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How to Disappear

3.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  523 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews

From the world's preeminent people finder—an insider's guide to disappearing

How to Disappear is the authoritative and comprehensive guide for people who seek to protect their privacy as well as for anyone who’s ever entertained the fantasy of disappearing—whether actually dropping out of sight or by eliminating the traceable evidence of their existence.

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Kindle Edition
Published (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,612)
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Carisa
Dec 06, 2013 Carisa added it
Of course, by admitting on Goodreads that I read this book, I've ensured I'll never be able to take advantage of some of its lessons.
Melody
Feb 13, 2011 Melody rated it it was ok
I can't remember where I found the pointer to this book. Or maybe I can, and I'm just giving you some disinformation in case you are compiling a dossier on my reading referrals.

This book encourages the above sort of paranoia. It's an interesting and informative read but I think it's hampered somewhat by the authorial voice, which often veers into what sounds like textbook noir-detective-speak. I get that a skip tracer needs to be hard-bitten and tough. Swell. Now, tell me what you came to say,
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DoctorM
Less a concrete how-to guide than a set of issues to think about for anyone who does want to pull the vanishing trick. Ahearn notes that, post-2001, it has become harder and harder to disappear, and harder still to acquire a new identity, and he stays far away from telling a reader how to do anything that might be illegal. Nonetheless, for all of us who dream of escaping into new lives, or who've ever thought about being a character in a thriller novel...or who might have to flee from oppressive ...more
Jessica
Oct 20, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave it four stars because it gives such excellent information in a pretty straightforward way - I mean, if you want to disappear in an age where everybody can hack in and find your information online, this is the book for you. Is it the best-written book? No - this guy is not an author by trade; he's a guy people hire to out dirt on other people. He's credible, but you flip a few pages because he is not a wordsmith.
Joni
Oct 07, 2013 Joni rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Considering this book was written just three years ago, I mistakenly assumed that it would focus on online privacy and falling off the virtual grid. Unfortunately the book is a guide (and a bad one at that in my opinion) on how to actually disappear from the real world.

The author might have been a prodigy in the mid 90s but would suck at hiding your identity today - hence I guess he writes books now. Ahern sounds out of touch with the virtual world. He talks about Altavista - a very popular sea
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Sheldon
Jun 10, 2012 Sheldon rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
I read this book more for entertainment than actual action; I was curious about what the author would say one should do to "hide". I was also interested from the "making yourself a little less discoverable" point of view as it seems personal information is being sucked up by any and everyone.

Well, the book was pretty good, an easy read and the author provides some interesting, and somewhat entertaining examples of good and bad. I think, if anyone is reading the book with the thought of really "d
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Gina
Feb 16, 2012 Gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, the author's writing style is...wow.

"The Fat Man's wife was beautiful, and this girl had totally been hit by the ugly stick. Several times" -p. 38

"Very is still safe today, and you know what? We enjoyed giving her jailbird the finger. Fuck him!" -p. 74

"Even a decade after the dot-com bust, there's still gold in them there Internets." -p. 172

After choosing to see the writing style as entertaining and not a distraction, the book was mildly interesting. It's pretty amazing how much informatio
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Jaroslav Tuček
I really wanted to like this book - and in a way, it is a very interesting read, full of scary examples of what information is out there on you, more or less freely available for anyone with the balls to take it. The author's freshly sardonic writing style and a no-nonsense attitude also help to keep you engaged, although there is some repetitiveness in the latter parts of the book which could have been avoided.

There is a major let-down for me however in the way several of the stories feel made-
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Tammy
Dec 30, 2010 Tammy rated it it was ok
The book would've been better as a bulleted list. I found this interesting from an information security/managing social media presence perspective. Good ideas for checking to make sure you have protected your online presence.
Dbh
Feb 19, 2015 Dbh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great title. Mostly about social engineering.
Colloquial.
Anecdotal.
Repetitive.
Somewhat entertaining.
Tim Niland
Oct 23, 2010 Tim Niland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
This one caught my eye while I was weeding the new bookshelves at the Library... who hasn't at one time or another thought that it might be great thing to just take a powder and go off the radar completely? Whether to avoid bill collectors or to get away from a stalker, it remains a great temptation for many. Ahearn started his career as a bounty hunter or as he puts it a "skip tracer" but he's far removed from Stephanie Plum, and used every tool in his book, legal and illegal to track people do ...more
Stacy
Alas, to get credit in my reading challenge for reading this book, I must break a major tenet of the disappearing philosphy. Skip-tracers will be able to identify and find me based on book reviews. Unless I'm already an incredibly amazing Houdini and this is yet another breadcrumb trail I'm setting up.

I'm actually a 92 year old man from Santa Domingo. Or am I???

Fascinating book, actually. Gave me details to the tracing and escaping occurrences in other books.
Anna Richland
As a romantic suspense author, I have to be careful to not let my research induce paranoia. This book left me feeling like I want to put false home addresses on my PTA forms, migrate to prepaid credit cards, and change the name and phone number on all my grocery store loyalty cards. After all, what's fifty cents off detergent compared to my privacy?

