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Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World of Corporate Espionage Hardcover – February 9, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; 1 edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061697206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061697203
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The tools and tricks once used in the name of geopolitics have increasingly been applied to the private sector, according to this engaging overview of the rise of corporate espionage. With the end of the Cold War, spies on both sides of the Iron Curtain discovered there was money to be made renting out their skills to clients in such fields as pharmaceuticals, banking, and agriculture. Although the historical sections can drag in places, the book gathers steam every time Javers turns his focus to the technologies that have moved the field forward. From early wiretaps to the use of satellites, the author expertly explains how spies help clients sabotage corporate competitors or buy and sell stocks based on expected fluctuations in the price of corn. Generally more interested in strategy and gadgets than the ethical components of spying, the book flirts with painting a romantic picture of the profession before noting the less-than-glamorous occupations of corporate spies, including participating in the battle for supremacy in the pet food market.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Journalist Javers traces spying activity, which began in Washington, D.C., in 1790, when the city became the capital, through the Civil War, when Allan Pinkerton was chasing Confederate spies, to Allen Dulles and the CIA developing drugs to enhance interrogations and in 2002 capturing traitor Robert Hanssen. The author also offers a fascinating explanation of the role of spies in today’s world economy with hundreds of firms globally in the corporate espionage business using as operatives alumni from the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, British M-15 and Russian KGB, and military intelligence officers. Firms are available in the private market from diverse independent contractors with backgrounds including SEC investigators and investigative reporters. Javers recommends that spy firms be revealed to the public through a spy register comparable to lobbying firms’ disclosure rules and be coordinated by the SEC. He contends, It’s time for the spy firms to come in from the cold. This is a must-read, excellent book. --Mary Whaley

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
If you are interested in espionage then you should like this book.
T.L.Walker
The author mostly seems to skim the readily available public record to reveal things which on the whole, are not very revealing.
John T. Horner
This is a very intriguing book and a good look into the history, as well as present, of corporate espionage.
Scott B.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Kimble VINE VOICE on March 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've always been a fan of learning about the spy game. And I had always heard stories of how it pertained to the corporate world but never anything in depth. When I heard of this book, I expected a book based on facts that would place you squarely in the modern day corporate espionage arena. What I got, though, was something entirely different.

The book is a way too condensed version about the history of private eyes and how they're being used in today's fashion, with an extremely heavy concentration on the history aspects and who's connected with who. When I say "way too condensed", it is because it feels compact and hard to follow. You can read two paragraphs and it will jump through a complicated web of 15 people to get to where the author wants you to be. At times, all the names and connections can grow confusing. It also has a disorganized feel that seems to jump all over the place. You'll learn about the Pinkertons in the 1800's, follow them through a spiderweb of contacts to modern day, then jump back to 1800, all within 10 pages.

The book can also be dry at times, as it is written by an investigative reporter and never seems to shed it's journalism feel to become an in depth, captivating story. I'm not saying all journalists who are also authors write this way but this is definitely how Mr. Javers does in this case. It feels that most of the book follows a pattern like this...for 300 pages. Interweb was owned by John. John was a former CIA detective of 30 years and had known Russ. Russ brought Fred and Hank aboard, both NSA veterans, who then recruited Steve. Steve, allegedly, worked with Aaron, best friends of Garth. Now that Garth was aboard with Interweb, they could finally recruit Bob. The men went to work in an office in Washington, DC.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By P. Lee on February 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An eye-opening account of corporate espionage, the book ranges from the historical antecedents to today's civilian cloak and dagger to new and groundbreaking reporting of today's CIA agents being permitted to moonlight for corporations. This book will be an introduction to many of the use and sophistication of today's corporate espionage efforts and how those efforts have become practically commonplace. The author includes many riveting interviews with corporate ex-spooks discussing their strategies and past engagements. A must-read for those interested in the intersection of business and espionage in America today.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John T. Horner VINE VOICE on April 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
I expected a much harder hitting, deeper view into the intriguing world of commercial espionage. The opening bit on the history of the Pinkerton agency was interesting enough, but I suspect that area relied heavily on the prior effort of earlier authors and not original research.

The modern stuff is, however, both tame and overly breathless. The revelation that a hedge fund MIGHT have used lie detection techniques to make a $1/share profit shorting a stock is hardly mind blowing. Or the fact that CIA trained agents learned their skills on the taxpayer's dime before moving to the prior sector where, shock of shock, they make more money. Duh, how many ex Air Force pilots can say the same thing?

The author mostly seems to skim the readily available public record to reveal things which on the whole, are not very revealing. This is a great area for a really deep dive look at an aspect of the modern world most people are blind to, but the book fails to deliver. Surely there is a lot more dirt worthy of being revealed, but the author doesn't really go there. I wonder why?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charlie on April 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
About: Javers presents a glimpse at the clandestine world of corporate spying. He presents a history of the investigation field, interviews current and former spies, profiles a few intelligence agencies and provides real-world stories of corporate spying.

Pros: Very interesting look into a world I barely knew existed. Presents a few tricky tactics corporate spies use, such as making fake [...] ads and conducting fake job interviews in order talk to employees looking to leave the company that's being spied on. Another tactic is to tell the company that they are a documentary crew working on a film and go into the company headquarters and film all they can in the guise of making a documentary. Sources cited.

Cons: Since spies are usually required to be closed mouth, one can only wonder what other stuff goes on in the espionage world that Javers' contacts wouldn't reveal. Javers' call for more openness in the field in the final chapter seems to come out of nowhere.

Grade: B
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wiacek on May 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Picked this up before a long flight. It's an excellent book. The stories are engaging and supremely interesting. If you would like to learn more about the world of corporate spies, this is a good book to read. I can't wait to finish it on my flight home.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Anne Thomas on February 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It was captivating from the beginning...starting with the conception of corporate espionage and moving into several questionable tactics used by current corporations. Very intriguing.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By G. Ware Cornell Jr. VINE VOICE on February 24, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After nearly thirty-five years in the trenches as a trial lawyer, I am rarely surprised. As an early adapter to information technology in pretrial investigations I have long used Google and Google Earth to gather information on my opponents. Trial lawyers know that knowledge is power and that a little bit of information revealed at the opportune moment can convince a reluctant witness to reveal more than was intended.

Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy exposes the naiveté of such limited investigations. There is in fact a new industry largely staffed by by former intelligence officers (from many countries) who use their spycraft to aid corporations in complex litigation and in making trading decisions. These techniques include using publicly available spy satellite imaging to study the consumption of coal at power-plants to predict when a plant might go offline. Such information can be useful to an energy trader since even a temporary loss of generating capacity produces spikes in prices. Effective interrogation techniques focus on verbal and non-verbal indicia of deception that can be organized systematical to gain the upper hand in depositions over even the most determined witness.

Not every technique employed by these former spies requires a big budget. Good information can be acquired on the cheap by budget limited lawyers willing to study these methods and improvise accordingly.
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