With intelligence now getting a front-row seat in governments around the world, this book is especially timely. Intelligence rains in, but without an understanding of the nature of the intelligence, it accumulates in puddles of obscurity. The problems therefore seem to be how to obtain it, how to understand it, and how to sell it to one's bosses. This book deals with how to understand it. Three fundamental points are at the heart of this presentation about the cognitive challenges intelligence analysts face: The mind is poorly "wired" to deal effectively with both inherent uncertainty (the natural fog surrounding complex, indeterminate intelligence issues) and induced uncertainty (the man-made fog fabricated by denial and deception operations). Even increased awareness of cognitive and other "unmotivated" biases, such as the tendency to see information confirming an already-held judgment more vividly than one sees "disconfirming" information, does little by itself to help analysts deal effectively with uncertainty. Tools and techniques that gear the analyst's mind to apply higher levels of critical thinking can substantially improve analysis on complex issues on which information is incomplete, ambiguous, and often deliberately distorted. Key examples of such intellectual devices include techniques for structuring information, challenging assumptions, and exploring alternative interpretations. This book was first issued by the CIA.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was a really informative read. Well written. I didn't give the full 5 stars only because the figures and pictures were unavailable on the Nook.
This book looks at how analysts assess information (intelligence). It talks about biases and how to minimize their impact. It was most useful to me as a manager when it suggested ways to foster a learning culture and creativity among analysts. In spite of the somewhat daunting title, this book is easy to read, free of jargon and takes a practical approach that would be useful in any work where information is gathered mostly through interpersonal relationships.