What Were The Best Competitive Intelligence Related Books in 2021

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This article asks what were the best Competitive Intelligence related books in 2021. We have compiled our list in no order but feel that each of these books bring new ways of thinking. Or have developed established systems in one industry and given them new life.

1. Creative Acts for Curious People

By Sarah Stein Greenberg

Written by the Executive Director of Stanford d.school. Creative Acts for Curious People is a practical resource to help your creativity.

Stories and exercises from leaders at organisations such as IDEO, Stanford and Google. 

2. Thinking Better: The Art of the Shortcut 

By Marcus du Sautoy

The author looks at the history and applications of mathematical shortcuts. And shares strategies to help us make dilemmas in life less complicated. He claims that mathematics contains excellent thinking methods and offers shortcuts in this how-to guide. With puzzles and problems, the book provides several shortcuts to solutions. Thinking Better offers many interesting strategies for complex daily problems.

3. The Human Element

By Loran Nordgren and David Schonthal

The Human Element shows the reader how to overcome the friction with change. The authors are professors at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Their book explains how inertia, effort, emotion and reactance can cause resistance. And in the real world, too, they tell us how these stumbling blocks can be used to create change. They offer a framework for innovation and transformation to use. 

4. The Opposite of Noise: The Power of Competitive Intelligence 

By Benjamin Gilad PhD 

Ben perfectly describes too much data as noise. And rightly as the most significant challenge businesses and to achieve breakthroughs. Ben explains that the filter for this noise is Competitive Intelligence. And that market insight cuts through the din to help enterprises get ahead. And we agree that Insight has little to do with the amount of information you have on competitors. Ben is blunt entertaining and tells it how it is. Ben is the CEO of the Academy of Competitive Intelligence and a pioneer of the art. He offers tools, tips, eye-opening case studies. And a model to break through the “data-driven” crap we hear so much about at the moment. 

5. We Never Expected That. A Comparative Study of Failures in National and Business Intelligence 

By Avner Barnea

This book is going to be an academic classic. It was written by someone who has been there and done it in Military and Strategic Intelligence. The book details the disciplines of Strategic Intelligence at a governmental and business level. Avner describes how Intelligence assists in the decision-supporting process, mainly to prevent mistakes and strategic surprise. 

Most research focuses on business-related Intelligence or Government Intelligence. Avner brings these worlds together with some excellent examples. The book’s central theme is that the reader should employ mutual learning. And a model that distinguishes between concentrated and diffused surprises. To provide a breakthrough and facilitate better prediction of the surprise development. The book compares how states, via their Intelligence organisations, cope with strategic surprises. And how business organisations deal with unexpected stumbling blocks.

6. Wardley Mapping, The Knowledge: Part One – Topographical Intelligence in business 

by Simon Wardley

This book forms part of the Wardley Mapping body of knowledge. Wardley Mapping helps you understand how to develop strategies. To visualise the complexity and isolate ways to make it more efficient. Wardley Maps has four core elements that drive a business and its customers. These include doctrine, inertia, gameplay and the landscape. Wardley Mapping is a personal favourite of ours, and Simon’s talks are fascinating. 

7. How Spies Think

By Professor David Omand 

Admittedly, this book was published in late 2020, but it’s on the list because it was a team present, and we did not get it around the team until January 2021. Written by Professor David Omand, the former director of GCHQ and chair of the UK JIC. This book is full of analogies and examples. But the core of the message is a process used by British Intelligence. How they make judgements, establish the level of confidence and act decisively. The book shows how decisions are easier to make by applying this British intelligence framework. Professor Omand offers us the tools to reveal the facts from fiction. And shows the reader how to use real Intelligence every day. This book is an enjoyable and easy read if you can ignore the politics within the final chapters. 

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is the finding, sorting and critical analysis of information. To make sense of what’s happening and why. Predict what’s going to happen and give the options to help you control the outcome. Competitive intelligence offers certainty, competitive advantage, insight, growth & security.

8. Critical Thinking In A Nutshell

By Thinknetic 

Jeff Bezos used critical thinking and logic mastery skills to find a market inefficiency before anyone else. The book claims to shortcut Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule to learning something. Critical thinking is a skill everyone thinks that they already have. Many people are also anxious, unhappy, doubt their decisions, and unsure where they want to be in life. The book offers a critical thinking framework created by two critical thinking scientists. It also isolates what they think the seven qualities are of a critical thinker – how many do you have right now? The book provides easy exercises to highlight every point covered. A practical, easy to read and implement book. It helps you improve the readers’ ability to think critically.

9. We Are Bellingcat. An Intelligence Agency for the People 

By Eliot Higgins 

We Are Bellingcat tells the story of open-source intelligence practitioners. It describes how they uncovered some of the biggest stories in the world. Explains how a group of self-taught internet searchers solved some high profile crimes.

The Bellingcat founder tells the story of how they created a whole new category of OSINT. Galvanised an army of global citizen journalists to expose war crimes and disinformation. Stories range from the downing of Flight 17, Syria and the Salisbury poisoning. We Are Bellingcat shows how they undertook these investigations and the tools used. From analysing data, VR, photorealistic and 3D crime scene models. And the apps that can tell the time of day when the photograph was taken. 

10. The Competitive Intelligence Playbook. How to Build, Manage, and Optimise a Competitive Intelligence Program

The ingredients you need to take your Competitive Intelligence to the next level. This book is for anyone who understands that Intelligence can shape better business decisions, not data. Learn how to build, manage, and optimise your program. Move your Competitive Intelligence from tactical to strategic. And extract the most business value from Competitive Intelligence.

11. Find Your Market: Discover and Win Your Product’s Best Market Opportunity 

By Étienne Garbugli

Find Your Market assists technology entrepreneurs and innovators find the right market. It explains how to evaluate a product aimed at the right market or customers. And by identifying attractive opportunities derived from the unique strengths of their technology. The main message is that deciding which customers to target should never be an afterthought. Find Your Market is a short, practical guide to help you find the best market for your innovation.

12. Gardens of Intelligence: Designing Robust Digital Market and Competitive Intelligence Platforms

By Gabriel Anderbjörk and Jesper Martell 

Using their experience to investigate the challenges and opportunities with Competitive Intelligence platforms. They present their “Garden of Intelligence” framework. They aim to make organisations healthier and fitter to reap the benefits of opportunities and handle future disruptions. It all sounds lovely.

13. Product-Led Onboarding. How to Turn New Users Into Lifelong Customers

By Ramli John 

The book explains that your SaaS company’s growth depends on first impressions. And attempts to answer the industry’s problem of free accounts that don’t convert. To be paid as often as you would like. And that most potential users will never get to experience the total value of the product. They take a look and offer advice. And the platform is littered with dead accounts and takes up valuable space. The book explains that customers expect the product to be intuitive, easy and fast. And they want more than they paid for – even from a free account. Learn a 6-step strategy used by Ubisoft, Mixpanel and Outsystems to onboard customers. 

What are the best Competitive Intelligence related books in 2021

This article asked what were the best Competitive Intelligence related books in 2021—compiled in no order at all. Especially the case as we may meet one or two of the authors in 2022, and we are not professional literary critics. Each of these books brings new ways of thinking, and most importantly, we enjoyed them.

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