Competitive & Marketing Intelligence
Book Recommendations and Suggestions for Further Reading
AWARE receives many requests asking where to learn more about competitive intelligence, marketing intelligence, competitor analysis, marketing and business strategy. Although we offer clients training in these subjects, we also agree with Walt Disney that
"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island... and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life."
Over the years we have read numerous books on these subjects. Some we like, and others we would not recommend to anyone. The selection of books below are all worth considering, and some are "must-haves" if you are seriously interested in finding out and learning more. As well as a brief review of most of the titles, we also include a star rating with 3 stars being excellent and highly readable. Books with two stars or only one star are still great books. However they tend to be less readable, more academic and specialist, or conversely more simplistic than the top rated books. Books with no stars are still excellent - but are less useful or readable than those with stars (OR we don't know them well enough to comment ourselves).
We found it difficult to rank some books. For example Michael Porter's ground-breaking books (such as Competitive Strategy, which effectively launched CI as a business discipline) have only been awarded two stars. This is purely because, in our opinion, it is less readable, and more suited for an academic or senior management reader than a general reader trying to get a flavour of a subject.
All books include a link to either Amazon UK, or Amazon.com. A few books may be out-of-print and you may need to search around for copies. (A good alternative source other than Amazon's used books section is abebooks and it is always worth looking for copies on ebay).
If you would like to know more about our competitive intelligence workshops, training or our other services contact us. Or visit our Services Page to see how we can help you.
Military Intelligence Blunders
John Hughes-Wilson; Paperback; Published 1999 UK £ / US$
OK - this book is not on corporate strategy, or CI so it is difficult to decide where to include it. The book tells the stories behind some of the world's most disastrous military mistakes, whether caused by faulty information, bad interpretation, cunning plans to deceive the intelligence gatherers or leaders who won't listen to what they are told. It is an analysis of the "intelligence cycle" that turns raw data into useful information about capabilities and intentions and then brings it to the attention of the decision-makers.
Hughes-Wilson is a well-known militery expert, and this book makes a change from the regular business type book by giving a different flavour to the subject. Well-recommended - but not strictly CI or business, so no stars (although they are deserved).
Competitive Strategy : Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors - With a New Introduction (1998)
Michael E. Porter; Hardcover UK £ / US$
Porter can be viewed as the father of competitive intelligence as a management discipline - and this was the start. Essential reading - for students, managers, academics and anyone who wants to know how to monitor competitors. Introduces Porter's 5-Forces model - used to understand the forces acting on companies and industries.
This book is awarded two-stars reluctantly. Because of its importance, it really deserves three - but we've given it two as it is not an easy read. It is also now quite old - it was first published in 1985, and apart from the new introduction has not been updated. However to understand modern views on competitive strategy it is an essential text.
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