Competitive Intelligence

Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries

Having left corporate life and now starting an independent strategy and CI business, I am re-assembling my professional library. Twenty eight years at the corporation meant that I purchased (and left behind) a substantial set of references.

Since I know that there are authors and well read people on this forum, what would you consider the essential books to be for a competitive intelligence professional?

-- Tom Hawes
Strategically Thinking Blog
JTHawes Consulting Website

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Hi Tom,

You may refer to a Business/Management Reference collection for inspiration. I recommend Boston University's Pardee Management Library's excellent list of resources.


Thanks for the link. The BU site is (obviously) more than I will personally acquire at least any time soon. Do you have 5 or so specific CI books that you have found especially helpful?

-- Tom
Strategically Thinking Blog
JTHawes Consulting Website
Hi Tom

I have tried to attach a recommended CI book list that I created for our clients last year. It is by no means comprehensive but may be a good place for you to start.

If the attachment does not work, then go to our web site - Under Books and Resources go to Books and in the first paragraph you can download our recommended reading list.

Hope this gets you started.

Kind regards

Excellent. The link came through fine.

BTW, I left a couple of your books behind at the corporate job. Reacquiring now.

- Tom
Hi Tom,

I have an extensive list of CI books arranged by topic on my website. It might be overkill, as it's pretty extensive.

All the best,

Ellen Naylor

Wow. What a great list! It is more than I will acquire or read this week for sure. Nevertheless, it looks like a very valuable set of titles.

Are there any of these books that you return to frequently or that had a particularly significant impact on you?

-- Tom
Hi Tom,

You will find a list of CI Scholarship, covering Books, Book Chapters, Scholarly Articles and Practitioner Articles from 1930 to 2006 on De Montfort Universty's CIMITRI site: Ellen has taken this a step further by adding commentary so you may now have all you need.

The early years are a bit thin (obviously) and the listings for 2007 and 2008 are in preparation. Dissertations and Theses are included for 2003-2006 but there are omissions which we have been made aware of and these will be added at the next update. D&Ts are difficult to keep track of as not all Universities and Colleges publish the full lists for all post-graduate students. Some only announce Doctoral theses but we want to capture Masters degree level work too so these listings are an evolving resource for researchers, scholars and practitioners alike.

I like Confidential for elicitation and counterintelligence, both the analytical tools books that Bensoussan/Fleisher wrote. I like all the CI Foundation books...which may not ALL be on my list, the trade show, setting up a CI process, CTI, ethics since each chapter is written by a different person. I like Fahey's Competitor's book for diagrams of how processes work. I like the books that Carolyn Vella and John McGonagle wrote too. I am a "bookie". They're my little friends.

For people just starting I recommend Larry's Kahaner's CI book since he's a journalist and it's easy to read. Likewise I recommend The Analyst's Cookbook by Kristan Wheaton & a couple of his students at Mercyhurst. This is a quick read and does a good job just explaining a number of analytical tools. Not as exhaustive as Bensoussan/Fleisher, which I use a lot and are reference material. It's just down and practical in a spiral. The other one is Competitive Intelligence by the APQC for good benchmarking of CI processes...I think I recommended that one to you in another of your chats last night.

The other thing I do is download the CI Mag articles I like and organize them by area of interest like counterintelligence, sales/marketing, etc. I last did this for the BOK task force and went back to the first issues. It only goes to 2007, and I was picky since I was choosing articles for our consultants to read who were not versed in CI to get them up to speed quickly. It's here. I look at these articles all the time since they're a quick read.

Happy reading!


You are a wealth of information! Your appetite for books and articles exceeds mine (which I thought was pretty healthy). Thank you for offering so many useful suggestions and taking time to organize them.

-- Tom
Hi Tom,

If you are interested in a book about the use of CI/BI/MI in Procurement operations, Robert Handfield's "Supply Market Intelligence: A Managerial handbook for building sourcing strategies" is very valuable.

Best regards,


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