‘Becoming Bulletproof' worth a shot for business readers (Biz & Books review)

Every schedule, every plan you made in February was shot.

March began, and in about three weeks' time, life changed in big ways and small, calendars were tossed, and things got scary. Maybe they still are. So how did you deal with the virus, its impacts, its unknowns, and what will you do if it recurs? In “Becoming Bulletproof” by Evy Poumpouras, there may be many distinct answers to that question.

“Becoming Bulletproof” offers lessons on overcoming adversity, writes Terri Schlichenmeyer.

Five months after joining the NYPD at the age of twenty-three, Poumpouras received a “conditional offer of employment” with the Secret Service. By the time the offer arrived, she was physically fit, emotionally ready for challenge, and had learned a lot about herself and others — which was a good thing, since this wasn't long before Sept. 11, 2001.

That day, she helped others and received a commendation for it, though she was reluctant to get the kudos. Helping was her job and, she says, “being willing to help … is the first step toward becoming bulletproof.”

The second step is knowing your adversity reaction, or your “F3.” Do you Fight, Flee or Freeze when disaster happens? Knowing your automatic response will let you harness your fears and give you a split-second chance to decide on the validity of instantaneous reactions.

In decision-making, knowing your F3 will help you recognize which kind of regret you fear that's keeping you from making an hard-to-decide choice. Your F3 will also help you to “prepare your mental armor,” which you'll want to do soon, to give yourself more control over any sort of adversity you might face.

“Fear is like fire,” Poumpouras says. “If you extinguish it while it's small, it won't become an inferno.”

Once you know how to handle your fear and your reactions to it, then “become a Human Lie Detector” by knowing exactly how to read people. That's also a good time to know how to present yourself, to keep others from reading you...

For the last few weeks, you've used books to distract you, and there's nothing like a good spy story for that. Nothing, except maybe a thrilling and true story that'll help you survive crisis and calamity. Nothing that's all cloak-and-daggerish, though; no, maybe something like “Becoming Bulletproof.”

You'll like this: Poumpouras uses brutal, serious honesty generously tinged with spirit, humor, and confidence in a personal look at the hard road that leads to one of the most elite organizations in this nation, and how she traveled it.

That's impressively fascinating but not a distraction: Poumpouras returns to the meat of her book again and again, never letting readers lose focus on the reason for it, which is how to gain resilience and control. Don't be surprised, then, if you find latent superpowers, or you suddenly feel ten feet tall.

This book will appeal to lovers of espionage, business readers and, because of her work with the Secret Service, to presidential history buffs. Or if you're just up for an action-packed, informational, steely-eyed read, give “Becoming Bulletproof” a shot.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is the reviewer behind “The Bookworm Sez,” a self-syndicated book review column published in more than 260 newspapers and magazines in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. She can be reached for feedback, ideas and links to reviews of books on a broad range topics at bookwormsez.com.


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