“Fear is like fire, if you extinguish it while it’s small, it won’t become an inferno.” ―
Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, and Live Fearlessly is nonfiction piece by former secret service agent Evy Poumpouras. In the book, she shares lessons learned from protecting presidents, as well as 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 has a very interesting prologue and sucks you right in. In the prologue, Poumpouras shares her experience as an agent from one of the most horrific events in human history, the September 11 attacks, and how different the world became and how we were introduced to the massive amount of new fears.
In this book, Poumporas shares how to learn about your fears and how to become harder to stop and handle any adversaries that come your way.
The book consists of three parts. The first part of the book is called protection and it discusses what is fear, how to harness fear, and how to build mental resilience so you are able to handle hard scenarios in life. Poumporas also shares advice that she has learned in secret service. It is not just about strengthening your mindset but also about thinking about the daily situations you face. Assessing risks when you go to movies or concerts and checking what are your escape routes in case of an emergency as well as reading through travel advisories by your embassy before you travel to a country you have never traveled before. It also gives you insight on what statistically makes you at higher risk to become a victim and how you should build physical strength so you are able to defend yourself and those you care about.
“Because, without being told, they already knew that when it seems like the world is ending, being willing to help others is the antidote to fear. And that is the first step toward becoming bulletproof.”
The second part of the book focuses on reading people. Poumpouras covers her own experience in interrogating and questioning people as well as how lie detector machines actually work. How people can react differently and have different body language and facial expressions in different situations. This is also why she says it is so important to establish a baseline of what is normal for the person and what then seems odd.
The third and final part of the book covers influence. For example, Poumpouras started later applied for a role in media. She was not accepted and was told that her voice is too soft and her demeanour is meek. This was an absurd thought for the author and for me as well as a reader. How can a secret service agent appear meek? In this part, Poumpouras covers how she had to change her voice and body language for the new job. She also shares advice on how you can do it and command respect and influence people as well as recognize when other people are influencing you.
“I wasn’t unstoppable, but I was harder to stop.”
I really enjoyed this book. A lot to learn and I want to read this book again. I think what made this book so effective for me was how Poumpouras shares a lot of her own experiences and it makes it easier to remember this advice through the examples. I also liked the structure of the book. Starting from how to protect yourself physically and mentally and then continuing to more external aspects of people around you and reading them and then also influencing other people. I bought this book on Audible and the author reads it herself so that was a great listening experience. I warmly recommend this book.
How-To Read Becoming Bulletproof
1. If you love audiobooks, then I really recommend Audible edition of this book as it is read by Poumpouras herself.
2. A great self-help book /memoir that draws a lot from Poumpouras´ own experience and it makes it easier to learn through examples from real-life scenarios. Moreover, it is not every day that you get such a treat to read something from an ex-secret service. Also how often do they even share their experience?
3. At least where I live, there are still heavy lockdown regulations. Parts of this book were written during just a few months back at the start of this pandemic so it gave me a feeling of how we are all in this together and gave me a mood boost and made me feel a bit less lonely (and obviously better equipped to handle these emotions)
What are you reading? Have you read this? Thoughts?