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Agent of Influence: How to Use Spy Skills to Persuade Anyone, Sell Anything, and Build a Successful Business

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Discover how to use proven spy techniques to bolster your business strategies-from self-advocation to selling to interviewing-and ultimately make more money with this unique guide from the winner of Shark Tank and bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. Spies communicate in code and employ a range of techniques to survive in diverse environments. But to b Discover how to use proven spy techniques to bolster your business strategies-from self-advocation to selling to interviewing-and ultimately make more money with this unique guide from the winner of Shark Tank and bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. Spies communicate in code and employ a range of techniques to survive in diverse environments. But to be effective they must be business savvy-they must know how to successfully persuade others. In fact, intelligence agents are among the best salesmen in the world. Whether we realize it or not, each one of us is a salesman. Every day, you sell yourself-your talents, your value, and your ideas to colleagues, to friends, and even to your partner. At the office you maneuver in code to receive a promotion, a higher salary, professional recognition. Now, you can learn to sell yourself even better. In Agent of Influence, Jason Hanson, a former CIA special agent and founder of Spy Escape School, reveals how anyone can use spy tactics for increased success, from learning how to strategically plan your day to mastering the steps you'll need to embrace challenges and set achievable, personal goals. He teaches you how to develop a winning sales personality and target the perfect business opportunity using the SADR cycle-spotting, assessing, developing, and recruiting. With this invaluable and unique handbook, you will become a more productive, confidant professional or entrepreneur. In our evolving age of entrepreneurships, corporate careers, and self-run businesses, Jason's message will appeal to those looking for a competitive leg up, and who entrust the insider secrets of spy practice to take them there.


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Discover how to use proven spy techniques to bolster your business strategies-from self-advocation to selling to interviewing-and ultimately make more money with this unique guide from the winner of Shark Tank and bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. Spies communicate in code and employ a range of techniques to survive in diverse environments. But to b Discover how to use proven spy techniques to bolster your business strategies-from self-advocation to selling to interviewing-and ultimately make more money with this unique guide from the winner of Shark Tank and bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. Spies communicate in code and employ a range of techniques to survive in diverse environments. But to be effective they must be business savvy-they must know how to successfully persuade others. In fact, intelligence agents are among the best salesmen in the world. Whether we realize it or not, each one of us is a salesman. Every day, you sell yourself-your talents, your value, and your ideas to colleagues, to friends, and even to your partner. At the office you maneuver in code to receive a promotion, a higher salary, professional recognition. Now, you can learn to sell yourself even better. In Agent of Influence, Jason Hanson, a former CIA special agent and founder of Spy Escape School, reveals how anyone can use spy tactics for increased success, from learning how to strategically plan your day to mastering the steps you'll need to embrace challenges and set achievable, personal goals. He teaches you how to develop a winning sales personality and target the perfect business opportunity using the SADR cycle-spotting, assessing, developing, and recruiting. With this invaluable and unique handbook, you will become a more productive, confidant professional or entrepreneur. In our evolving age of entrepreneurships, corporate careers, and self-run businesses, Jason's message will appeal to those looking for a competitive leg up, and who entrust the insider secrets of spy practice to take them there.

30 review for Agent of Influence: How to Use Spy Skills to Persuade Anyone, Sell Anything, and Build a Successful Business

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Camp

    I am not in business, but I do manage and lead teams. I enjoyed reading about building teams and creating a positive yet productive work environment. The spy stories were really well written and engaging, too. He did a good job using those stories to illustrate key concepts about business management and building social networks and contacts with strangers. I didn't want the book to end and I look forward to reading his other books. This is a book that I will keep on my shelf for reference! I am not in business, but I do manage and lead teams. I enjoyed reading about building teams and creating a positive yet productive work environment. The spy stories were really well written and engaging, too. He did a good job using those stories to illustrate key concepts about business management and building social networks and contacts with strangers. I didn't want the book to end and I look forward to reading his other books. This is a book that I will keep on my shelf for reference!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    This felt like many other sales persuasion books I’ve read, with the hook that the underlying capabilities of a good influencer are the same as good spies. That was an excellent way to get me to read this book – as kids we didn’t play soldier or fireman or cowboy, we played spies. I found the content pretty similar to other sales persuasion books, with a focus on planning and stick-to-it-iveness. The author does mix in some stories to set the stage for each chapter, and provides some simple brea This felt like many other sales persuasion books I’ve read, with the hook that the underlying capabilities of a good influencer are the same as good spies. That was an excellent way to get me to read this book – as kids we didn’t play soldier or fireman or cowboy, we played spies. I found the content pretty similar to other sales persuasion books, with a focus on planning and stick-to-it-iveness. The author does mix in some stories to set the stage for each chapter, and provides some simple breakdowns of different aspects of the spycraft he is discussing. The author also tells how he got on TV (spoiler: it involves persistence and planning). All together, a fun read, though not earth shattering. Also note – I listened to the audiobook version. I see (using Amazon’s “look inside” feature) that the book has a large number of bulleted lists. While listening, I found the content sometimes confusing and as a result forgettable. I think a big part of the problem is that bulleted lists, especially ones that contain multiple sentences, are very difficult to make understood on an audio production. What looks nice and organized on a printed page runs together in audio and sounds disorganized. For that reason, I think I would suggest the written version of this book over the audio.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kim Osborne

