lie detector” by using our powers of observation. She also recommends treating everyone with dignity and respect and trying to find common ground—a tactic that could be beneficial to many people today. Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the ARC. .

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sylvie

    I wanted to read this book after I saw Evy in an interview and I really liked her as a person. She is an inspirational speaker. I enjoyed the book. It's easy to read and it gives honest non-exaggerated examples from her vast experience. I could hear her voice behind each word. This qualifies as a self-help book which I rarely read as I do not believe in them. One man's formula will not necessarily work for the 2nd person. I read it like an autobiography (which I like more) than a self-help book. I wanted to read this book after I saw Evy in an interview and I really liked her as a person. She is an inspirational speaker. I enjoyed the book. It's easy to read and it gives honest non-exaggerated examples from her vast experience. I could hear her voice behind each word. This qualifies as a self-help book which I rarely read as I do not believe in them. One man's formula will not necessarily work for the 2nd person. I read it like an autobiography (which I like more) than a self-help book. There are some excellent points in there that I've highlighted in my copy. The apply to common sense, nothing out of the ordinary. You might know them all but not always keep them close to the action. I'll give it 3 stars because it was a light enjoyable reading for me but it did not bring huge value to me in terms of learning something new or change something in me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shikha Rawal

    I picked up this book after listening to Evy’s interview on impact theory. In the interview she came across as a woman who knows her stuff really well and someone who has had tough experiences in the FBI. Listening to her, I wanted to know more about her secret service role and some of near death expeditions. On completing the book, I can safely say that the book provides a general overview of the security measures that one should take for one’s protection. Also, the book details about body lang I picked up this book after listening to Evy’s interview on impact theory. In the interview she came across as a woman who knows her stuff really well and someone who has had tough experiences in the FBI. Listening to her, I wanted to know more about her secret service role and some of near death expeditions. On completing the book, I can safely say that the book provides a general overview of the security measures that one should take for one’s protection. Also, the book details about body language tactics but given that I have previously read several books on body language, I did not think the information was any different. Further, the book offers a sneak peak of the cases she has handled, including being a body guard for several former presidents of United States. At this point, the book was more a memoir where the author was being gratuitous for what she has learnt from these former presidents and their First Ladies - nothing for the readers to learn through stories. Lastly, the author has conducted several polygraph examinations and I thought here there will be things to learn but again the author does not divulge too much information or details and provides two case examples where she arrived at a conclusion different than her peers. There is nothing to learn from individualistic patterns that she learnt over the years. For all these reasons, I feel this book deserves 3/5. If it was more detailed, with more examples than this book would be further appreciated.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steven Stacy

    This book is really outstanding. It's so well written and thought out, as you would imagine from the author. This is not your typical "self help" book - this is from a very intelligent and strong person who has walked the walk. Evy shares personal experiences from her time as a USSS person, NYC cop, family experience's - all of which are so moving and interesting. She also shares really amazing, interesting information about changing your life for the better. This includes things like being an i This book is really outstanding. It's so well written and thought out, as you would imagine from the author. This is not your typical "self help" book - this is from a very intelligent and strong person who has walked the walk. Evy shares personal experiences from her time as a USSS person, NYC cop, family experience's - all of which are so moving and interesting. She also shares really amazing, interesting information about changing your life for the better. This includes things like being an individual, trusting your gut-Instinct, knowing your entry and exit of a building. Amazing Intel on how to read ppl and spot liars (from someone who ran a lie detector and has qualifications galore in body language, linguistics and "tells") This woman is so fascinating, & this is like a bible for living safely, happily and being kind to everyone. I lapped it up. I cannot recommend this book enough and I'd love to thank Evy for writing this book and sharing not only such invaluable, life saving information, but also her personal journey, which is just as fascinating. I loved this book so much, the quotes, the advice, everything. Thanks Evy! I've already started putting small changes into practice. Awesome, life changing read!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cari

