Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Spy's Guide to Thinking” as Want to Read:
A Spy's Guide to Thinking
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

A Spy's Guide to Thinking

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  1,684 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
"Head wounds bleed. All those vessels going to the brain. Carrying nutrients so you can think. Which I hadn’t . . . I was stunned. But I hadn’t lost yet. I still had the phone. And two options."

There are a select few people who get things done. Spies are first among them.

In a 45 minute read, a former spy introduces two simple tools for thinking. The first describes how w
Kindle Edition, 43 pages
Published May 31st 2015
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Wil Wheaton
Nov 25, 2016 Wil Wheaton rated it did not like it
There's a moderately interesting story in here, about how the author handles a potentially violent encounter on a subway. He wants to show us how he uses a particular type of thinking to make his decisions during the encounter.

And then he spends a whole chapter of an already short book relitigating the goddamn bogus WMD claims that were used to justify the Iraq war. (Spoiler alert: It wasn't the CIA's fault! No! Really! USA! USA!)

This ... whatever this is because it isn't a book ... could be an
Karol Gajda
Dec 08, 2015 Karol Gajda rated it really liked it
This was well-written (using an interesting back-and-forth literary device) and fun. A book about thinking, zero-sum, negative-sum, and positive-sum games, told through the eyes of a former CIA agent.

"How you play all the other games depends on what kind of game is the final game."
Dec 26, 2016 Nick rated it did not like it
Okay, I admit, I fell for it. I paid a few bucks for this short read on my tablet, and I feel substantially ripped off. The author describes two heuristics which he says will improve decision-making. They are 1) the use of OODA loops, which I've always felt is a completely overrated notion, and 2) recognition that different interactions may be zero-sum, win-win, or lose-lose. He illustrates this with a story about getting beat up on the subway, which may not be a great example of the power of sp ...more
Emily Olsen
Dec 19, 2016 Emily Olsen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: espionage
I was expecting this to be overbearing and was happy to find that it wasn't. I really enjoyed the audiobook on my commute to work. Not only was the writing clear, but it also drew comparisons to scientific and historical examples that made for an engaging and approachable read. It was incredibly interesting to hear how the "spy" mode of thinking developed and its necessity in the history of American espionage post-WW2.
Kit Lange
Jun 05, 2016 Kit Lange rated it it was amazing
Quick and dirty but effective

For those already familiar with the OODA loop this may serve as a refresher as it was for me. But from an Intel standpoint its excellent for beginners who aren't quite familiar with the process. Can't beat the price either.
Oct 29, 2016 Donna rated it liked it
Short, helpful if you didn't know this already

This book was a short, easy read. The information wasn't anything new or any new insight on how the information could be a game changer. I am a former U.S. Air Force I used this information on a regular basis. I wasn't a spy but a medical officer directing two departments... and regularly negotiating contracts and with other medical department to get the best outcomes for all parties.
J. Dorner
Dec 29, 2016 J. Dorner rated it really liked it
This clever book was easy to read and enjoy. It illustrates a short interaction on a subway car that demonstrates a thinking methodology. Lines like, “actions are commitment,” and “writers love nothing more than writing about writing,” caught my eye. But the funniest of all is at the end: “Our relationship is over. Unless you liked this book enough to buy another of my books.”
Akshay Suri
Nov 26, 2016 Akshay Suri rated it really liked it
Short, crisp and to the point.
The author decided to share 1 concept and sticks to it. He uses a first person narration of a spy story (who does not love spy stories!). It's just an hour read (much lesser for quick readers) and you take away a concept with you. Whether one will implement it is another matter altogether.
Adam Saputra
Dec 29, 2016 Adam Saputra rated it liked it
Short, Not for economics majors

Summed up opportunity cost, efficiently. Honestly, it was okay. If you are an economics major, you will find it crucially boring. The examples with Iraq was more fascinating. The author needs to bring out more "current events" oriented examples, personal experience not so much.
Oct 23, 2016 Paige rated it really liked it
Quick and Interesting

The author goes back and forth between telling a short story of a conflict he encountered and a more general explanation of how a spy thinks. I got this book for free through amazon prime reading, so it was worth it to me, but with the short length I wouldn't pay more than a few dollars for it. All in all, I would say it was a positive-sum game (:
David S
Dec 04, 2016 David S rated it really liked it

I am a huge fan of the OODA Loop process. I think it's one of the most efficient ways of getting through just about any issue or problem. The authors scenario that he pieces together in the book does a great job of laying lout all the pieces and how to implement it.
philip farah
Jan 07, 2017 philip farah rated it it was ok
Lacks depth, volume

Lessons and insights are shallow. Light content. Written as a stream of consciousness. Topic is intriguing however content is poor. Book is more of a chapter than it is a book
Lisa Beers
Nov 18, 2016 Lisa Beers rated it liked it
I think I must have been born a spy.

