Competitive Intelligence

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Lawyer pens "Competitive Intelligence for Dummies" Having no experience in the field whatsoever

Well it was just a matter of time.  A Texas professor and trial lawyer of 14 years (Dr. Jim Underwood) with what I can tell he has ZERO experience in Competitive Intelligence has reduced our Profession to "Competitive Intelligence for Dummies"  Now available at an Amazon web site near you. Author: Dr. Jim Underwood.  He has penned other books.  Looks like a way to grab a fast buck--oh he is a lawyer.  What an insult

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The name sounds familiar – I am fairly certain he has written about CI before, fwiw.

Not according to Amazon. Has several books out there but not on CI.

No he isn't.  Here is a brief biography, Dr. Jim Underwood is a professor, consultant and a published author of numerous books. His work with IBM, Nortel Networks, HP, McKesson, Sprint PCs, plus numerous other organizations in the area of strategic management coaching, leadership assessment and financial management, as well as competitive environmental turbulence evaluation, has opened the eyes of business leaders.

Dr. Underwood is passionate about helping business leaders improve personal, professional and organizational performance. An inspiring speaker, Dr. Underwood is asked to address companies, organizations and associations in the areas of leadership, competitive analysis, business tools and strategic direction for businesses."

He has more detailed information on his LinkeIn page.  


Mary Kay Inc's 9 Leadership Keys to Success was originally a manuscript on the history of Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple – but the editor thought the insights on leadership could just as easily be applied to Mary Kay, thereby tapping into a key demo.


Yea no experience at all in CI. My point exactly.  An author that does research not a practitioner.  You want real CI information you read Sharp, Fleisher, Bennsoussan, Porter, Gilad, Herring. They have credentials and experience this guy is a MONEY GRABBER.  I would pitch my most jouner CI practitioner against him any day.   Would go head to head with anyone to prove it.  I ordered this book to see what it says, but I can predict it will be a book of platitudes  We are a profession and people like this need to seek their riches somewhere else..

For the most part you don’t really make much money publishing books these days, unless you hit high on the power curve. If anything books are the new business cards, used to drive new deals and opportunities; which in this case I don't think publishing a “For Dummies” book will help any.


Fwiw, I did find two articles that Dr. Underwood wrote in the old Competitive Intelligence Review:

Making the Break: From Competitive Analysis to Strategic Intelligence - Vol 6 Issue 1 (1995)
Perspectives on War Gaming - Vol 9 Issue 2 (1998)

So I don't think it is fair to knock his CI experience; however Mary Kay's Leaderships Keys is fair game!

So you are saying writing an article qualifies as experience?  We have different definitions of experience.

Is it really worth getting into a semantic debate over?

It seems like you are offended that someone wrote “CI for Dummies”, and take it as a professional insult. I can see where you are coming from, but would suggest that there are more pressing threats to the CI profession than a “For Dummies” book – even if it does provoke the most visceral response.

In 2008 Dr. Gilad articulated that “[t]he competitive intelligence (CI) profession is at a crossroad, under a threat of low-end, dead-end jobs, and not enough is being done to stem the decline” in a prescient article in CIM titled The Future of CI: Contest for the Profession's Soul. SCIP HQ's response to this clarion was party planning and posting things on

That's fair.  I will say I always check the credibility of the sources of anything out there--that is a fundamental of any CI technique.  Just because you write something about a subject does not make you an expert by any means of the imagination.  However, I did preorder the book will read it and see what sources he used.  But I am taking the approach of Harry Truman, "I am from Missouri, show me".  If he proves he knows what he is talking about and not just reprinting works from others then I will be the first to talk about it.  However, if he is just an editor and authors a book about a subject then I think he is contributing to the threat you talk about where our industry is being dumbed down into low end, low paying jobs. 


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