    I am so thrilled that I came upon this book. As a vulnerable person with a lot of emotions, I am often searching for real-life tools that can help protect me both from myself and from the influence of others. Poumpouras was a Secret Service agent and has protected several U.S. presidents and first ladies. She details ways to read an emergency situation (describing in detail her experience on 9/11), how to be proactive about protecting your home, and how to read others and detect lies. In additio I am so thrilled that I came upon this book. As a vulnerable person with a lot of emotions, I am often searching for real-life tools that can help protect me both from myself and from the influence of others. Poumpouras was a Secret Service agent and has protected several U.S. presidents and first ladies. She details ways to read an emergency situation (describing in detail her experience on 9/11), how to be proactive about protecting your home, and how to read others and detect lies. In addition to security, she also talks about how to build rapport with others and to get people to like you (which is always appreciated!) Finally, Poumpouras shares what she has learned from the high-profile people she has worked for, which is a really cool insight into their lives. I will definitely refer back to this book time and again for reminders. A must-buy for library collections and for consumers. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the advanced copy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    3 Stars. I really like Evy Poumpouras as a person. I even liked hearing all her stories from being a police office to Secret Service and even on protecting the president! (The 9/11 story broke me.) ...however even though all of the information in this book is relevant and true. I already know most of this. The hard part is implementation. I admire her courage and perseverance. That is truly the only way of becoming “Bulletproof”. However I felt a little let down on the information for becoming “b 3 Stars. I really like Evy Poumpouras as a person. I even liked hearing all her stories from being a police office to Secret Service and even on protecting the president! (The 9/11 story broke me.) ...however even though all of the information in this book is relevant and true. I already know most of this. The hard part is implementation. I admire her courage and perseverance. That is truly the only way of becoming “Bulletproof”. However I felt a little let down on the information for becoming “bulletproof” myself.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Tiplady

    I appreciate this book. I'm glad she wrote it and I'm glad I read it. It's a very sincere book with useful ideas worth implementing for a regular person in the world as I'd describe myself. I wasn't looking for lessons on how to defend myself with moves and techniques or what type of weapons to get. I'm not a fearful person by nature so I wasn't looking to find ways to guard and defend myself and those I love from danger or "bad guys". I thought this book might lead to strengthening my demeanor I appreciate this book. I'm glad she wrote it and I'm glad I read it. It's a very sincere book with useful ideas worth implementing for a regular person in the world as I'd describe myself. I wasn't looking for lessons on how to defend myself with moves and techniques or what type of weapons to get. I'm not a fearful person by nature so I wasn't looking to find ways to guard and defend myself and those I love from danger or "bad guys". I thought this book might lead to strengthening my demeanor and resolve in stressful situations that sometimes occur when dealing--for whatever reason--with another person or persons. It has that. Also, it's good to know more about how to read people and how to use your natural intuition when dealing with anyone, whether close or just met. I only had a small problem with a tiny part of this book and I will probably sound prudish and uncool by saying it but I felt that her use of swearing in part of this book jolted me out of the flow. Don't get me wrong, I swear on a regular basis but I don't swear around anyone and everyone, especially people I don't know. Most of the fiction I read has at least some swearing in there and it's just fine. But I'm finding it intrusive when swear words are sprinkled in my non-fiction reading like they're just another descriptor. Because I like this author, I'm willing to concede it may be a cultural thing. I was raised in the "genteel" deep South and she grew up in Queens, New York, I don't know. Who knows, it may just be a thing that I have to get used to because it's here now and it ain't going away. If you are like me and the smallish amount of swearing bothers you (and it's the main or only thing that bothered you), please DO finish this book and read/hear what she says about the Presidents and First Ladies that she helped to protect during her service as a Secret Service agent. Also, don't skip the Conclusion. She is worth hearing out.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrienne

    I’ve been let down by other self-help books with superficial advice. This one is different. The author opens up her book with an account of her experience during the 9/11 attacks and it doesn’t lose its momentum. I loved this book. Forget about becoming fearless - this is about using fear! It is a realistic, action-oriented book that will get your brain working. There were plenty of a-ha moments for me. Thank you to the publisher for the advance copy!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andre-Louis

    "Power lives in the mind, but reality lives in the body." "Power lives in the mind, but reality lives in the body."

