The Code of Trust: An American Counterintelligence Expert's Five Rules to Lead and Succeed

The Code of Trust: An American Counterintelligence Expert's Five Rules to Lead and Succeed


$6.98 $25.99 Save 73% Current price is $6.98, Original price is $25.99. You Save 73%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Monday, October 22  Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.
    Same Day shipping in Manhattan. 
    See Details


The Code of Trust: An American Counterintelligence Expert's Five Rules to Lead and Succeed by Robin Dreeke, Cameron Stauth

A counterintelligence expert shows readers how to use trust to achieve anything in business and in life.

Robin Dreeke is a 28-year veteran of federal service, including the United States Naval Academy, United States Marine Corps. He served most recently as a senior agent in the FBI, with 20 years of experience. He was, until recently, the head of the Counterintelligence Behavioral Analysis Program, where his primary mission was to thwart the efforts of foreign spies, and to recruit American spies. His core approach in this mission was to inspire reasonable, well-founded trust among people who could provide valuable information.

The Code of Trust is based on the system Dreeke devised, tested, and implemented during years of field work at the highest levels of national security. Applying his system first to himself, he rose up through federal law enforcement, and then taught his system to law enforcement and military officials throughout the country, and later to private sector clients. The Code of Trust has since elevated executives to leadership, and changed the culture of entire companies, making them happier and more productive, as morale soared.

Inspiring trust is not a trick, nor is it an arcane art. It’s an important, character-building endeavor that requires only a sincere desire to be helpful and sensitive, and the ambition to be more successful at work and at home. The Code of Trust is based on 5 simple principles:

1) Suspend Your Ego
2) Be Nonjudgmental
3) Honor Reason
4) Validate Others
5) Be Generous

To be successful with this system, a reader needs only the willingness to spend eight to ten hours learning a method of trust-building that took Robin Dreeke almost a lifetime to create.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594920878
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 08/08/2017
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 130,604
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

ROBIN DREEKE entered federal law enforcement in 1997, after graduating from the US Naval Academy and serving in the US Marine Corps. He received advanced training and operational experience in social psychology and in the practical application of the science of relationship development. Eventually he rose to direct the behavioral analysis program in a federal law enforcement agency. Dreeke is currently an agent of the FBI and lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

CAMERON STAUTH is the author or co-author of more than twenty books, including several national and international bestsellers. Stauth is one of America’s leading nonfiction authors, best known for his narrative nonfiction and medical books.

Read an Excerpt



Trust in the Streets of New York

I am going to tell you how to inspire trust, and rise to the rare level of leadership that only trust can confer. It's a simple lesson, but not an easy one.

Here it is, fully revealed, in all its simplicity. First: Be eminently worthy of trust. Second: Prove you are.

Could anything be harder than that?

The first part is hard, and the second is even harder.

How many people in your life — and even in history — do you consider worthy of absolute trust?

Who would you trust with your life? The lives of your family? Your life savings? Your deepest secrets? Your career? Your reputation?

Would you trust your best friend? Would you place your full trust in our current president, a past president, or any current office holder? What about your doctor or attorney? Your boss? Your business partner? Your brother or sister? Your spouse?

Would you follow that person's lead implicitly, and do whatever you possibly could for them, with minimal questioning?

You probably would do that for some of these people. That's common — especially if they're family — and it's healthy.

Some of that trust may rest upon universal social agreements: "You're my mother, so I trust you." Even more commonly, though, your trust may stem in part from contractual agreements that imply at least a minor degree of uncertainty: a business contract, a confidentiality agreement, a prenuptial agreement, a living will that governs the treatment of your loved ones, or your citizen's right to remove untrustworthy people from power.

There's no shame in that degree of uncertainty. It's not easy to grant someone your trust, especially when it concerns things you can't afford to lose, such as your marriage, the well-being of your children, your job, your assets, your professional reputation, or your personal honor.

Often, it's even harder to trust people than it is to love them.

That said: it's just as hard for people to trust you.

I'm going to tell you how to make it easier for them.

When you do learn how — and you will — you'll have the central quality of character that defines all great leaders. People are happy to follow those they trust, and rarely follow those that they don't trust. That's a wise and deeply embedded element of human nature.