    Totally authentic. Might not be the style the masses are looking for in the next best business world book. I will go on a limb and bet it won’t be a best seller. However, there are some big nuggets of gold packet between the pages that I appreciate being told about. Fun business read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Malvin

    Though I really like this book, I also think that there are still quite some room for improvement. The author speaks from his experience, as a former spy and as a successful entrepreneur. He uses a series of spy stories to connect the first half of the chapters which makes the book so fascinating. It does sound like you have to know a lot and be very skillful to get your stuffs done that way, but nothing is too superhuman like the movies. It would be great if the book ends when that series of sto Though I really like this book, I also think that there are still quite some room for improvement. The author speaks from his experience, as a former spy and as a successful entrepreneur. He uses a series of spy stories to connect the first half of the chapters which makes the book so fascinating. It does sound like you have to know a lot and be very skillful to get your stuffs done that way, but nothing is too superhuman like the movies. It would be great if the book ends when that series of stories end, but the author decides to drag it on for many more chapters. I don't say there is no more useful info the the latter part. However, it is just like other boring entrepreneurship articles with a list of things you need to do and blah blah.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Treen

    This book has very interesting stories about how undercover agents get their targets to open up and trust them. Then you are taught how to apply those skills to your every day life

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mark Henkel

    Agent of Influence: How to Use Spy Skills to Persuade Anyone, Sell Anything, and Build a Successful Business is a generally okay book, but I cannot give it more than 3 of 5 stars. If I were going to move in any direction away from 3 stars, I would move toward a 2-star rating before I would move toward a 4-star rating. The book is in three parts. Essentially, Part One IS “the book” - as far as I was concerned. It breaks downs the “S-A-D-R Cycle” that the author says that spies use when assigned Agent of Influence: How to Use Spy Skills to Persuade Anyone, Sell Anything, and Build a Successful Business is a generally okay book, but I cannot give it more than 3 of 5 stars. If I were going to move in any direction away from 3 stars, I would move toward a 2-star rating before I would move toward a 4-star rating. The book is in three parts. Essentially, Part One IS “the book” - as far as I was concerned. It breaks downs the “S-A-D-R Cycle” that the author says that spies use when assigned to finding and making a contact: Spotting, Assessing, Developing, and Recruiting. Each chapter in Part One was focused on one of the S-A-D-R elements, beginning each chapter with a fun “anonymous” story of how a CIA agent would apply the specific element. The author would then use that to also explain how he used that applicable element in his post-CIA businesses. Ending with wrap-up chapters, this Part One was the most enjoyable part of the book and successfully delivered the content that a reader would expect from the title. Part Two seemed as “add-on” chapters, filling five chapters of what the author called, “common sense on steroids.” I thought that line was certainly catchy, but I felt that the content was not as positively comparable to the chapters of Part One. I could say that Part Two was “Good Stuff, but also… meh!” I suspect that I felt that way as I was enjoying the format of the Part One; except for the first chapter of Part Two, there were no more “anonymous stories” giving interesting insight into real CIA work. Part Three seemed more like two chapters focused on being about “here are some extra expertise topics that the author also wants to share.” No doubt, they were interesting “add-ons,” but it made the book feel less coherent. Part Three was then followed (concluded?) by almost 30 pages of a “Bonus Section” in which the author explains how you can get yourself as a guest on TV as a way of promoting yourself. As I, myself, have done the same things he teaches and had also got on TV before he even wrote this book, I do attest that his advice is right on-target. The main takeaway for people wanting to know how to do that is to create what the author calls a “jaw dropper” that a TV show would want to present to their audience. Again, I enjoyed this “bonus” section, but it seemed disjointed to be coming at the end of this book about “influence.” And there it is… “Influence.” I am an avid reader of persuasion/influence psychology. And this title even bills itself with that word, “Agent of Influence.” While I agreed with the fascinating premise that persuading someone to “commit treason against their country” has got to be the “hardest thing to sell a person,” I felt that the book’s content delivered on that title’s promise only or mostly through Part One alone. I do not think of this book as a weighty-heavy book in the “persuasion/influence psychology” genre. None of this is to say that the author did not have good nuggets of great wisdom to share. He certainly did. I am thinking that, next time around, the author might need a more vocal editor to keep him focused on keeping the book more entirely coherent. The editor might also tone-down the close-to-the-edge tone of the author coming off as sounding almost a little too self-celebratory. It was not over the top, mind you, but I could understand if some readers might find it off-putting. So, I definitely cannot give this book a 5-star (or even a 4-star) rating. Ultimately, I felt that Part One was like a combination of spy intrigue, good sales principles (S-A-D-R), and the “It Will Be Done, No-Matter-What” mindset of one of my favorite tiny little books, written over 100 years ago, titled, “The Go-Getter” by Peter B. Kyne. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... That Part One alone can make up for a lot of the other issues. But if other readers of the book disagree, I can understand that too. Taking 7 hours and 15 minutes to complete as my full read-time for this book (including underlining and margin-noting), I read this book over five days, from March 1 through March 5, 2021. While I am glad that I read it and am glad that I did underline some good nuggets of information, I will probably not re-read this book all the way through again. If you are interested in the meaty content of Part One about spies and “S-A-D-R Cycle” and/or perhaps also the incoherently added “Bonus Section” of how to get yourself on TV, and if you are okay with the various incoherence issue I raised here, then you will likely enjoy both reading and having this book in your own personal library too. Agent of Influence: How to Use Spy Skills to Persuade Anyone, Sell Anything, and Build a Successful Business is a 3-star book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeremiah Hughes

