Work Like a Spy: A Book of Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer

Work Like a Spy: A Book of Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer

Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer, by J.C. Carleson

When J. C. Carleson left the corporate world to join the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), she expected to find an adventure, and that’s what she found.  Her assignments in the CIA included work in Iraq as part of the search for weapons of mass destruction. She traveled through Afghanistan, and had countless clandestine encounters with foreign agents from around the globe. What she didn’t expect was that the skills she acquired with the CIA would be directly applicable to the private sector.

It turns out that corporate America can learn a lot from CIA spies in areas such as how to respond to crises and how to achieve operational excellence. The author found that her experience in the CIA gave her a greater understanding of human nature, new techniques for obtaining information, and a significantly improved awareness of potential security problems, adding up to give her a powerful edge in the business world..

The book uses real life examples from her experience in the CIA. The author explains how working like a spy can teach you the principles of:

  • Targeting—figuring out who you need to know and how to get access to them in the fast way possible
  • Elicitation—a subtle way to get the answers you need without asking question
  • Counterintelligence—how to determine if your organization is unknowingly leaking information
  • Screening—CIA recruiters’ methods for finding and hiring the right people

The methods developed by the CIA are focused on getting what you want from other peo­ple. In a business context, these techniques apply to seeking a new job, a promotion, a big sale, an advantageous regulatory ruling, and countless other situations.

As Carleson writes in the book, “In a world where information has a price, it pays to be vigilant.” Her book will show you how.

Buy the book now from – Work Like a Spy: Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer

Book Reviews from Various Sources

  • “In this clever twist on the career self-help genre, former CIA agent Carleson takes the principles that she learned in clandestine service and applies them to today’s business world. This quick and enjoyable read offers plentiful nuggets of information, which can be put to good use by any career-minded reader.” – Publishers Weekly
  • “The book you are holding will fundamentally change the way you look at the collection, compartmentalization, analysis, distribution, application, and protection of intelligence in your business. J. C. Carleson’s presentation of years of spy trade craft will make you a more effective force within your organization.” – James Childers, CEO, ASG Global, Inc.
  • “I found Work Like a Spy to be much more than a compelling read penned by an ex-CIA officer. J. C. Carleson importantly offers a fresh slate of easily understood risk mitigation practices and exercises.” – Francis D’Addario, CPP CFE, Emeritus Faculty Leader, Strategic Influence and Innovation, Security Executive Council
  • “Carleson provides a compelling argument for the importance of intelligence and counterintelligence in business. Her straightforward suggestions encourage the reader to always be on guard for information—either to keep it or to gather it.”  – DEB COHEN, Ph.D., SPHR, SVP, Knowledge Development, Society for Human Resource Management
  • “This is a blast! J. C. Carleson has written the cure for the common business book. Part business advice book, part memoir, part window into the world of covert intelligence, it will both inform and intrigue the reader. Going beyond the typical business anecdotes, Carleson gives us a glimpse of the world of covert officers, international intrigue, and true high stakes encounters. More than just telling stories, though, Work Like a Spy uses examples from the CIA to provide a set of principles that can be used to succeed in any organization.” – ALEXANDER J. S. COLVIN, Professor of Labor Relations and Conflict Resolution, ILR School, Cornell University

Book Details

  • The book was produced in hardcover format by the publisher Portfolio Hardcover on February 7, 2013. It was written and printed in English and is a total of 208 pages. The ISBN numbers are ISBN-10: 1591843537 and ISBN-13: 978-1591843535. Physically, the book is 9.1 x 6 x 1 inches in size and weighs 13.6 ounces.

About the Author

J.C. Carleson is a former undercover CIA officer. Her experience in covert service took her around the planet, from bomb shelters in dangerous war zones to swanky cocktail parties in European capitals. She is a graduate of Cornell University, she lives in Washington, DC. Visit her website at

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