The New York Times bestseller that reveals the safety, security, and survival techniques that 99% of Americans don’t know—but should
When Jason Hanson joined the CIA in 2003, he never imagined that the same tactics he used as a CIA officer for counter intelligence, surveillance, and protecting agency personnel would prove to be essential in every day civilian life.
In addition to escaping handcuffs, picking locks, and spotting when someone is telling a lie, he can improvise a self-defense weapon, pack a perfect emergency kit, and disappear off the grid if necessary. He has also honed his “positive awareness”—a heightened sense of his surroundings that allows him to spot suspicious and potentially dangerous behavior—on the street, in a taxi, at the airport, when dining out, or in any other situation.
In his engaging and empowering book Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life, Jason shares this know-how with readers, revealing how to:
• prevent home invasions, carjackings, muggings, and other violent crimes
• run counter-surveillance and avoid becoming a soft target
• recognize common scams at home and abroad
• become a human lie detector in any setting, including business negotiations
• gain peace of mind by being prepared for anything instead of uninformed or afraid
With the skill of a trained operative and the relatability of a suburban dad, Jason Hanson brings his top-level training to everyday Americans in this must-have guide to staying safe in an increasingly dangerous world.
|Publisher:||Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Jason Hanson is a former CIA officer, security specialist, winner of ABC’s reality show Shark Tank, and the author of Agent of Influence, the New York Times bestseller Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life, and Survive Like a Spy. He teaches everyday citizens to defend themselves at his Spy Escape and Evasion school. Hanson has been interviewed by major media outlets for his security expertise including, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News and The Huffington Post. He currently lives in Cedar City, Utah, with his family.
Read an Excerpt
You’re about to acquire some exciting new skills. After reading this book, you’ll know how to escape quickly out of duct tape and rope and will know how to tell if someone is lying to you or trying to social engineer you into an unwelcome situation. That being said, the skills you’re about to learn need to be accompanied by something equally important—what I call survival intelligence. In short, survival intelligence involves having the confidence to know that you can respond appropriately in any emergency situation. You can react quickly and smartly during a crisis using the tools you have on hand. You’re prepared and know you can provide for your family’s safety. Because I feel survival intelligence is as important as the skills I’m about to teach you, I’ve created seven easy-to-follow rules to help you achieve and maintain it. Following these rules will put you in the best position possible to protect yourself and your family.
Throughout the book, you’ll be reminded of the importance of these rules, and it’s my belief that actively following them can mean the difference between staying safe and facing a tragedy. You’ll also note that I’ve used stories from all over the world to demonstrate how my various tactics can be used. While reading about tragedies or near tragedies that have taken place, you may find yourself wondering, “What were they thinking?” Or “How did they not see that coming?” It’s my hope that by following a few critical rules, you and your family will never be in a position where you’re asking yourself, “How did we not see that?” but will instead be empowered to act quickly and appropriately in any dangerous situation that comes your way.
Rule 1: Practice Adaptability
Life is rarely completely cut and dry. My intelligence training has taught me that while knowing what to do in emergency situations is important, ultimately it’s being adaptable that can save you. As you learn various skills throughout the book, keep in mind that it’s your ability to put them into practice in unexpected situations that can make the biggest difference. Life doesn’t always go as planned, and it’s crucial to be ready to tackle what it throws at you with the tools you have on hand. The best part about this rule is that it isn’t hard to practice. You’ll see that while being a fast, strong, powerful person is great, there’s a limit to how helpful this can be if you’re unable to adapt to a new and potentially threatening situation. Make a point of cultivating adaptability whenever you can.
Rule 2: Be Self-Reliant
I’m a big believer in self-reliance. I simply don’t want to depend on someone else to take care of my family or myself. I think self-reliance and personal responsibility are to be valued. This goes beyond personal philosophy. Throughout the course of this book you’re going to be reading about some situations that ended tragically, and unnecessarily so, often due, at least in part, to a lack of self-reliance. It is my hope that everyone who reads this book will see the importance of being able to act for himself or herself in an emergency situation. I believe it is crucial to have both the tools on hand and the ability to act to save yourself if necessary. Our country has faced some challenging times that have tested the self-reliance of many people. For example, terrorist attacks and natural disasters have resulted in many people realizing they must fend for themselves in the aftermath of a crisis. As you’ll see in this book, some people were more prepared to do this than others.
Self-Reliance = Helping Others
Make no mistake. While I believe self-reliance is a key trait when it comes to survival, there’s another reason it’s valuable. When we learn to be self-reliant, we put ourselves in a position to help others. It is my hope that after reading this book, the skills I’m going to teach you combined with a strong sense of self-reliance will put you in a stronger position to be useful to others in an emergency situation.