It seems to be a common sense approach to being aware of your surroundings. If you're generally not then this book may help you stay out of trouble.
Victor Nobrega
Dec 31, 2016 Victor Nobrega rated it it was amazing
Short Sharp and effective

This is a excellent short book on how to process data and weigh the options for decision making. It took me a collective 30mins to read it, although I did keep.stopping to weigh and consider each point. Strong recommend.
Jan 10, 2017 Tyler J HANSEN rated it it was amazing
Is this book a helpful guide to thinking?

Question: Is this book a helpful guide to thinking?
Data gathering: Bought the book.
Analysis: Read the book.
Decision: This book was a helpful guide to thinking.
Action: Recommended the book.
Jan 18, 2017 David rated it really liked it
A logical Read

Straight forward and logical read. The examples used to illustrate how to think like a spy are limited. I would want to see more real world application of these steps in, business, social and other settings.
Kaj Sotala
Jan 15, 2017 Kaj Sotala rated it liked it
Much more examples would have been nice, but it was a nice read for its length and price. I had previously heard about the concept of the OODA loop, and the idea that the person who goes through the loop faster wins, but been unsure of how to apply it. This helped clarify that.
Jan 05, 2017 Tracy rated it did not like it
Not very informative. The useful information in this book (nothing new or ground breaking, pretty much common knowledge) could have been summed up in a one page essay. Read it through Prime reading, glad I didn't pay for it
Clyde Cordero
Jan 17, 2017 Clyde Cordero rated it liked it
Somewhat Interesting

The author does a good job explaining how intelligence is collected , analyzed, used in decision making and then acted upon. Also, how we can use this methodology in our daily lives. Dry, matter of fact but well explained with examples and illustrations.
Lane R Alleman
Jan 15, 2017 Lane R Alleman rated it really liked it
Interesting look

Well written book on thinking critically. The author tells an anecdote and breaks down each section but describing a spy's way of thinking in the situation which can also help normal life.
Jacob Nelson
Nov 26, 2016 Jacob Nelson rated it it was amazing
Good quick read on thinking.

Good quick read on thinking. Takes Boyd's OODA loop in a different direction. I recommend this book to anyone that wants a quick read on thinking strategy.
Jan 07, 2017 Shelita rated it liked it
Useful, very short read.

Draws you into the proposed thinking process with an experience containing conflict. Concise and interesting. I will consider reading other books in this series. Will likely apply the proposed thinking cycle to my life more consciously.
Stephen Lake
Dec 31, 2016 Stephen Lake rated it really liked it
Fun, quick read. Structured around a real life incident in the life of the author as a foreign spy. Good insights about basic game-theoretic concepts. I would definitely like to read the sequel, A Spy Guide to Strategy, which takes the game theory paradigm further.
Dec 09, 2016 Coal rated it liked it

Eh, simple book with nothing new to add to already existing data on ways to make decisions and take action
Jan 06, 2017 Amanda rated it it was amazing
An easy intelligent read

The author was direct and to the point. Examples that were given showed the principles behind the book. also showed the fog of war.
Dec 07, 2016 scott rated it really liked it
Not a big investment

Decent little read. Gives some good insight on how to process info with a clear head. Give it a read.

dorothy davenport
Dec 12, 2016 dorothy davenport rated it really liked it
Interesting subject matter

Title caught my eye. Fast read. Well written, easy flow. Will read it again. Excellent processes on thinking and action.
Jan 04, 2017 Jonny rated it really liked it
Great book

Definitely a positive sum game.
I'll be looking into that series, and the author of said series...
First book I've finished in ages...
Arsany Basily
Jan 18, 2017 Arsany Basily rated it it was amazing
Will scratch your frontal cortex

Loved the style. Loved the info. Applicable to daily situation. Credible. Followed the advise and it works brilliantly. Will buy the following books of the series.
Dec 19, 2016 Warren rated it really liked it

Good quick read for fine tuning your thought process. Applicable to many professions. Reminds me of "The Goal". I'm looking forward to the next book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Add Japanese version to English version 2 16 Oct 13, 2015 08:12AM  
  • Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World
  • Burn Before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Secret Intelligence
  • Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America
  • Wilderness of Mirrors: Intrigue, Deception, and the Secrets that Destroyed Two of the Cold War's Most Important Agents
  • The Shadow Operators: Origins (Shadow Operators #1)
  • Thwarting Enemies at Home and Abroad: How to Be a Counterintelligence Officer
  • The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms & the CIA
  • Mi6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service
  • The Mind of the Terrorist: The Psychology of Terrorism from the IRA to al-Qaeda
  • A Spy's Journey: A CIA Memoir
  • The CIA at War: Inside the Secret Campaign Against Terror
  • Battleground Berlin: CIA vs. KGB in the Cold War
  • Spy Wars: Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games
  • Structured Analytic Techniques For Intelligence Analysis
  • Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terror
  • In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story
  • China Hands: Nine Decades of Adventure, Espionage, and Diplomacy in Asia
  • Launching The Innovation Renaissance: A New Path to Bring Smart Ideas to Market Fast

Share This Book

“That’s the chain of thinking: D-A-D-A. Getting data leads to analysis. Analysis leads to a decision. A decision leads to an action. Simple. That’s how thinking works.” 3 likes
“Actions, no matter how small, commit us to a particular path.” 0 likes
More quotes…