By Phil Klutts
February 14, 2023

Becoming Bulletproof

Evy Poumpouras uses her experience as a former U.S. Secret Service agent to teach about bravery in her book "Becoming Bulletproof."
(Photo: Brent Fuchs)

By Evy Poumpouras

I picked up “Becoming Bulletproof” by Evy Poumpouras to read over Christmas and New Year’s break. Actually, I downloaded the audiobook and then bought the hardback. I am usually drawn to books that are read by the author, as you get a sense of meaning and extra tidbits not always shared by a professional narrator or in the published print version. “Becoming Bulletproof” is no different. Poumpouras includes a few interview segments between her and her husband explaining and expanding on some of the subjects in the book.

Part of the appeal of this book is the perspective from which Poumpouras comes. I do not imagine a Greek female (with a New York accent) when I think about Secret Service agents. Admittedly, I think of a middle-aged white guy: like Harrison Ford or Gerard Butler or the guy who lived across the street from my friend in Tulsa (one of the few Secret Service agents I’ve met in real life). Taking in a different perspective and learning from someone not like me is valuable to learning and growing.

Poumpouras shares several valuable perspectives on her process to become an agent and the situations she faced during her career as a female agent. Many of these perspectives and learning are normal for law enforcement officers, military personnel, and people like me who want to learn human behavior, and psychology, and improve how we interact with others. But the unique view from a successful female’s story is beneficial, even if the research is the same or similar to what you’ve read before, like Victor Frankel or the F3 response, among others.

“Becoming Bulletproof” is divided into three parts: Protection, Reading People, and Influence. Each part contains several chapters with relevant stories from protecting presidential daughter Barabara Bush to conducting lie-detector tests on suspects. Each section includes practical advice on living and traveling safely, tips on how to know if someone is lying to you, and how to command respect from others.

Something you might have heard before is to ask open-ended questions instead of closed-ended questions. Open-ended questions are ones that can be answered freely with longer, personalized answers. Closed-ended questions can be answered with one word, such as “yes” or “no.” Poumpouras explains how using open-ended questions is best to start a conversation, but closed-ended questions can be beneficial towards the end. She writes, “It’s only later in the conversation when you want to know specific information that you should start asking closed-ended questions.” She also shares a helpful acronym for remembering open-ended questions, TED. TED stands for:
Tell: ‘Tell me how your day was.”
Explain: “Explain to me what happened.”
Describe: “Describe your meeting with your boss.”

The best takeaway from “Becoming Bulletproof” is the final chapter, entitled “Being Presidential.” Poumpouras shares characteristics and stories of what she learned while protecting the most powerful men in the world. The personal insights are fun to read, but the best learning is implied and deeply impactful. Poumpouras learned and shared from presidents and first ladies on both sides of the political spectrum: Bill and Hillary Clinton; George H.W. Bush; George W. and Laura Bush; and Barack and Michelle Obama. She shows no political divide in a world that is increasingly polarizing and conflicting. She protected, respected, and learned from all. We can learn, admire, and respect others no matter if we disagree on politics, views, or opinions.

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About Phil Klutts

Phil is an Edmond native and has managed to keep his wife here instead of traveling the world, which they both enjoy. They have two boys who love the outdoors, adventures, and learning new things. Phil is a problem-solver at heart and enjoys connecting people to the resources they need.

In addition to being the co-owner of Edmond Business, Phil founded the CK Group LLC after working for large and small businesses in the Energy, Construction, and Fitness industries. He focuses on helping small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their systems and processes. CK Group LLC's mission is to eliminate chaos and create clarity for small business by connecting vision, strategy, and implementation.