“Hacking the System:” Making Life Easier for Whom?

By Bryce Marvin

Have you ever wondered how to get VIP treatment at a restaurant? Did you know you could hacking_the_systemfly on a private jet for the same price as an economy seat? Brian Brushwood reveals these and many other secrets and shortcuts to save time and make life better in an HBO series called, “Hacking The System”. Brushwood, a former student at the University of Texas at Austin has spent years working as an entertainer, studying psychology, and well, picking up tips from criminals. With this odd set of skills and experiences, he’s able to uncover many shortcuts that we may have never even considered.

In the words of one viewer, “This is like Mythbusters, but instead of proving or disproving myths, they seem more focused on hacking tricks and manipulation.”

While some of these “hacks” are entertaining, some of them could be seen as more juvenile and sometimes criminal such as breaking into someone’s house, how to easily break a car window, how to manipulate car salesmen into giving you the best possible option, or even just making a stoplight change in your favor more quickly. I was skeptical at first of the thought of teaching viewers how easy it is to break into a safe or any of the other more criminalist actions. There is a disclaimer shared on each episode not to try the things which they perform, but does that only incite the curious? Just as there have been controversies about what online videos should and should not be censored (i.e. how to make a bomb), where should the line be drawn?

As you continue watching the episodes you begin to question the way that you do things.


It is so easy to fall into the same daily routines and then when problems arise, we see just how vulnerable hacking maskwe can be at times. That is where these “hacks” truly serve. Maybe we are not pushy enough to try and “work the system” into free airline upgrades, but being informed on how to best protect yourself can serve all. Not everyone is out to get you, but just as inspired men have counseled, we need to be prepared.

“Hacking The System” is actually quite entertaining, and will make you think about the way you live your life. I hope to never be kidnapped, but I may just have to give a try at breaking out of zip ties!


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