The name is Bond – JAMES BOND. I am sure you’ve seen at least one, if not more of the 26 films made on fictional British spy 007. You may’ve also seen TV shows like The Americans, Blindspot, Chuck, Covert Affairs, Homeland, Nikita, Quantico, The Blacklist, and/or The Night Manager. I wrote this book after I realised that the average person may not know even one-sixth of what I know about spies and spying. Almost each of the Top 50 nations (by GDP, population or military power) has a spy agency/service. Many countries have more than one ‘secret service’ or ‘intelligence agency’. USA has 16. Some countries’ spy agencies are more powerful than entire smaller nations, with annual budgets larger than their GDPs. This books attempts to tell the story of 20 of the world’s largest and most powerful spy agencies, details their important missions, reveals their darkest secrets, and gives you an inside perspective of the often quite gory but thrilling ‘world of spies’. It gives you a 360º view of those spy agencies you only read about or see in a movie or TV show. With one chapter per agency, you can read only chapters you may be interested in. The life of most spies is not as glamorous as it is made out to be. You may think it is all about high-tech and guns and car chases and ‘hot’ women, but that’s not the case. In the real spy world, the techniques boil down to the interpretation of basic human psychology. Even though a spy learns several action techniques on how to get out of a dangerous situation, including how to withstand torture, if he/she is resorting to car chases, it means they’re doing something wrong. Spies don’t get paid very well. Gambling at a casino or flying on a private jet may be part of the job, but a spy doesn’t get to spend this kind of money on personal expenses. Spies cannot disclose the nature of their work to their family and friends, to maintain secrecy. Many have to live away from home for weeks, months, even years. Married life is a mess, as the spouse starts suspecting the spy of having an affair. Who can become a spy? Do you need a law enforcement (police) or military background? Not really. Spies have degrees as diverse as law, political science, finance, economics – even professional athletes have become successful spies.