  12. 4 out of 5

    alonso cano

    The woman of my dreams Amazing . Resilient . Learned so many positive tactics on human behavior and psychology. Great read for those who are into human behavior studies

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Holt

    I had the pleasure of seeing Evy Poumpouras in January, when she spoke to a room of women's groups from companies across the Kansas City area. The amount of poise and power she exuded was breath-taking, and I knew I wanted to read her book when it came out. Becoming Bulletproof isn't like most books I read, which generally fall into the categories of Public Infrastructure, Politics, or Has Dragons In It. But it was punchy, well-paced, full of information, and honestly a pleasure to read. The mos I had the pleasure of seeing Evy Poumpouras in January, when she spoke to a room of women's groups from companies across the Kansas City area. The amount of poise and power she exuded was breath-taking, and I knew I wanted to read her book when it came out. Becoming Bulletproof isn't like most books I read, which generally fall into the categories of Public Infrastructure, Politics, or Has Dragons In It. But it was punchy, well-paced, full of information, and honestly a pleasure to read. The most important take-away for me really came at the end. That nothing you do will ever eliminate fear from your life. You'll always be afraid at times, and that's okay. But fear doesn't have to paralyze you. It doesn't have to mean you'll fail. You can embrace fear, and with the right mindset and planning, you can push past it. Whether it's taking a risk on a career move, public speaking, running a marathon, WHATEVER it is you fear-- you can control it, instead of letting it control you. I've found over the last several years that taking action in a bad situation always makes me feel less anxiety. Doesn't matter how small it is. If you can't stand our political system, you can't become a one-person crusade; but you CAN volunteer for a local candidate you like. If the pandemic has you afraid for your city's well-being, you can't force the virus out; but you CAN support local restaurants and donate to local charities. I'm feeling inspired and empowered by the messages in this book, which often read like a story. Poumpouras has a knack for words, and one of the most fascinating lives of anyone I've heard of. Definitely worth a read even just for her story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    beingCristina

    My actual rating is actually 6/5. For the 1st time out of my 300+ books read by far, this is the first one that I have vowed to re-read a specific book 3x before this year end (2020). The information is grand, well narrated, overflowing with intelligence, wisdom and wit. This book is going to stay in my re-reading list year after year to create a specific neurochemistry (wiring) in my brain that makes the memory imprinted (information) for a long while.

  15. 4 out of 5

    This Feral Housewife

    Not everyone is going to understand or appreciate this book. It’s more for people who already have a desire to understand people’s unspoken body language better.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Iria Garcia Lopez

