Summary of Work Like a Spy

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Work Like a Spy book summary


8 Overall

8 Applicability

8 Innovation

7 Style


J.C. Carleson, a former CIA officer, describes espionage techniques that, when applied in a business setting, can help you gather information that gives you an advantage over your competition. Carleson explains that the agency vetted her manuscript, as it does all books by former employees. She’s generous with the details of “tradecraft” techniques, practice exercises and explanations. She’s also convinced that everyone is spying and that anyone with any ambition needs to spy before they are spied upon. Though Carleson cautions against illegal or immoral behavior, her avid endorsement of certain techniques gives those warnings the tinge of lip service. Her underlying message seems to be: Get what you want however you can. Cautioning you to be sure about the legality of her ideas in your jurisdiction – not to mention their moral standing, getAbstract suggests this manual to those who might walk that line in pursuit of a competitive edge and, more importantly, to those trying to protect their firm against dirty tricks.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How CIA undercover operatives get secret information and
  • How to use “tradecraft” to uncover information about your competitors.

About the Author

J.C. Carleson is a former undercover CIA officer.



The Conversation
The hotel bar had been packed with dozens of convivial trade-show attendees. The hour was late and now only a handful of partyers remained. They included a man in a wrinkled suit who sat at the bar by himself, nursing his final drink of the night. A young, attractive woman...

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    Jeff Sandoval 5 years ago
    This was pretty good and very applicable to our business. I'm certain that our teams are being targeted by competitors and this abstract helped me to think about protecting Samsung intelligence better.

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