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Showing 1-10 of 15 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on June 18, 2004
In today's world of hackers, stalkers, voyeurs, or just plain nosy people, privacy is of the utmost concern. It can literally mean being the target of a crime (such as identity theft or worse) or luckily being overlooked and out of reach of criminals. This book teaches simple, yet effective ways to protect yourself by being "invisible".
This book teaches how to do everything from just having your mail sent to different address to almost creating a whole new identity. Most people would only need minimal privacy enhancement to help them sleep at night, and this book accommodates that person. Surprisingly, though, it also accommodates the person looking to being as close to invisible as possible!
Overall, this book is a fast read that is sectioned off well. You do not need to read every chapter in this book, but can simply skip to each chapter that pertains to you. Most of all, it has the simple step-by-step legal methods that almost anyone can employ and help keep their personal welfare a little more secure.
11 comment132 of 145 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 1, 2007
Before you even read this book, you need to bear in mind that the author lived in the Canary Islands under Franco's fascist rule, and developed his lifestyle as a response to that.

This book is fairly good but a little paranoia-inducing, and covers the idea of creating a high level of personal security and protecting your privacy. It's a good idea, whether you're running from crazy killers or trying to avoid bill collectors or just don't want everyone in the world to know where you live. However, for many readers who are immediately spurred to take action, the suggestions are a bit unfeasible. If you have been using your home address for years and suddenly switch to a ghost address (private box or other non-residential address), how are you going to expunge your residential from all your old records? Luna recommends renting over buying, in that it is easier to suddenly vacate the premises if necessary, and so he would probably recommend moving somewhere else and never using that address on any official records, but clearly, that is not feasible for most people.
Much of what he recommends is common sense, like using a cross-cut shredder to dispose of all documents, which would seem intuitively obvious but not enough people do it. Readers of the book should use it as a guideline and follow his suggestions until they feel more comfortable about their level of personal security.
0Comment14 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 25, 2010
Wow! This book sure seems to get polarized responses from readers. I feel the need to chime in as I read this book when it originally came out and keep it on my reference shelf to look back at anytime I'm faced with a "privacy decision." Luna DEFINITELY has his own point of view and, trust me, it's not in the mainstream. I liked the strong direct voice that comes through from Luna, even when it had to do with something I'm not ready to follow. What I like is, Luna is at the outer edge of what is possible in maintaining privacy. His writing style is conversational and humorous at times, not dry or textbook at all. Lots of personal anecdotes and related stories to make his point clearer. He certainly preaches privacy, but just because he, like Sinatra, is doing it his own way, I don't see any need to feel like he's bragging (or judging me). If you read it that way, I think you must have an insecurity complex of some sort. If anything, I learned how hard it is to be totally private. Instead I enjoyed the narrative and made note of those things that I felt I could do to increase my own privacy with ease...things I've simply overlooked. At least I know what the levels of privacy are so I can decide what level I want to be at. Yes, the book is outdated on some topics, especially considering technology has moved on so fast. I'd like to see an updated edition. But I still look back at this book, I take the ideas and vocabulary and can Google topics to find out what the latest information is, or look at the author's blog. He seems very responsive to readers compared to most author blogs I've visited. Overall, I'd say this is a must-read for deep privacy, but it's not perfect...I've needed to do some of my own homework based on what I learned.
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on November 12, 2005
This book is interesting reading for anyone who values their privacy and is willing to protect it at any cost. How to Be Invisible suggests a number of steps to avoid being sued, stalked, or hunted down by anyone for any reason.

The author doesn't go so far as to recommend illegal steps (like tax evasion, for example), but does suggest some that might ruffle your moral feathers a bit. These include lying and giving false information to anyone who you feel is not entitled or trusted to know the truth about you. Not a bad idea...

The only problem is that after reading the book, I began to realize exactly how difficult and costly it could be to reach what the author calls "Level 3 security." This is the level that the author claims to live at, which is supposedly one step below the Witness Security Program (aka Witness Protection Program).

The first steps start out simply enough - get a PO Box and a "ghost address" and stop receiving personal mail and packages at your home address. These are steps that could probably be accomplished by most people fairly easily. It seems to be a good start.

But from there, the steps get more and more difficult. Opening an LLC is something the author recommends, but this can be somewhat costly ($400 or so to get started and $100/year after that). The author also recommends, when setting up a ghost address, some steps that might be uncomfortable for many people, or impractical (renting the broom closet in an office building, for example). It's not that I don't believe these tactics could work, but I seriously wonder if the benefits are worth the trouble.