    Nothing new in this book. Same old concept. Maybe a bit more entertaining than others of this genre because of her stories as secret agent.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Hard to rate - this reads as much, maybe more, like an autobiography as a self help book. Although there really was not a lot of new information here it was very readable and an excellent review of the things I did know. I am not always a fan of the self help genre, so very often it's like those magazine leaders "slash your spending and save!" which I eagerly open, only to see the list of savings includes things like cutting out expensive coffees, expanded cable, skipping eating lunch out, and o Hard to rate - this reads as much, maybe more, like an autobiography as a self help book. Although there really was not a lot of new information here it was very readable and an excellent review of the things I did know. I am not always a fan of the self help genre, so very often it's like those magazine leaders "slash your spending and save!" which I eagerly open, only to see the list of savings includes things like cutting out expensive coffees, expanded cable, skipping eating lunch out, and other items that have never been part of my budget in the first place. However, someone I know reviewed and rated this highly and having been through some mentally tough issues this year, even before the pandemic, I thought I'd take a swing and am glad I did. My top take aways - Be aware of your surroundings in all situations, restaurants, movie theaters, every where you go. This is tough for me, I am a grand one for putting the SUV on the game trail and arriving at my expected destination with little memory of how I got there. I especially appreciated her advice to know where the hospital, police station, etc are when traveling as I am wont to notice every single public library sign but pay no attention whatsoever to those hospital signs. Be an active listener. My 9th grade English teacher once used me as the example for loquacious on our vocab/spelling test. Need I say more? As to knowing if someone is telling the truth or lying, be an active and observant listener - the most important thing is the deviation from the subject's norm. This was fascinating to me and rang true, after reading Malcom Gladwell's book Talking to Strangers and learning that overall most people do not accurately read people -- even people they know. Be mindful of how you present yourself. If you are nervous about public speaking or interviewing, practice. And get feedback so you can know if your are presenting yourself the way you want to or if what you are saying isn't lining up with what you are presenting. Don't take things personally. Even when they are personal. Listen and learn. Active listening cannot be stressed enough - be empathetic, observant, make connections, ask open ended questions, then shut up already and listen. Perhaps a soft 4, but worth the time and I will keep my copy to review again when 2020, the year of all things crazy, has passed.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jin Rhee

    When my best friend sent me a YouTube video about an interview with Evy Poumpouras, a secret service agent from the US, I didn’t expect much. But soon after I found myself intrigued and fascinated by her stories and her character. „She is fierce!“ is what I thought. „Badass“, and such an inspiration. After watching the video, we found out that she will release a book about her experiences in the service, so we knew we have to read it. This book was very fascinating. Her experiences are unique and When my best friend sent me a YouTube video about an interview with Evy Poumpouras, a secret service agent from the US, I didn’t expect much. But soon after I found myself intrigued and fascinated by her stories and her character. „She is fierce!“ is what I thought. „Badass“, and such an inspiration. After watching the video, we found out that she will release a book about her experiences in the service, so we knew we have to read it. This book was very fascinating. Her experiences are unique and authentic, which made this book a great read. I found this book especially great during the corona crisis. It helped me to stay sane and think about all the aspects of my life that I’d like to "bulletproof". Her background as an agent made this book so much better than conventional, profit oriented, "self-help" books that lack in content (which I despise!). Beyond my expectations, this book was written beautifully. It was very easy to read, witty and well thought-out. She shared so much wisdom; I’m happy that I read this book. My favorite part in this book was when she talked about her learnings from the presidents and First Ladies she‘d protected. She assigned each person to one of the 12 virtues. Reading about their generosity, grace, fortitude and magnanimity (and more!) was so beautiful. I even teared up. Such characteristics have become quite rare nowadays. It’s nice to discover people that show the beauty of humanity.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    A must-read book! Especially for women. Poumpouras shares a perfect mix of advice on becoming physically and mentally “bulletproof”, including an excellent section on communication skills (active listening). The stories and examples she weaves into the book make this a very enjoyable, sometimes gripping read. Having worked in a security-related job years ago, I was familiar with a lot of the information in this book, but much of it was a great reminder to me, since I’ve not had to use the techni A must-read book! Especially for women. Poumpouras shares a perfect mix of advice on becoming physically and mentally “bulletproof”, including an excellent section on communication skills (active listening). The stories and examples she weaves into the book make this a very enjoyable, sometimes gripping read. Having worked in a security-related job years ago, I was familiar with a lot of the information in this book, but much of it was a great reminder to me, since I’ve not had to use the techniques in this book since I’ve moved to Japan, a relatively safe country. The very sad part about this book is how incredibly in need Americans are for the information and practices offered in this amazing book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Breanne Brocker

