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What Works

Spy gadgets are fun. Not Q’s rocket cars and jetpacks. Not James Bond’s remote detonators. The real world stuff. Crazy, complicated things. Fun, yes. Interesting, yes.

But if you’re a spy in the field, you start to think. Do I want to bet lives – my life – on a gadget working?

You say no to a lot of gadgets. You turn down most of what they send you. When you get one that might be good, you ask questions. Does it work? Does it work in a simple way? Will it break?

Even then, you pause. You want someone else to use it first. Just to be sure. You learn the best things aren’t the new things. Used things are better. Worn things. Things that have worked in the field. For fifty, sixty years, if possible. Updated, sure. But tested. Proven. If the mission fails because a gadget breaks, it’s not Q at risk. It’s you.

When you find something that works, it’s gold. The thing does its job, you do yours. You go out and be a spy. Maybe even save the world.

This little book is about thinking, but it’s like a gadget. It has tools that work. In a simple way. Without breaking. Even better, the tools have been used for a long time. Updated, sure. But used successfully by people and organizations for many years.

The tools here are most useful under pressure. First, because they stop us from only reacting. They bring focus. They help us resist the takeover of the lizard brain. They remind us what sets us apart: We think.

Lastly, they’ve been tested in a variety of environments with a variety of people. With varying levels of complexity. Different situations, different people, different needs.

Bottom line: They work.

On that, I bet my life.

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