Unfortunately, the author relies a little too heavily on scare tactics to convince you that his plan is actually necessary. They usually revolve around some psychotic killer trying to track you down. I don't deny that these things HAVE happened, but I think it's safe to say it's not something most of us really have to worry about.

All in all, the book is still pretty good. There is a lot of good information, and the author isn't just some crackpot writing the book for the fantasy readers who imagine what it would be like to live a secret life. The steps are real and explained very well. They are, for the most part, practical and could very well provide some real benefits. If you take the scare tactics with a grain of salt, this book is pretty good.
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on March 11, 2008
J.J. Luna writes about something from which he has years of experience. He lived on the Canary Islands during the regime of Fransisco Franco, and as a Jehovah's Witness, was engaged in activities which at that time were considered illegal.

The book has interesting information on what can be done to hide your identity, some of which could likely be of use for someone trying to hide from, let's say, an ex-spouse. As probably could be expected, however, privacy cannot necessarily be easily obtained, considering the amount of data collection that is in place today (see the book "No Place to Hide", if you are interested). For this reason, some of the advise in the book would require an amount of free time, and more than just a minimum income level, to implement.

On the other hand, since everyones budget, available time, and personal needs are different, J.J. Luna provides advise on 3 different levels of privacy protection.

The book would certainly be of interest and useful for people who want to make themselves as untraceable as possible.
0Comment9 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 10, 2004
This was a super fun, quick read. Finished it in two days (I am a slow reader - I would usual chew on a book this size for a month or so) because it was so interesting; I just couldn't put it down. There are many things I will definitely do now and a few I will do when I win the lottery-all legal and morally relative! I really enjoyed learning about cell phones and beepers - who knew this could be so interesting - really, I am not being sarcastic here. My cell phone will forever be turned off, except when I make an out going call. ***Warning*** if you are predisposed to mild paranoia or have a mild (what I like to call "healthy") aversion to authority, this book will not make you more socially acceptable. You will become a little more distrustful of others and your government - but, is that really a bad thing?
0Comment13 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon April 16, 2011
Even if you don't want to be "invisible" some of these ideas are very important to prevent identity theft and protect yourself from potential legal and/or physical harassment, or just intrusions into your privacy.

It is interesting to find out what is actually legal and illegal when it comes to issues like name changes and who can put your signature on a document. Some of the info on phones is outdated as expected, since advancements happened so quickly. Other info is still valid. I did go to [...], and it is a great site for sending encrypted emails.

The author even goes as far as to disclose places to cross into Mexico and Canada undetected. Too bad this book isn't translated into Spanish. It would be on the Mexican best seller list.
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on October 23, 2010
This book has good information that covers the subject of keeping yourself private. I have used some of the ideas from the book with successful results. I liked that he has a website for keeping the ideas real and updated. Was worth it to me for improving my privacy. Thanks JJ
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on June 14, 2007
At least this author doesn't rant against the government and tell the reader not to pay taxes. It is a more reasonable book than the last one I read. Some of the information is obvious, like not receiving mail at your home. Some of it is interesting - he recommends LLCs repeatedly, and just coincidentally happens to have someone in New Mexico who can hook you up. I don't know how useful his information is for the ordinary person who needs to hide from an abusive spouse, for instance. I still think that The Gift of Fear is the best book on that subject.
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on July 19, 2012
How to be Invisible has been the best-selling book in the field of privacy since 2000. The 2004 edition, shown here, would still be five stars except for one extremely important fact--a NEW EDITION was published in July 2012. In addition to updating and revising all the previous chapters, it now has five new ones:

..... The Dangers of Facebook are Real
..... The Art of Pretexting, aka Social Engineering
..... Social Engineering--The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
..... The Dangers of Facial Recognition
..... How to Disappear and Never Be Found
..... Moving to Another Country
..... International Privacy 101

So why didn't the new edition show up when you made a search for "Privacy"? This is because Amazon screwed up. Instead of listing the book under the subject of PRIVACY (as with this 2004 edition), they list the new edition under the headings of COMPUTERS and CRAFTS AND HOBBIES! The publisher, St Martins Press, claims that once Amazon decides on a category, they will stubbornly refuse to change it.

The author lists the correct link to the new book on his website CanaryIslandsPress.com (although I think this will change to JJLuna.com in August 2012).
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