    I really enjoyed this book! The author, a former Secret Service Agent, wrote about a lot of first hand experiences with dangerous situations and how she handled them/was trained to handle them. She also offered tips on handling fear and how to make yourself safer in everyday situations. However, I don't think you need to necessarily be looking for ways to improve your safety to enjoy this book, her stories alone are enough to keep you reading. I really enjoyed this book! The author, a former Secret Service Agent, wrote about a lot of first hand experiences with dangerous situations and how she handled them/was trained to handle them. She also offered tips on handling fear and how to make yourself safer in everyday situations. However, I don't think you need to necessarily be looking for ways to improve your safety to enjoy this book, her stories alone are enough to keep you reading.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    I really enjoyed the audio book. I felt her information was insightful, and her stories fascinating. It is definitely something I will want to read again later. Totally recommend to anyone feeling like they need a reality check, but also a pick me up.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ronza Zahran

    I kind of screamed it from rooftops; The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Laroux is by far the most compelling fiction book I have ever read... it literally took me more than year afterwards to be able to begin with another! In the past year though, as a kind of self- challenge, I decided to dive into the world of non-fiction genre, and being totally uninformed in the field, I would go and ask around for advice with where to look for a good material. I have read some lately, mostly in the psychologi I kind of screamed it from rooftops; The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Laroux is by far the most compelling fiction book I have ever read... it literally took me more than year afterwards to be able to begin with another! In the past year though, as a kind of self- challenge, I decided to dive into the world of non-fiction genre, and being totally uninformed in the field, I would go and ask around for advice with where to look for a good material. I have read some lately, mostly in the psychological realm, and it would take me long months to get through with one book. Insightful? Sure, but were they practical enough in my sense? Hmmm, not exactly! Until, My sister asked me to get her a certain book she couldn’t find in bookstores (she was living in EU then)... and I know my sister’s taste in reading is way much different than myself. “Becoming Bulletproof” by Evy Poumpouras. This book became my non-fiction PoO! I googled the book only to find out it is yet to be launched in mid-April, and so I pre-ordered it. When it arrived, the cover was so graphically inviting to me (being an architect, graphical presentation is crucial) and as I curiously flipped through the pages, I realize that I had actually read the first chapter! What a book! What a substance! A title true to its contents! A former US Secret Service agent Evy Poumpouras gives you the real deal to becoming bulletproof in the most unexpected and practical ways possible. She doesn’t preach nor gives out a scientific equation to building a resilient character from the inside, rather, she simply shows the tools to refine the qualities we are born with and fortify them for the sake of growing true ourselves and what we are made of ,as much as for other people’s sake. The language is smooth and straightforward and it is laid down in a way that draws you to eagerly flip to the next page, while making sure with every line you read, there is a lesson you can easily store for later or even put into direct action! I truly appreciated how she never attempted to underestimate the emotional factor while building up resilience as she never attempted to paint a heroic picture of herself...this book is about humans doing their best in the face of day-to-day challenges! Interestingly enough, and stemming from her career experience, the last chapter she kept to talk about the US Presidents she had worked with; laying out the other face the world don’t see due to the position they hold. Away from their political representation, and for us as non-Americans, who might have controversial views regarding the Global politics of the United States of America, but the author was successful in showing the humans that they are, which I found to be smart and genuine; her message was not to draw them further fame or get the world to show them compassion, but it was deeper in the sense that she tried to reflect on the inner powers that makes a true leader, the qualities of an honorable person away from the ego that could easily cloud any person’s vision in such high positions. She was telling each and every one of her readers that they are leaders and heros in their own ways and their own contexts. Further, her pulling a connection between world class figures and the public as human beings is a calling for all of us to take a second to deeply look through and beyond the fascia we work hard to create and perfect: - To touch base with our common grounds as human beings, and stay “anchored” to our humanity first and foremost. - Embrace our inner fears as motivations to push forward. - Become our own heros. This book is simply all the ingredients you need to “Become Bulletproof”

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bumyong Choi

    Inspiring and informative but the "protecting yourself" part seems a bit disconnected from the reality. I would have loved it if the author spent more time on "reading people". Inspiring and informative but the "protecting yourself" part seems a bit disconnected from the reality. I would have loved it if the author spent more time on "reading people".

