Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Confidential: Uncover Your Competitors' Top Business Secrets Legally and Quickly--and Protect Your Own Hardcover – July, 1999
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
People say the darnedest things. They tell you how much money they make, how well their company did in the last quarter, what it'll take to undercut their latest bid on a government project or to undermine their marketing efforts. All you have to do is ask.
John Nolan, a 22-year veteran of international espionage who is currently involved in corporate intelligence-gathering, shows you how to ask, what to ask, when to ask, and whom to ask. The methods can be as simple as deliberately making a misstatement--"The toothpaste division sure missed its projections this quarter"--and getting someone who knows better to correct you, in the process supplying you with the information you want about his company's inner workings. Or they can be as complicated as patiently and doggedly piecing together tiny scraps of information from a number of sources. Whichever you resort to, Nolan shows a conversational method for ensuring that the person dispensing the information doesn't even remember he or she gave it out. No, it's not hypnotism; it's starting and ending a conversation with generalities, and discussing specifics only in the middle, the part of a chat that most people won't recall.
Confidential could be useful to anyone who needs information about a rival, or who needs to protect his or her own company's secrets. Nolan illustrates his points with examples from business (how Johnson & Johnson gathered intelligence that protected its Tylenol franchise from a rival product) as well as fiction (Appendix A is dedicated to the techniques used by Sherlock Holmes to elicit information). The result is an entertaining book that may take your business to a more intelligent level. --Lou Schuler
"The next best thing to knowing all about your own business is to know all about the other fellow's business." -- -- John D. Rockefeller
"Confidential brings into the private sector the most misunderstood, and consequently, underused facet of government intelligencethe human source. In a thoroughly enjoyable fashion, John Nolan educates the reader on how to access and use this critical intelligence resource, for both competitive advantage and security." -- Jan P. Herring, former director of business intelligence, Motorola
"Confidential is a must-read for anyone wanting to conduct and utilize competitive intelligence the right way. Nolan concisely captures the elicitation techniques executives can use to ethically and legally capture competitive information to prevail in the hypercompetitive marketplace." -- Ava Harth Youngblood, president, Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals
"Be it from the clinical investigator or the attorney or the factory worker, unintentional information leaks are flowing like a flood. Written in a revealing and provocative manner, Confidential is must-reading for those who should be guarding shareholders' information assets." -- Lewis W. Lehr, former chairman of the board and chief executive officer, 3M
"John Nolan is the Sherlock Holmes of the new millennium. This is absolutely the best book I have ever read on competitive information elicitation." -- Geary Soska, director of competitor intelligence, Goodyear
"Remarkably thorough, engagingly written, and above all, useful the day one starts to read it, Confidential describes ethical and legal procedures and thought processes that, with some practice, yield greater confidence in decisions that must be made `ahead of the curve.' The increased return on investment in opportunities taken, trade secrets kept, and market advantage gained make Confidential worth its weight in consultants' invoices." -- George A. Dennis, director of competitor intelligence, Bellcore
"The next best thing to knowing all about your own business is to know all about the other fellow's business." -- John D. Rockefeller
Top customer reviews
Nolan gives clear answers to guide businesses in the process of protecting their proprietary information. It is a must-read for those involved in this work.
The discussion of interviewing skills will be on my list to re-read once a year. It is a valuable resource.
In my practice as a marketing consultant to this size business, I'm amazed at how little companies often know about the competitors who are eating them for lunch. And then, how do they find the information that can make a difference? Where can they go to find expert help?
It is for precisely those reasons, I picked up this book. What an education I got and have already passed along to clients. The author very succinctly describes the whole gamut..from how to get information all the way to how to protect your company's trade secrets.
Of particular interest to me was the whole section on capitalizing on trade shows. This is typically a major expense yet, the opportunity is mainly wasted because companies don't realize the potential contacts they can make and information they can gather. Worse yet, they have no idea what the risk might be of having their employees give away information to those competitors "in the know" or who have already read this book.
While this topic is quite serious, the author manages to make it an fascinating read. He sprinkles enough stories from his career as a government intelligence officer to keep you guessing.
For anyone who thinks this is all bogus "spy" stuff, guess again. Everything the author recommends is completely legal and aboveboard. Those companies who are out there following his recommendations are pulling ahead of the competition. That's why this book is landing on my clients' desks.
John is the master of elicitation skills and shares many of these techniques with the reader and also explains that elicitation works cross-culturally since its basis is human nature. Elicitation is basically conversational interviewing which takes a lot more skill than the standard question and answer journalistic style of interviewing. John gives tips on how to build your elicitation skills and includes a process to prepare for an elicitation exercise. I have both used these elicitation skills and taught them to others over the years. Sales, marketing, product development...anyone that collects information for your company can benefit from elicitation skills. Sales not only improves collection using elicitation skills, but also win rates! Everyone can benefit from counterintelligence practices and sensitivity.
I have recommended this book to many, many people, and will continue to do so. It obviously does not cover how to get information via the Internet or social networking--but recognize that is not its focus: primary collection and counterintelligence are and John did an admirable job.