“The book you are holding will fundamentally change the way you look at the collection, compartmentalization, analysis, distribution, application, and protection of intelligence in your business. J. C. Carleson’s presentation of years of spy tradecraft will make you a more effective force within your organization.”
—James Childers, CEO, ASG Global, Inc.
When J. C. Carleson left the corporate world to join the CIA, she expected an adventure, and she found it. Her assignments included work in Iraq as part of a weapons of mass destruction search team, travels throughout Afghanistan, and clandestine encounters with foreign agents around the globe. What she didn’t expect was that the skills she acquired from the CIA would be directly applicable to the private sector.
It turns out that corporate America can learn a lot from spies—not only how to respond to crises but also how to achieve operational excellence. Carleson found that the CIA gave her an increased understanding of human nature, new techniques for eliciting information, and improved awareness of potential security problems, adding up to a powerful edge in business.
Using real examples from her experiences, Carle-son explains how working like a spy can teach you the principles of:
Targeting—figuring out who you need to know and how to get to them
Elicitation—a subtle way to get the answers you need without even asking a question
Counterintelligence—how to determine if your organization is unwittingly leaking information
Screening—CIA recruiters’ methods for finding and hiring the right people
The methods developed by the CIA are all about getting what you want from other people. In a business context, these techniques apply to seeking a new job, a promotion, a big sale, an advantageous regulatory ruling, and countless other situations.
As Carleson writes, “In a world where information has a price, it pays to be vigilant.” Her book will show you how.
Former CIA officer Carleson applies the techniques she learned from her years undercover to jobs in the corporate world. Her tips are intended to help readers succeed on the individual level and to help them create better organizations. Heavily emphasizing human intelligence and interpersonal skills rather than technology, Carleson organizes her book into three sections that cover the basic skills used by CIA agents: building rapport, elicitation, and corroboration. She then explains how these skills can be used in work situations, including scenarios drawn from the business environment and the world of clandestine operations. VERDICT While this book includes anecdotes and scenarios from Carleson's work in the CIA, it's not intended for aspiring secret agents. However, the tips will prove helpful to those looking to improve their efficiency and work relationships.—Elizabeth Nelson, UOP Library, Des Plaines, IL
In this clever twist on the career self-help genre, former CIA agent Carleson takes the principles that she learned in clandestine service and applies them to today's business world. "CIA officers may not face the same legal, logistical or financial constraints that business professionals do. They do, however, have goals, objectives and aspirations, just like their counterparts in the corporate world," she notes. Without revealing sensitive CIA information or advocating corporate espionage, the author explores a wide range of topics—among them, basic principles of intelligence, developing one's "operational instincts," employee recruitment, crisis management, and fending off competitors. Honesty—which one might expect to be in short supply in the cloak-and-dagger world—is strongly recommended, as is behaving ethically even in the face of great temptation. Carleson also offers advice on problem solving and managing one's personal life so it reflects positively in a business sense. Crisis management issues—and eight strategies for dealing with them—are explained in detail, with lessons learned from how the CIA reformed itself after 9/11. This quick and enjoyable read offers plentiful nuggets of information, which can be put to good use by any career-minded reader. (Feb.)
J. C. CARLESON worked for Starbucks (corporate), Baxter International, and Tektronix prior to leaving the private sector to enter the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine service. She was an undercover CIA officer for eight years.