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Eberhardt

    Fantastic I don’t ever read non fiction, but I couldn’t put this book down. It gave me a different perspective, a new outlook. I enjoyed all of it. Thank you Evy!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michele Hendricks

    This is an amazing book. I can’t say enough good things about it. The life lessons and experiences the author brings is truly inspirational. Ms. Poumpouras has led an incredible life and she has taken all the goals she made a reality and teaches you how to believe in yourself to realize that you too can be whatever you want with hard work and determination. Ms. Poumpouras is a true rockstar!!!!!!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Suzi

    Interesting -- and flattering -- takes on Presidents and First Ladies she has worked for. I am old and retired , in Florida, no less, but I could have used this years ago.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    something about this woman rubs me the wrong way. there’s something about her that seems disingenuous. in fact, she actually reminds me of someone i knew who was a raging covert narcissist. but still and all, she’s compelling as hell. so was the narcissist. anyway, i bought her book. i’ve seen her ted talk and a few videos of her on youtube demonstrating self defense techniques and strategies. i also saw a fairly long interview she did where she talked about how to manipulate people to get what something about this woman rubs me the wrong way. there’s something about her that seems disingenuous. in fact, she actually reminds me of someone i knew who was a raging covert narcissist. but still and all, she’s compelling as hell. so was the narcissist. anyway, i bought her book. i’ve seen her ted talk and a few videos of her on youtube demonstrating self defense techniques and strategies. i also saw a fairly long interview she did where she talked about how to manipulate people to get what you want from them, etc etc. 😶 so anyway the book was okay. nothing too impressive. to be honest, i kind of wanted a book about her life and experiences. and while there are certain experiences as an agent she does talk about in here, this was more of a self help book. which was okay, just not something i typically find interesting. i also kind of find it disturbing that she feels the need to detail how to manipulate people to get what you want. how is that becoming “bulletproof?” like, i totally understand trying subtle things to make things go in your favor but she takes it kind of far. “i know that when i’m able to forge an easy connection with someone sitting across from me, they will be more receptive to my needs. you want to be able to get into people’s heads and hearts, to get them to see that you understand where they’re coming from. once you’re able to get beyond their barriers and throw off their defenses, people will reveal themselves to you in ways that they normally wouldn’t to anyone.” i totally understand why tactics like that are helpful during interrogations but i mean.. being that this book is written for civilians, what is her end game? like, why are you telling us this? she then goes on to talk about mirroring, which when it happens naturally is great but when someone does it on purpose, is quick frankly psychopathic. she talks about how to “prime” people to get what you want from them and even things like how far or close you should stand to make someone more comfortable with you so that you can manipulate them it’s like whoa bitch. not my cuppa.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mercedes

