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Spooked: Espionage In Corporate America Paperback – December, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
On the positive side, Chapters 4 & 5 are a useful description of social engineering, that can help the reader better understand how vulnerable an organization is to simple information gathering techniques. It is difficult to find material on the subject of 'Information Brokers', so this book provides a useful source on that subject, although no specific topic is covered in depth.
I found Fialka's book, "War By Other Means," a more informative and interesting read. Fialka's book doesn't discuss the Avery case which comprises the greater part of "Spooked," so the books are somewhat complementary if you are looking for additional examples of industrial espionage.
"Spooked" is a quick read, and outside of some structural weaknesses in its organization, it is an enjoyable enough text. It is more of a 'popular' approach to this subject, aimed at the casual reader who is more interested in titillation than in substance.
This book promises far more than it provides.
One promise might be that it would tell people about competitive intelligence: how it's done and by whom. This book doesn't even come close, and for one of the authors to claim that he does this for a living is ludicrous at best. Not only does he violate the kind of client confidentiality that people who do this for real normally work under, he has no idea of what he's talking about. If you really want to see what this world is all about, go to one of the several excellent books on the topic, written by those who know what they're talking about because they really walk the walk, e.g., Nolan's book CONFIDENTIAL: Uncover Your Competitor's Top Business Secrets Legally and Quickly - and Protect Your Own (HarperBusiness, 1999).
Another promise is that it could be a journalistic inquiry into what is arguably an area of great interest for business professionals who have to learn what's going on in the world. Pennenberg, as a purported journalist, fails to meet muster by a wide margin. If you want to learn from somebody who is both a quality journalist as well as someone who knows about the topics that he's writing about, I've found Kahaner's book "Competitive Intelligence: From Black Ops to Boardrooms - How Businesses Gather, Analyze and Use Information to Succeed in The Global Marketplace" (Simon & Schuster, 1996) to be as good as it gets. ....Read more ›
I previously worked in the research laboratory of one of the world's largest chemical companies and was conducting research on polymer-based adhesives for (our customer) Avery Dennison when the espionage occurred. I have followed the case in the press, pleased that a company of their size was not willing to simply roll over and sweep the incident under the rug. Along with some of my former colleagues I had championed their case within my firm, and upon learning of the book's pending release, had anticipated learning more about it. But the author's overstatements far exceed their output.
The book is short, less than 200 hundred pages, with no follow on references for further study. The Avery Dennison case is worthy of careful analysis, as it could have far reaching application in global business practices. But this book fails to even approach such a level. The result is some light-weight dinner conversation, an article that grew too big, by a couple of authors who perhaps are not as qualified to speak on the subject as they would like to be.
Take the same two guys, and have them write down a few strung-together stories in a book with little substance and style. When you read the results in the sober light of day, it's not very good. That's the feeling I got here.
Mr. Penenberg is a business investigative journalist. As such, he knows how to dangle a promise. The trouble is, he doesn't seem to have the material to support his promise. The few stories about corporate intelligence gathering in this book are uninspiring in the extreme. Anyone who has worked in a company for a few months could tell better stories than these.
Mr. Barry is an intelligence gathering practitioner, and he provides one interesting, cogent account of finding out about better ways to make frozen pizza crusts. It was the only story in the book that moved smoothly from promise to fulfilling the promise. The rest just seemed to ramble.
The bulk of the book is about the case of a Taiwanese company caught in an FBI sting taking confidential Avery Dennison "trade secrets" from an Avery Dennison employee. You first learn how the employee came to steal from Avery Dennison. Then you find out how his employer caught on. Next, the book describes how the employee was hung out to dry so he could be bait for his illegal employer, the Taiwanese company. Following that you get the videotaped sting. The rest involves legal maneuverings through a criminal and civil law suit, the other suits filed by the Taiwanese company, and how the two companies competed with each other while this was going on.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Informative, but not as in depth and dirty as one would like. Is there any "espionage" books that really delve into procedure and not simply rely on vague narratives from there... Read morePublished on January 9, 2011 by Lazaro
The title and subtitle of this book promise drama on par with a well wrought spy thriller. Sadly, that seems like mostly a marketing ploy to cover what in the end is just a... Read morePublished on February 16, 2010 by Amazon Customer
By focusing on a single case (Avery Dennison/Four Pillars) the author then attempts to spiral out to other examples, many surface-only stories and "anonymous" source tales. Read morePublished on May 28, 2008 by Garth O. Bruen
I bought this book wanted to learn a little bit about corporate espionage but didn't really find anything too intriguing about it. Read morePublished on March 31, 2007 by D. Rusnac
I found the book on my gf's shelf, and thought it would be fun read. Typically I read the book cover to cover including the Preface etc, which is where I found the warning that... Read morePublished on January 25, 2007 by Mark Vinokur
I picked up this thin hardback as a remaindered item, and it was worth what I paid for it. The book is about corporate espionage (and the field of "competitive intelligence") by a... Read morePublished on December 1, 2004 by James J. Lippard
Barry is rather an oddball for a usually very button downed profession. He comes off as a field ops guy, not an HQ analyst like Herring. Read morePublished on September 11, 2003
Penenberg, a writer for Time and Forbes, and Barry, the head of his own intelligence company, have written an easy-to-read, but yet disjointed book on the use of intelligence... Read morePublished on August 26, 2003 by Mark Robinson
Information gathering is a serious tool used extensively in the corporate world. Penenberg and Barry reveal techniques commonly used to ferret out information regarding corporate... Read morePublished on August 16, 2002 by Peggy Davis