Rule 3: Don’t Be a Hero
Let me be clear. The rule about not being a hero isn’t about not taking action and isn’t about not being a valued, helpful member of society. This rule is about being a bigger person and having the good sense to walk away from a potential confrontation—even if there is a part of you that doesn’t want to. Trust me, I know how hard this can be. I was running early one morning in Baltimore, Maryland, toward the inner harbor. I noticed two guys on the sidewalk ahead of me. I was in my jogging clothes, and they were fully dressed walking around at 6 a.m., which is a bit unusual. As I ran toward them, I saw them look at each other and then spread apart, creating a situation in which I’d have to run between the two of them. Once I was between them, who knows what they were going to do. I decided to play it safe: run across the street, making sure to give them eye contact and let them know I’m paying attention. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe they had six friends around the corner and they were going to rob me. My main point is that I didn’t let my ego get in the way; I didn’t feel a need to prove myself by running between them (although you’ll soon learn why my decision to give them eye contact was important) and risk a potentially dangerous situation.
In another instance, a drunken idiot came out of a gas station and gave me the bird and started telling me off. Turns out, he thought I was someone he knew who had the same car. My response? “No problem. Don’t worry about it.” I might have wanted to tell this guy off , but I have the sense to know that it’s simply not worth it.
I can tell you that the toughest, most highly skilled guys I met while in the CIA were also the quietest. They were confident in their abilities and didn’t need to go around boasting about their skills. I’m smart enough to know that it’s best to avoid escalation. I don’t need to put myself at risk of meeting that one guy who has better skills than I do or someone who happens to get lucky that day. Feel empowered by the skills you have, and the ones I’m going to teach you, but be smart about when you use them.
Rule 4: Movement Saves Lives
This is not the only time you’re going to hear me say this: Movement saves lives. As you read about various situations people have been faced with throughout the book, you’ll see that it’s those who move are the ones who survive. This is also known as getting off of the X. The concept works in a couple of ways, and I’ll outline how to handle various scenarios in greater detail in later chapters. To give you the basic idea, think about it this way. If someone comes at you with a knife, you have a couple of immediate choices—you can move out of the way or you can get stabbed. I’m obviously simplifying the situation, but I want you to see that moving when threatened needs to be your first priority. This concept works in other ways too—for example, you may be surprised to learn that many people often survive the impact of a plane crash, but then die from inhaling the toxic smoke. Some people are so shocked by the crash that they can’t even manage to unbuckle their seat belts, and they die as a result. The people who aren’t killed on impact and make it out alive are the ones who get out of their seats and move. They don’t freeze. They unbuckle their seat belts and quickly get themselves out of danger. You simply want to remember that in any threatening situation—whether it’s a hurricane, a plane crash, or terrorist attack—movement saves lives.
Rule 5: Perception Is Everything
One of the best things about sharing my spy secrets is that some of them are so simple and easy to execute that you can basically put the book down and make a potentially life-saving change in just seconds. This is because perception is important, and I’m going to teach you about the various actions you can take to give off a particular perception—whether it’s that you’re not a person to be messed with and criminals should stay away or that your house is the one house on the block that a criminal shouldn’t dare try to rob. To properly execute the physical and psychological tricks I’m going to show you in this book, you need to start being aware of the perceptions both you and others give off . Ask yourself the following questions: Do I look like a person who would be an easy victim? Does my house appear uninhabited? Am I walking with confidence? What about those around you? Is the person sitting next to you in a restaurant acting suspiciously? Are you being followed by the man who you just passed in the grocery store? Learning to be aware of perceptions can play a key role in remaining safe.
Rule 6: Notice Baselines
Being aware of baselines, or what’s normal, is a key concept in most intelligence work. You simply can’t know if you’re about to walk into an unsafe situation unless you’re familiar with what’s normal for a particular place. Is this street always so crowded? Is the noise level I’m hearing normal? Or has something happened? If you’re not acutely familiar with the baseline of your home, your neighborhood, and your place of employment, you will not be properly equipped to know if you are about to be in harm’s way and need to take immediate action. Being able to establish a baseline is a key component for any intelligence work, and I’m going to show how to do this in detail.
Rule 7: Practice Situational Awareness at All Times
This final rule is the cornerstone of my philosophy. No amount of training can keep you safe if you do not practice situational awareness. I feel so strongly about this that I dedicated an entire chapter of this book to practicing situational awareness, and I maintain that my ability to remain situationally aware is the most important thing I learned while in the CIA. The bottom line is that that nothing I teach you can keep you safe if you’re not aware of what’s happening around you. If your nose is buried in your smartphone or you’re having a distracting conversation while walking down the street, my tactics for knowing if you’re being followed, for example, aren’t going to work. Again, you’re going to be reading about some senseless tragedies that could have been prevented if situational awareness had been practiced. You’ll see that I’m not promoting paranoia—just a healthy sense of what’s happening around you. Situational awareness is what enables you to get off the X before you’re attacked or to cross the street before you’re mugged. It takes practice and some dedication, but it’s doable, and it may save your life.
A Safer, Happier Life
My mission in writing Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life and starting the Spy Escape and Evasion training school is to help people live a safer and happier life. These seven rules we’ve just touched upon, combined with the arsenal of self-defense tactics you’re about to learn, will help quell your anxiety. We’re living in frightening and unpredictable times, but I believe you should not live in fear. Knowledge, skill, and awareness will give you peace of mind that you can handle any event that might arise.
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