    The book was informative and well narrated. Made me question a lot of thing in my environment.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Probably knowing that some would challenge her place writing such a book Eva Poumpouras firmly stakes her right by recounting her experiences on 9/11 escaping the second tower and participating in the immediate aid relief. Drawing on her years as a part of the US Secret Service, Poumpouras provides practical advice on how to keep yourself safe at home and while traveling, how to read people to detect lying, and small ways of influence. Much of the protect yourself section vacillated between very Probably knowing that some would challenge her place writing such a book Eva Poumpouras firmly stakes her right by recounting her experiences on 9/11 escaping the second tower and participating in the immediate aid relief. Drawing on her years as a part of the US Secret Service, Poumpouras provides practical advice on how to keep yourself safe at home and while traveling, how to read people to detect lying, and small ways of influence. Much of the protect yourself section vacillated between very practical situational awareness advice and things I think are rather overthetop and too impractical for the majority of people to do. By gradually exposing oneself to greater degrees of stress you can better handle stress, accurately judge your 3 F response (Fight, Flight, or Freeze), and respond more appropriately in emergency situations. It should also mentally prepare you more to cope with stressful situations and have faster recovery from trauma. I'm not certain you can learn how to detect lying through a section of a book but the main part I took away from that is to observe carefully and watch for patterns of behaviour or speech and then mark when those patterns are disrupted. Definitely something that would take practice to accomplish. I think the bits about interviews are also helpful. The influence section had a little too much 'influence isn't manipulation' insistence that made me think the lady doth protest too much. I would be interested to read more about whether such little things actually have that big of an influence over our thoughts and behaviour. I've been thinking of taking up Muay Thai for a while now and the book definitely reminded me that I need to make it a priority once gyms open back up again. The audiobook has little additional snippets in a podcast style interview/discussion with the author and her husband who has very similar training and profession. I did like these bits and they added the listening experience. They did record those parts during the COVID-19 pandemic and like everything I have been reading my experience and thoughts while reading are crowded by how that will have an effect on the aspects going forward. For instance in the the lying section, do law enforcement conduct interrogations/ interviews with masks on? How useful is only half a face? The sections on proximity in influence, when she was saying that you should move within 4ft to put yourself in the person's friendship proximity bubble that has drastically changed now. I did enjoy the sections about the main 'mentor'-type personality aspects she learned from the presidents and first ladies that she protected and what it means to be presidential (she never mentioned 45 but he very obviously lacks all qualities she highlights). The epilogue almost made me cry. There really is no such thing as being fearless.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I first came across Evy Poumpouras on the Women of Impact podcast. I enjoyed her interview and looked forward to the future episodes Lisa did with her. I wasn't sure if I would pick up her book but I was impressed. It was unusual to hear about a female secret service agent and I wanted to know more. Yay for female power! She was beautiful and so confident. I was curious to learn more about what advice she had to impart. I usually find non-fiction hard to read because the author's voice and writing I first came across Evy Poumpouras on the Women of Impact podcast. I enjoyed her interview and looked forward to the future episodes Lisa did with her. I wasn't sure if I would pick up her book but I was impressed. It was unusual to hear about a female secret service agent and I wanted to know more. Yay for female power! She was beautiful and so confident. I was curious to learn more about what advice she had to impart. I usually find non-fiction hard to read because the author's voice and writing just did not resonate with me. Or I could not relate to what they were describing. More so for an ebook because I often find it harder to read than a physical book. But I found that her writing was compelling. My gosh, that opening chapter of 9-11 tore me up and made me feel so sad. How did she not break? As I was reading through the chapters on a safety plan, I felt some Doomsday Prepper feels but generally her advice seemed useful. Though most of us would not bother when it is not a crisis or bad moment. She went in depth into what you need to secure your house even talking about details like glass type, parts of your front door and open windows. I liked that her writing and voice did not sound preachy or annoying. She admits when she could be wrong and seems open to accepting a different outcome. I like the little pictures of her in some sections where she wants to illustrate expressions and gestures. I liked how she dove into the mind side such as influence, integrity and subtle cues to observe about a person. What she imparted was surprisingly simple and not what I would have expected from a Secret Service Agent or Law Enforcement Officer. I guess the media has influenced me alot. You would probably have heard of these tactics if you read books like Chris Voss's Never Split the Difference or books on selling. I found myself nodding when she mentioned how we put our trust into people we see as experts like doctors and financial advisers. She addressed how we are our own worst critic and how it is human to be liked. Go on, girl. I was fascinated by her journey, what was training for the secret service like? or NYPD, what about being a polygraph specialist? She shares about her experience in these areas. I thought it was awesome how she talks about setting time for yourself to be alone and what she learnt from guarding the Presidents and First Ladies. it made me see their lives in a different light. It sounded exhausting. What impacted me the most was her message to take ownership or your choices and actions. Great book that I may buy.

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