Of course, from time to time, people that you don't trust may temporarily have power over you. They might be bullies, or people who gambled, lied, or manipulated their way into power.

That kind of power doesn't last, and the influence of those people fades fast. Bullies are overthrown, liars are exposed, gamblers lose, manipulators make mistakes — and trustworthy people inevitably take their place. The world isn't perfect, but it does reward and empower those who have earned the honor of being trusted.

Those who inspire trust are the only people who can retain the power of personal influence for a lifetime, and wield it without revolt or resentment. They are the great people in history, and the great people in your own life: strong, humble, and dedicated to your own best interests.

Some people are natural born leaders who can inspire trust without even trying. But most people who inspire trust need to be taught, and they often learn the lessons through pain, failure, and humbling moments. If you're lucky and smart, though, you can learn it from a good teacher.

I'm in a good position to teach you how to inspire trust, because I had to learn it myself. I'm not a born leader. I thought I was, until I finally looked at myself with unblinking honesty. Like most people who long to be great leaders but have to learn the art, I paid dearly for the lessons.

The only way for me to become the man that people now trust was to analyze every hard lesson I learned from the fine leaders around me, and characterize it, categorize it, prioritize it, test it, tweak it, and integrate it into a system.

I'll teach you that system, and make the lessons easier for you than they were for me.

As I said, it won't be easy, but I have to assume that you're intelligent enough to grasp hard lessons, or you wouldn't even be looking at a serious book like this. You're probably also someone who sincerely yearns to inspire genuine, well-placed trust — or you'd be looking at books with a quick fix, full of tricks: Trust for Dummies. There definitely are books about how to manipulate people into trusting you, but this isn't one of them. Manipulation is about pushing people. Trust is about leading them.

How do you achieve that lofty goal? Again, I can give you a simple answer that's hard to do.

To inspire trust, put others first.

That single, central action empowers all legendary leaders.

It is so grounded in common sense that — like other self-evident truths — it is often overlooked.

It's easy to lead people when you put their needs first — but it's almost impossible when you're only serving yourself.

If you adopt another person's goal as part of your goal, why shouldn't they follow your lead? If you don't, why should they?

This philosophy, to some extent, goes against the grain of popular business and social culture, in which creating trust is often reduced to various forms of manipulation, and is typically referred to as "winning" trust, as if that sacred goal were a game.

Many books teach the dubious arts of manipulation — but there are no other books that offer the lessons in this one. Trust me. I looked for one before I started writing.

It's also widely believed that the fast track to success is to carefully narrow your focus to your own goals. But that's one of those lazy shortcuts that just slows you down. Success comes far faster when you inspire others to merge their goals with yours, and forge ahead with you, in unison.

For many people, therefore, this book offers a new outlook, and a new set of lessons.

We'll start your lessons where I started mine: in the streets of New York City, among spies and counterspies.

If you can learn trust there, you can learn it anywhere.

It was 1997: a pivotal time in foreign affairs. The Cold War had ended, but it still had the potential, as simmering conflicts always do, to rage again — probably not as a military march toward mutually assured destruction, but as a battle for the true power of the twenty-first century: economic domination, backed by the dark swagger of limited but deadly engagements.

The new world order of that era had created both chaos and unlimited opportunity, and there was even less trust among the world's superpowers at that time than there is now. No one knew where the countries of the newly disintegrated Soviet bloc were headed: to democracy, to dictatorship, to prosperity, to ruin, or to war. For America, it was a delicate tipping point in history, and it needed to be handled just right.

If, at that time, the direction of American foreign affairs had been up to me — a fledgling FBI Case Agent working boots-on-the-ground in national security — things probably would not have been handled right.

I had a lot to learn.

I didn't know it then, but I would learn a great deal of what I needed to know on the first day of my first important assignment in the field.

I learned so much that at the end of that day, as you'll soon see, I didn't even know how much I'd learned. It took me years to break down the basics of what happened, and use that knowledge to develop my comprehensive system for inspiring trust.

