Uncover Your Competitors' Top Business Secrets Legally and Quickly — and Protect Your Own

John Nolan

Publisher: HarperCollins, 1999, 359 pages

ISBN: 0-06-661984-X

Keywords: Business Analytics

Last modified: July 29, 2021, 4:22 p.m.

Whether you know it or not, your business competes in an environment in which many Fortune 500 companies are recruiting ex-CIA officers — specialists with training in elicitation, intelligence collection and analysis, and counterintelligence. It is a world where small businesses are becoming increasingly more sophisticated at digging up information about their competitors — and are using it to beat the big players at their own game.

Welcome to the era of Business Intelligence, where staying one move ahead of the competition requires uncovering their secrets and using them to your advantage.

In Confidential, John Nolan, a former federal intelligence officer and a preeminent expert in the field of Business Intelligence, reveals how your company can gather the intelligence it needs to beat the competition, while keeping your own valuable secrets under wraps. Providing the basics of Business Intelligence, including such invaluable techniques as data elicitation and sourcing as well as higher-level intelligence gathering and counterintelligence tactics for more sophisticated corporate policy makers, Confidential reveals:

  • How a well-planned conversation can be your most valuable information gathering tool
  • Who will most likely tell you what you want to know — and who is supposedly unsusceptible
  • How to discover the people who know what you need to know, both inside your company and outside, inside your industry, and beyond
  • How studying your customers and the leaders and decision-makers in their industries can enhance your competitive intelligence in significant ways
  • Why trade shows present an unparalleled opportunity for intelligence — what to look for, how to obtain it
  • Which countermeasures will ensure that neither you nor your employees become the unwitting sources of leaks
  • How to translate information into action that will directly affect your company's profits

Whether you're looking to find out the design and price of a competitor's upcoming product line, or uncover the dangers of entering a new market, this comprehensive, practical handbook offers effective strategies that anyone from senior-level executives to middle managers can utilize to protect themselves and outwit the competition.

    • Preface: What Do Intelligence Professionals and Sharks Have in Common?
    • Introduction: All History Is Merely Prologue on the Business Battlefield
  • Part I: Eliciting the Information You Want and Need
    1. Transfer Intelligence Community Techniques to the Commercial Sector for Competitive Advantage
    2. What Good Does It Do to Ask Questions?
    3. Exploding Old Myths and Succeeding at Elicitation
    4. Human Characteristics in Elicitation
    5. Who Is Most Susceptible to Elicitation - And Who Is Supposedly Most Immune
    6. Your First Six-Pack of Elicitation Techniques
    7. Your Second Six-Pack of Elicitation Techniques
  • Part II:. Business Intelligence Collection
    1. Intelligence for Decision Makers
    2. Operational Business Intelligence — Actually Doing It
    3. Intelligence Begins at Home: Internal Sources — Who They Are and How to Find Them
    4. The World Can Be Your Oyster: External Sources — Who They Are and How to Find Them
    5. Trade Show/Conference Intelligence Operations: Getting the Most for Your Already Heavy Investment
    6. Developing Personality and Psychological Profiles of Business Rivals
  • Part III: Protection
    1. Operational Counterintelligence: Keeping Score and Keeping Them Out
    2. Who Are Those Guys and Why Are They Doing Such Terrible Things to Us?
    3. Just How Vulnerable Are You to Your Rival's Collection Activities? Test Yourself, Attack Yourself
    4. Developing Countermeasures for Your Dining and Dancing Pleasure
    5. Misinformation, Disinformation, and Deception
    6. Putting It All Together
    • Appendices
      1. The Elicitation Techniques of Sherlock Holmes
      2. Legal and Ethical Aspects of Competitive Intelligence
      3. Sample Competitive Intelligence Guidelines: Three Levels of Complexity
      4. The Economic Espionage and Protection of Proprietary Information Act of 1996
      5. Get Out of Your Box - Cases and Scenarios, and Some Questions and Answers
      6. The Job's Not Done Until the Paperwork Is Complete



    Reviewed by Roland Buresund

    Outstanding ********* (9 out of 10)

    Last modified: May 21, 2007, 2:57 a.m.

    Excellent coverage.

    Ahhhhh… the joy of reading something about intelligence and counter-intelligence that doesn't talk about bribing guards, professional prostitutes or hacking, nor about Porter's five forces or equivalent. A very well grounded book that takes itself seriously and have a very practical underpinning. Add to this that it is very well written and to the point nearly all the time.

    The only negative comments are that it is badly typeset and the nearly total absence of any pictures or summarizing tables makes it sometimes very hard to comprehend and use as a text-book or as a reference litterature.

    Now, how do I get my CEO to read it, hmm…


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