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The Secret Language of Competitive Intelligence: How to See Through & Stay Ahead of Business Disruptions, Distortions, Rumors & Smoke Screens Paperback – March 31, 2010
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“Leonard Fuld is the grandmaster of this kind of competitive intelligence work. He knows all about how companies engage in denial and need what he calls a moment of ‘competitive clarity.’ This book walks the reader through his techniques in very clear language. Yet it imparts an extremely sophisticated understanding of how to understand what the competition is doing.” —William J. Holstein, Editor in Chief of Chief Executive
"Leonard Fuld is the guru of competitive intelligence. In his new book, he shows your company how to anticipate competitors' moves, through war games and other methods. His stories and ideas will make you question whether you're doing an adequate job of staying ahead of the competition." —Philip Kotler, S. C. Johnson Distinguished Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
"My challenge as an executive is digesting gobs of loose data. One of the great benefits of Leonard Fuld's The Secret Language of Competitive Intelligence, is to figure out how to filter that data and understand what it really means." —Dr. Ku-Hyun Jung, President, Samsung Economic Research Institute
“A big part of every executive's job is having a clear-eyed realistic understanding of the marketplace. Yet, the problem, as Leonard Fuld says, is that every market is full of ‘distortions, rumors and smoke screens.’ What he does in The Secret Language of Competitive Intelligence is provide potential solutions to the problem with practical tools for separating fact from fiction and the wheat from the chaff. The result is a methodology for understanding whether the competition you face is mediocre, weak or strong, what its future plans are and the steps you need to take to be successful. In short, a smart, easy-to-use set of ideas for how to get the information you need to make the decisions you must.” —Yang Yuanqing, Chairman of the Board, Lenovo Group Ltd --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
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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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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. Read morePublished on March 7, 2013 by JC Gomez
This is a good book. Basic advice and gave me ideas for my competitive project. Add it to your libraryPublished on December 13, 2012 by MurC
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. Read morePublished on November 13, 2007 by ZenGuy
Disorganised and clumsily written. Over stretched elaboration of few examples with bad analysis and little insight. Read morePublished on July 15, 2007 by ServantofGod
With this new work, Leonard Fuld continues to advance the art/science of Competitive Intelligence. Rather than repackage the breakthrough thinking of his earlier works, this book... Read morePublished on August 18, 2006 by Mark T. Greene
The Secret Language of Competitive Intelligence is written in a language everyone can understand. Leonard Fuld sucessfully points out that gathering and understanding competitive... Read morePublished on August 4, 2006 by Jacqueline Brenner
Mr. Fuld has written the text books, which I own and use; now he relates that to real world applications. Read morePublished on August 4, 2006 by Novangelus
Fuld's entertaining story-telling and clear analysis, and detailed explanations of useful competitive intelligence techniques, make this a book full of aha! Read morePublished on August 3, 2006 by Michael Chender