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Business Confidential: Lessons for Corporate Success from Inside the CIA
Peter Earnest and Maryann Karinch

Retail Price: $24.95
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Format: Hardcover, 240pp.
ISBN: 9780814414484
Publisher: AMACOM
Pub. Date: November 17, 2010

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Finding and recruiting the best people. Training them with the skills they need to get the job done. Establishing connections with the right people. Making contingency plans and dealing with change, mistakes, and the unexpected...all while getting the job done. Sound like the CIA, or what you do at the office every day?

Deeply involved in America’s Cold War intelligence operations, Peter Earnest knows the surprising similarities between what the Central Intelligence Agency does to coordinate operations and protect the country and what any smart organization can do to protect its bottom line. In Business Confidential: Lessons for Corporate Success from Inside the CIA, Earnest and coauthor Maryann Karinch demonstrate what you and your organization can learn from how the CIA does business.

Filled with fascinating and instructive examples from CIA operations and the business world, Business Confidential vividly illustrates the value of the intelligence mindset in today’s unpredictable corporate landscape. You’ll find out how to:
  • Develop enormous competitive advantage by collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information that is genuinely “intelligence”
  • Lure and retain high-caliber talent by discovering what truly motivates people to want to work for you
  • Take continual steps to encourage loyalty and creative thinking
  • Use mistakes as a springboard to create success rather than let them foil your plans
  • Master the arts of risk assessment and risk mitigation using the same methods the CIA has used for years
  • Discover how the CIA’s intelligence cycle specifically corresponds to the strategic planning cycle of a company, and how you can execute the plans smoothly at your own organization
In addition, the book gives you insights into the Agency’s extraordinary screening, testing, and training practices; methods for supporting employee retention; creative and agile problem solving; and methods for establishing mission-focused outcomes. Packed with insider strategies from one of the world’s smartest intelligence organizations, this book provides you with the intel you need to gain the edge over your corporate competition.


“Few if any people know the business of spying and spying as business better than Peter Earnest. His book reveals the remarkable lengths to which the Agency goes to vet, train, and energize its officer cadre. I could see the results in its operations against us.”
—Oleg D. Kalugin, former KGB Major General and member of The Soviet Parliament, professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies

“One of the CIA’s most admired intelligence officers, Peter Earnest, applies lessons he learned in the cloak-and-dagger world to entrepreneurship, giving readers a unique and powerful guide to success. For those interested in the business world and the intelligence world, Business Confidential is a treasure trove of wisdom and tips.”
—Ronald Kessler, author, The CIA at War, The Terrorist Watch, and In the President’s Secret Service

“If you really want to ‘get smart,’ forget the movie and let Business Confidential teach you how the core principles of the spy world apply directly to your business strategy. Author Peter Earnest’s latest book provides readers with a secret advantage—the powerful (and insightful) lessons and strategies he developed and honed while serving for more than 30 years inside the CIA! Readers can use these same skills to select a winning team, collect vital information, and establish a plan for success. Business Confidential is destined to become a classic, and should be required reading in business (and spy) schools around the country. You will want to read it immediately—especially before your competitors do!”
—H. Keith Melton, historical consultant for the CIA, former chairman of one of America’s largest and most successful franchise groups, and author of books on spy technology

“This book contains exciting and revealing insights into some of the unique methodologies practiced by the CIA and applicable to the corporate world from one of its most highly experienced Clandestine Service officers. You will not view intelligence—or your own business—the same way again.”
—Albano Ponte, President, DuPont Investment Bankers

“Highly relevant guidance and insights for successfully running a business from a knowledgeable source with a fascinating background in spying. This is an eye-opening read in many respects for today’s business professional.”
—Neil Giarratana, CEO (Ret), Marantec America Corporation, and author, CEO Priorities

“Peter Earnest superbly captures the best traits of our nation’s espionage and intelligence service and applies them to business success. This is a must-read for every business executive and aspiring leader of any organization.”
—Joel Ticknor, Chairman of Ticknor, Atherton and Associates financial advisers

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About the Authors

Peter Earnest worked in the Central Intelligence Agency for 36 years, including a quarter century in the Agency’s National Clandestine Service. Earnest has also served on active duty with the United States Marine Corps. He is the Executive Director of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., and is frequently interviewed by the media. He is the author of The Real Spy’s Guide to Becoming a Spy. Maryann Karinch is the author of 17 books, including How to Spot a Liar, I Can Read You Like a Book, and How to Become an Expert on Anything in 2 Hours, which were coauthored with Gregory Hartley.

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