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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Confidential: Uncover Your Competitors' Top Business Secrets Legally and Quickly--and Protect Your Own » User review

Why Wait?

  • Jan 11, 2000
Many organizations do little (if anything) to protect their most valuable information. I don't know why. The first objective of Confidential is to explain what an effective intelligence gathering system is and does. The second objective is to explain how companies can effectively protect the intelligence they possess. Drawing upon more than twenty years of extensive prior experience in intelligence and counterintelligence, Nolan offers a number of "tools" and "techniques" from which to select those most appropriate. (He even helps with the selection process.) Perhaps the best place to begin is to complete what he calls an "intelligence audit." It consists of two different clusters of basic questions:

First: What do we need to know? Why? What do we need to know that we do not as yet know? How and from which sources can we obtain what we lack? Finally, what are our strategic objectives? For example, what kinds of intelligence will we probably need within the next 12-18 months? Why?

Then: What does our own intelligence consist of? How is it organized? Which of it is most valuable? Why? From whom should our most valuable intelligence be protected? How?

The "good news" is that any organization can (with appropriate modifications) implement a system based on Nolan's Integrated Business Intelligence Model. The "bad news" is that any organization lacking such a system remains vulnerable to adversaries who have such a system in place. Organizations claim that their "most valuable assets walk out the door at the end of each day." As Nolan explains in Confidential, the implications of that statement often involve much more than generally realized. Stated bluntly, those "most valuable assets" could well include proprietary information which should not be removed (usually having been photcopied) at the end of a business day.

One final point: Nothing which Nolan recommends is either illegal or unethical. Indeed, most organizations make it so easy for competitors to obtain the information desired that there is no need for illegal or unethical initiatives. Purchase this book, follow its advice, and thereby enable your organizatoion to obtain the information it needs while protecting from its comnpetitors the information they would love to have. Why wait?

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About the reviewer
Robert Morris ()
Ranked #168
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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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 ...

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ISBN-10: 006661984X
ISBN-13: 978-0066619842
Author: John Nolan
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

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