When I eventually became the head of the Counterintelligence Division's Behavioral Analysis Program, I presented this system to thousands of FBI agents and other law enforcement officials. I've also taught it to hundreds of military groups, corporate groups, law firms, financial institutions, and universities. In addition, I've counseled a select group of CEOs, academicians, public servants, and think-tank analysts.

My system is based on two straightforward, tightly linked components:

(1) The Code of Trust: a set of five rules of engagement that must be embraced by all who wish to inspire legitimate, lasting trust.

(2) The Four Steps to Inspiring Trust: an action plan that implements the Code of Trust. The Steps make the Code work in the real world. This world, however, is rightly skeptical — but the Four Steps also demonstrate your mastery of trustworthiness — to your family, your friends, your coworkers, and your supervisors. It shows people that you are a person to be trusted with the fates of others, and the responsibility of leadership.

Most people can master this system, but it presents a steep learning curve for those who are still trapped in the outdated but still common attitude that the best way to achieve compliance with one's wishes is through crafty manipulation, appeals to emotion, velvet-glove coercion, and by outmaneuvering and out-thinking others. If some elements of that approach apply to you, you're probably looking for a better way to lead: one that's more effective, simpler, and more equitable and attractive to others. You want leadership that lasts a lifetime. We all do.

When you unlock the secrets of this fine form of leadership, you will naturally amass a group of people who trust you — a veritable tribe of trust — and they'll all know other people who trust them. At that point, your reach and influence will expand exponentially, with leadership flourishing in its wake.

If you're truly conscientious and self-aware, you may be questioning, at this point in your journey to leadership, if you really do deserve the full trust of others.

It's very possible that, yes, you do deserve trust — but just haven't yet mastered the ability to inspire it in everyone around you.

Or maybe, like many people, you're still struggling, as a student of trust, to learn how to be 100 percent worthy of it. Perhaps you haven't yet achieved the ability — or understood the power — of putting the needs of other people first.

Both of these challenges can be met.

If you're worthy of trust but aren't sure how to convey this to others, this book will help show you how.

If you really aren't, at this point, fully worthy of everyone's trust, you can learn to be. Character is never a constant in a world governed by change.

Inspiring trust is truly an interpersonal art form. But even in its complexity, it is — as you'll see — the kind of art that can be achieved through the paint-by-numbers techniques that comprise my system. The techniques are derived from social psychology, evolutionary psychology, neurobiology, classic codes of morality, business tradition, historical fact, and common sense.

Most of the people who have learned my system have been professionals who apply it in their jobs, but the lessons of this system are not solely applicable at work. Even people who aren't very career oriented still want to be trusted. We all want to be the type of person who makes friends easily, and keeps them. We all want other people to trust us enough to share their secrets. We want to be the type of adult that children naturally gravitate toward. We want to be trusted by our wives or husbands: in our relationships, and our partnerships. We want to lead our families without rancor, and show our children how to lead. And we want to be the person who gets treated in an equally friendly way by supervisors, subordinates, strangers, store clerks, and old friends.

None of this is possible if you don't exude authentic trust. By the time you have internalized the five rules of the Code of Trust, and mastered the actions of the Four Steps, you will be the person that others naturally turn to for direction.

In this chapter, we'll jump straight into the Code and the Steps. I'll teach you the lessons of trust through stories about my career as an agent and program director at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where I learned most of what I know about trust. Other examples of the power of trust will come from my days as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, an officer in the U.S. Marines, and also from my personal life, and my work as a business consultant.

All of the FBI stories are set in the arena of intelligence and counterintelligence, where I worked for about twenty years. In the profession of spies and counterspies, trust is a scarce commodity, even though it's the currency of the trade.

This isn't a spy novel — it's about the qualities and techniques that will make you a better person, and a trusted leader. Even so, there's a strong element of entertainment in it, because lessons don't need to be boring. In these lessons, you'll probably see yourself, partly because the favorite topic of most of us is — no surprise — us. A tenet of behavioral science is that approximately 40 percent of what we say every day is about ourselves. That's natural and normal, and is absolutely necessary for the introspection that creates self-knowledge and growth. So to have fun, and get the most from this first chapter and all the others, look for yourself.

