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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
"The Secret Language of Competitive Intelligence" consists of the usual assembly of anecdotes, accompanied by no clear credible means of assimilating intelligence or proceeding.

One example, in particular, struck a chord - AT&T's entry into the credit-card business, summarized by "Why should AT&T not enter the credit-card industry?" One reason might be because it subsequently withdrew - I had such a card, and it was canceled by Citi Card because the free phone privileges were too expensive. Regardless, clearly Fuld had drifted off-course - deciding to enter the credit-card business is a strategic, not a competitive-intelligence gathering issue.

Fuld notwithstanding, I still think the best path to competitive intelligence is to keep abrest of the business literature (not just your own industry - sometimes innovations in other areas can be applied into one's own; use the Internet, business conferences, and business magazines), interview applicants from competitor companies, ask your most alert customers what they'd like to see and what they're looking forward to (from anyone), and similarly inquire of your best suppliers regarding new innovations they are planning or aware of.

In addition, periodically ask yourself/associates, "What if . . .?" (Eg. Macy's, Nordstroms, etc. should be wondering "What if Wal-Mart started selling up-market clothes?" This is particularly important because it's no secret that they are planning to do so, and this could decimate high-market department stores. So, how are they likely to start, who knows what, etc.

Finally, regardless of source, keep the information in a handy notebook, grouped in some useful manner. (P.S. There is no "secret" language of competitive intelligence.)

Hopefully this review saved you $15.72, plus shipping and the time wasted reading a boring 320 pages.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is a nice book but I am a bid disappointed after the book "The new competitor intelligence" from L. Fuld, as I was expecting more structures and proceedures. In stead it deliveres a lot of examples. It is not bad but for me his previous book I can recommend more. "The new competitor intelligence" contains details about the whole CI-Process, sources and structures.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The book was a good primer on what intelligence is, and performed an exploration of cultural intelligence. The treatment of investigating not just your competitors, but also your supply chain or customers as an intelligence effort, are well done. Fuld spends some time discussing the ethics of collecting information on each of these categories of people and what we in America think is "fair" in the games of business.

The book is an easy read and, I think, pretty interesting. Where it falls short is in failing to provide any specific structure or plan of action that the reader can implement. Having learned what intelligence is, and how and why it is useful, Fuld leaves the reader with few tools to plow forward towards success. He touches only briefly on what, in the military, is called the "Intelligence Collection Cycle" or an intel collection plan and readers would benefit greatly from learning the 7 steps (or however many he wanted to make them) to developing a formal, structured, intelligence collection plan for one's company. If thought out in a systemmatic way, the actual collection of information is far less tedious, much of it can be automated, and it will not just be used in performing static research, but can be a living tool to actively inform management decision on a daily basis. For example, if set up, automated processes can inform you that your competitor just fired one of their top managers and suggest that you contact that manager and either try to hire them, or learn more about their former employer.

Overall, the book is well worth buying if you are new to intelligence as a profession. If you have done intelligence formally before, the book is less useful.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
There is little doubt that the world has entered a new stage in terms of the competitive landscape for business. Globalization, the communications and transport revolutions, growing integration of capital markets, etc. have combined together to alter the dynamics of competition in rather fundamental ways. Yet, at the same time, some things have not really changed. Knowing and understanding your competition has been and will continue to be one of the key success factors for businesses irrespective of whether the world is flat or flatter than before.

Lenny Fuld, leveraging his many years of experience in the world of competitive intelligence, has written a book that is must reading for every corporate executive serious about building and maintaining a competitive edge today and in the future. Fuld takes us through the multiple ways companies can learn more about the marketplace in which they are operating and the tools and thinking of their competitors. His insights come from not only teaching others how to engage in useful information collecting and analysis, but also from working himself in the trenches and at senior levels with numerous major Fortune-500 clients in a broad array of industries and business settings. I was impressed by his real world understanding of business competition, esp. his notions about the ways in which companies quite unknowingly can expose themselves to "attack" by not being vigilant about their own information and data.

Some might think competitive intelligence is simply a commercial version of the CIA, and that competitive intelligence is a nasty part of business that does not get discussed in formal settings with "ladies and gentlemen" present. This would be a big mistake. Rather, as Fuld shows us, winning in the 21st century is about command of information--this command of information is about more than the quantity that can be collected. It is about targeting, processing, and adding value to the right kind of information to help explain what the competition is doing and why they may be doing something new, different or counter-intuitive. Fuld is to be commended for taking the challenge of competing in the 21st century to a new level. With competitiion becoming increasingly global and more intense, developing and utilizing an effective competitive intelligence capability may be the difference between winning and losing at home and abroad.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Disorganised and clumsily written. Over stretched elaboration of few examples with bad analysis and little insight. Failed miserably to deliver the promise on the front cover of "How to see through.......". One of the worst business books I had ever read. With a good editor the book can be trimmed to 1/5 of its current weight without losing any value at all and making it a more interesting read. A waste of a good topic, time of readers and papers to print it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Since the author has a reputation of being one of the top competitive intelligence consultants in the United States, I expected some very saavy analysis and commentary. He goes through a number of examples with various business cases and industries, but most of the information is very basic. Most competitive intelligence practitioners already know how to sift through the Internet for information instead of using a traditional library.

There were few if any strategies outlined for building and developing the CI function within an organization. The war game scenario involving Google, Yahoo, and AOL was actually very basic, and you got the impression that war games are very disorganized events that provide little strategic insight. I would like to see the author really outline how to create and develop a competitive intelligence function, and also link CI to primary marketing research more. CI is just a sub-field of marketing research and it needs to be developed in that context.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Competitive intelligence is one of the key building blocks required for the development and maintenance of successful business strategies. Leonard Fuld's book shows how this targeted knowledge aids businesses in making the right decisions. It is a must read for those involved in strategic planning and for anyone in a competitive industry. It gives you insights, and lets you take it from there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a good book. Basic advice and gave me ideas for my competitive project. Add it to your library
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on March 8, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I enjoyed reading the way that analytical techniques can be applied to getting a strategic advantage over competitors. Thought provoking and a simple to understand. The concepts expressed in this book can be easily applied by small businesses and larger companies.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Leonard Fuld is generally considered the dean of competitive intelligence, an important field that's unfortunately poorly understood -- often by those top-level corporate officers who need it most. This is his first book for a general audience, enlivened by tales from Fuld's long experience (the book opens with a fascinating account of Kodak's refusal to understand how digital photography was transforming the market). I read it in two sittings and was most impressed by the clarity of Fuld's reasoning. "The Secret Language of Competitive Intelligence" is valuable and compelling reading.
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