    EXECSUM - A former spy teaches you how to use spy techniques to influence people and build your business. GOLDEN NUGGETS - "The hourglass conversation." People often remember the beginning and end of a conversation - but not the middle. This is why spies ask the probing question in the middle of the conversation. This is how they can determine if their target has what they would want without coming off as suspicious. (67) - How to get someone to trust you, feel comfortable with you, and really EXECSUM - A former spy teaches you how to use spy techniques to influence people and build your business. GOLDEN NUGGETS - "The hourglass conversation." People often remember the beginning and end of a conversation - but not the middle. This is why spies ask the probing question in the middle of the conversation. This is how they can determine if their target has what they would want without coming off as suspicious. (67) - How to get someone to trust you, feel comfortable with you, and really open up: 1. Never forget empathy, but don't confuse it with friendship. 2. Watch one-upsmanship. While you want to appear unique when creating bridges, constantly one-upping someone will backfire. 3. Don't place judgment on any confessions they confide in you. 4. Don't give advice unless it's specifically asked for. 5. Do not interrupt or finish sentences. 6. Don't change the subject of a conversation. 7. Be an extraordinary listener. Show that you are interested in what they have to say. 8. Use flattery, but cautiously. Don’t lay it on too thick. For example, "Your company must really value your expertise, otherwise, they wouldn't send you to this conference. You must be one of the best in the business." (95) - Paralleling is about sharing a similar interest or background, though with enough differences that any deficiencies in knowledge can be avoided. (95) - Learning styles: Auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and reading/writing. (99) - There are "errors of ignorance" and "errors of ineptitude". The first error stems from making mistakes because we don't know something, the second because we aren't using what we know the right way. Most failures are due to the second form of ignorance, and checklists and AARs are a simple solution to them. (189) QUOTES - "The operative mindset includes that elusive and appealing combination of traits - likability, empathy, confidence, and intelligence - that enable a person to effortlessly succeed at anything." (3) - "I needed to contact three people a day. It might have been two calls and an email. It didn't matter as long as I was reaching out to three people every single day." (52) - "Only 7 percent of communication is verbal, 55 percent comes from facial expressions, and the other 38 percent comes from vocalization (pitch, tone, pauses, etc.)." (88) - "A cookie-cutter pitch from a salesperson falls flat every time. Craft your pitch so that the individual you're targeting understands clearly how this service will improve their lives or change the way they do business." (113) - "One does not accumulate, but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity." (207)

