Confidential: Uncover Your Competitors' Top Business Secrets Legally and Quickly--and Protect Your Own

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9780066619842: Confidential: Uncover Your Competitors' Top Business Secrets Legally and Quickly--and Protect Your Own
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A former federal intelligence officer reveals effective strategies, from discovering the design and price of an upcoming product to the perils of entering a new market, for uncovering the competition's secrets and using them to your advantage. Tour.

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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

About the Author:

John Nolan, founder of Phoenix Consulting Group, a Business Intelligence solutions firm, spent twenty-two years in intelligence collection and counterintelligence special operations in the United States, Asia, and Europe. He is well-known in the mainstream business community for his development of integrated solutions to industrial and economic espionage, trade secrets, and other information issues. He is frequently featured in national and international media such as Forbes, George, and CNN.

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