Here's the first of many drills for you: as you read the story in the first chapter, try to figure out the five rules of the Code, and the actions of the Four Steps, before I spell them out at the end of the chapter.

While you do it, make a mental note of how many of them you already knew. If you recognize several of them as old friends that are part of your existing character, it's a good sign. If you don't, it means you're learning, and that's good, too. I'll be brief. Your time is valuable, I'm grateful for it, and I promise to finish as quickly as possible. This book is about you, not me.

New York City, 1997

Jesse Thorne, my mentor on my first important day in the field, said, "When our guy gets here, I'm going to promise him that we'll finish this as quickly as possible."


"Because his time's valuable, and I'm grateful for it. This is about him, not us.

"If he thinks we'll drag this out, he'll pull away. If we get to the point, it shows that we respect him — as a professional and as a person — and nothing opens the door to trust better than plain-old respect. So talk nice to him, and make a connection."

"But we don't know him, so we have no reason to respect him. Especially under our current, uh ..." — I tried to remember some good spy lingo, but couldn't — "circumstance."

The circumstance was that we were tasked with uncovering espionage, and we were hoping that this guy would give us insight into a known spy.

"We'll find a reason. There's always a good reason to respect someone, and there's never a good reason to judge them. But that doesn't mean we have to be friends."

"Then what?"

"Then we'll ask him about himself, and figure out his context."


"Spy talk: It means, what kind of guy he is, where he's from, what he likes. We'll ascertain his context. Learn important stuff. We don't make small talk."


"And then we make small talk: all of it about him."


"To make friends." The bewildered look on my face made him smile. Jesse loved to play the Jedi Master, and enlighten poor, dumb me with his paradoxical Zen insights. "You can never have too many friends," he said.

When we walked into the restaurant to meet our Access Agent — the guy who knew the spy we wanted to expose — Jesse nodded slightly at some of the staff and they nodded slightly back. He often did business here because it was a controlled environment, owned by a former FBI agent, with a staff that knew not to ask too many questions, or come around too often. Choosing the right place for a meeting is part of an investigative technique called crafting your encounters.

The restaurant had an upscale Irish-pub atmosphere, and exuded comfort and security, with plush booths and soft lighting that was coupled with the inviting smells of well-oiled leather, polished oak, sizzling steak, and baking bread. It was the kind of place that made you want to stay, and it was out of the way, where our contact wouldn't have to worry about getting spotted with FBI: a strong concern to some.

At the open grill, behind a bar as smooth and slick as a bowling lane, juicy top sirloins dripped onto charcoal and kicked up yellow spires of fire that lent further to the atmosphere of contentment. The creature comforts were critically important, because in a first encounter — or any other in which you're trying to inspire trust — it's important to treat people well.

That especially applied to Access Agents — another term for confidential human sources of information. Intelligence gained directly from a human being, referred to as HUMINT, is often considered more valuable in clandestine operations than information from any other source — such as imagery intelligence, called IMINT, or public knowledge, known as open-source intelligence: OSINT. In the final analysis, the perspective and experience of a person is the gold standard of information. That's another reason why trust is so important.


Excerpted from "The Code of Trust"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Robin Dreeke.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Part One

The Leadership Power of Trust

Chapter One Beyond Manipulation: THE CODE OF TRUST

Chapter Two The Five Rules of Engagement

Chapter Three Breaking The Code

Chapter Four The Chemistry of Trust: It's All About Us

Part Two

Inspire Trust: The Four Steps

Chapter Five Step 1: Align Your Goal!
Chapter Six Step 2: Apply the Power of Context!

Chapter Seven Step 3: Craft the Encounter!

Chapter Eight Step 4: Connect!

Part Three

Wielding the Power of Trust

Chapter Nine Trust in the Digital Age

Chapter Ten The Power of Trust in a Toxic Environment

Chapter Eleven The Lifetime of Lasting Leadership

Chapter Twelve Trust Training Manual: 15 Drills

Appendix Your User's Guide to The Code of Trust

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Code of Trust: An American Counterintelligence Expert's Five Rules to Lead and Succeed 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the book, but I think he could've stopped 25 pages sooner. There was no need to keep breaking down the meantime Nintendo of words and concepts, just my opinion.