  8. 5 out of 5

    geena

    This book is an odd mix of spy skills and business. There are some good moments - explaining the nature of cultivating assets is much like customer relations, for example - but it isn’t a perfect blend. The CIA scenarios make for more interesting material than the generic business recommendations, naturally, and the matter-of-fact methods of how to navigate these situations are fascinating. I found the first two thirds of the book more valuable than the last for that reason. Hanson’s narration w This book is an odd mix of spy skills and business. There are some good moments - explaining the nature of cultivating assets is much like customer relations, for example - but it isn’t a perfect blend. The CIA scenarios make for more interesting material than the generic business recommendations, naturally, and the matter-of-fact methods of how to navigate these situations are fascinating. I found the first two thirds of the book more valuable than the last for that reason. Hanson’s narration was a bit generic and focused on a certain type of person: into guns, sports, probably a prepper. But he knows his audience - and if you weren’t sure, he tells you about his website and product line often enough in the course of the book. Stick to the spy facts.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Neil McGee

    Very good book for those wishing to excel within the societal norm. Good tips to give you a leg up. Far far too much premeditation for me. I have discovered the general society is in a hurry. Your time is your secret power. Use it to your advantage. Slow walk any situation and 99% will simply get tired and move on to the next target. Again, time is your super power, learn to be content with and embrace the now, don't live in the past or the present. 99% of the world is thinking about what they will do n Very good book for those wishing to excel within the societal norm. Good tips to give you a leg up. Far far too much premeditation for me. I have discovered the general society is in a hurry. Your time is your secret power. Use it to your advantage. Slow walk any situation and 99% will simply get tired and move on to the next target. Again, time is your super power, learn to be content with and embrace the now, don't live in the past or the present. 99% of the world is thinking about what they will do next, surround yourself with people that do not. 🤗🤪

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jerianne

    I guess I should have anticipated a smattering of weird capitalist propaganda in the guise of patriotism in this one, but there's a lot of useful information filling the gaps between anecdotes of American exceptionalism and the author's fairly blatant political proselytizing. A worthwhile read for those moderately interested in the processes of CIA agents and/or heavily interested in whatever the hell "entrepreneurship" actually is. I guess I should have anticipated a smattering of weird capitalist propaganda in the guise of patriotism in this one, but there's a lot of useful information filling the gaps between anecdotes of American exceptionalism and the author's fairly blatant political proselytizing. A worthwhile read for those moderately interested in the processes of CIA agents and/or heavily interested in whatever the hell "entrepreneurship" actually is.

  11. 5 out of 5

    TB

    There’re a few momenta when you think it could be good boom, but the editing is done in such a bad way that it is a repetitive and annoying read. I will remember one or two tips but the rest is unfortunately just a waste of paper. I don’t think its necessarily the authors fault considering that he doesn’t have a background in writing. The editor should have done a much better job.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bruin Mccon

    A lot of great tips in this book. I have never felt like such a woman—there were a few points where it was obvious a straight, male reader was anticipated. Not sure talking about my family, for example, is really going to help me bond with other business people. That said, there were some great tips on pitching media. I found the common tells someone is lying to be helpful as well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    What a delightful read. The author is so likable. This is a little less business and a little more CIA. But I didn’t mind. And there ARE ways to apply what he’s saying to business. It’s just not super direct.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Oscar Quintanilla Jr

    Not what I expected. I would have thought that I could apply it to teaching. There are small nuggets of information I could use.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    An infomercial more than anything else.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Dickey

    Good book. Pretty easy read. Some really good advice

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tom Stevens

    Meh. Do your homework is the basic message here.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Johnson

    I quite enjoyed this book. While I'm not about to start my own business, the skills discussed in this book are valuable ones to have when dealing with people you want to influence. I think the best part of this book is that he advocates for business owners to not accept rude and abusive customers. The whole world of customer service would improve greatly if every business would respect their employees enough to not reward abusive behavior in any way. I quite enjoyed this book. While I'm not about to start my own business, the skills discussed in this book are valuable ones to have when dealing with people you want to influence. I think the best part of this book is that he advocates for business owners to not accept rude and abusive customers. The whole world of customer service would improve greatly if every business would respect their employees enough to not reward abusive behavior in any way.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jbussen

    Not sure how I feel about this book as a practical guide for a layperson to use.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chad

  21. 5 out of 5

    Feng Yu

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Boudreau

  23. 5 out of 5

    Glenn D.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Suzanna Jones

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ion

  26. 5 out of 5

    Justin Hernandez

  27. 5 out of 5

    Polished Leisure

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carl Willis

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paul Moore

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Jones

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