So I read this only in small doses, take my research notes, and then remind myself that I am not running from anyone, and I can't disappear complete
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Anthony
I picked this one up because I wanted to see how I could limit my vulnerability with electronics. This book encompassed that and more. It was focused more so for someone who has a stalker or needs to disappear because of somebody. Kind of like a self imposed witness protection plan. In the process of making someone disappear he talks about his career as a skip tracer or someone who was hired to track down others. His stories are enlightening in that it makes you think about how much of your pers ...more
Ron
Fairly good book on the subject. A bit lacking in details in some places and author repeats himself on occasion. A few lapses in editing and some places the logic of what was being written was confusing. However, overall was about what I had expected.
Karen
Mar 29, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book that gives ideas about increasing your privacy. I have no intention of ever disappearing and thankfully have never been stalked but it's good to know there are ways to deal with these issues if need be.
Amanda
Dec 10, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is, without a doubt, one of the most paranoia-inspiring things I've ever read. Everytime I go "whatever, this is ridiculous" he reminds the reader that plenty of his clients have been stalking victims, and you don't need to do anything special to be picked as a target.

I'm not a big fan of his writing style, and it is very cut and dry, interesting, but not terribly entertaining. And of course, doing a public review of this book-- or any book-- is the sort of thing he thinks no one should ev
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Nick
Jan 18, 2012 Nick rated it it was ok
An interesting read, for a little while. My 2 star review is perhaps a little unfair, as I think if I was really trying to disappear it would have been extremely useful. As it stands, I read it with something of a passing interest, and found that after the first few chapters, much of the information is repeated over and over. The author goes through great pains to spell out the steps that will prevent you from getting caught, but I can't help but think some of the repetition could have been avoi ...more
Derrick Lim
An interesting and lighthearted read if you ever had flights of fantasies about disappearing. The ideas are rather generic, not going into too much specifics about the "hows" but focusing more on the "whats" instead.

While this book didn't offer me very much in way of disappearing, it convinced me of the opposite - disappearing is hard. You have to make radical and, more often than not, inconvenient, lifestyle changes. Living off the grid is a notion more feasible in fiction than in non-fiction.
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Ebony
Nov 02, 2014 Ebony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having finished How to Disappear, I am appropriately shamed. Frank Ahearn would be disappointed that I made a social media post noting that.
Rhianon O'Halloran
This was a well written book and very fun to read. Unfortunately I lent it to someone and didn't get it back! Never lend out your books!
Heather
Jul 23, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: electronic, kindle
A fascinating look at how much information people can find on you, and how to make sure they don't find it. (I have to wonder - why is it that when I call the cable company they won't tell me anything if the account's actually in my husband's name, but skip tracers can get them to give up all sorts of details??? :)

If you're not planning to run away from your life, there's still great information in this book about how to protect yourself from identity thieves. I would have liked to see more of t
...more
Ellen
Jul 11, 2011 Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So far, I find the author's prose style to be pretty obnoxious. I feel he's talking down to me. I went to one of the websites that he touts as being important to find out where all the online information about me is but it is a pay per view site and the average person isn't going to pay to find their info and erase it. (I don't think so, anyway.) More as I read. This book turned out to be interesting in a creepy way. I would not have the $$$ to spend on disappearing that this guy suggests but so ...more
Janet Major
Aug 13, 2013 Janet Major rated it it was amazing
This is the book for you if you want to disappear without a trace, which, believe me, is a lot of trouble if you want to do it right. Mr. Ahearn specializes in helping people who are victims of stalking and/or abuse disappear. This book goes into minute detail about laying false trails for people looking for you. He points out how to use credit cards and throw away phones as well as changing the details of your existence just a bit in order to insure privacy. Even if you don't want to disappear ...more
Holly
Jul 23, 2015 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If 2 men are in trench coats at your door its the FBI. If it's one man in a trench coat, its the IRS. hahahah
Michael Fortner
obviously I am not disappearing, given I am posting here.
Heather
Feb 10, 2015 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fun and informative read!
Mobilis
Abrasive writing style, unsavory guy - probably an occupational hazard for someone who wallows in muck. The content, however is interesting. And some awareness of one's digital traces is useful.

Of course, commenting in a digital forum about a book about the dangers of that is ironic, but who knows, I may be sowing misinformation (chapter 5) or disinformation ( chapter 7).
Alex
Jul 28, 2013 Alex rated it liked it
Not bad a bad read - although scant details were written for those who need to disappear with someone, which leaves me to wonder: What else was left out?

Still, a book that teaches you to take stock of your own privacy - as well as gives you the tools to reclaim it - has a certain value. While some sections feel as if they're lacking, I would recommend this book regardless on the basis you probably should know this information for your own sake.
Marlowe
Feb 09, 2014 Marlowe rated it it was ok
This book fell quite short of expectations — it didn't really give any amazing advice on disappearing, nothing really technical or dealing with online privacy, and as I'm not imminently fleeing the country for the Caribbean, large chunks were entirely irrelevant and repetitious: basically get a prepaid credit card and phone, & use private mail boxes. A Yahoo Answers could have provided the same information in a paragraph.
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