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Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World of Corporate Espionage

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  495 ratings  ·  58 reviews
“Eamon Javers has produced a remarkable book about the secret world of business warfare—a world filled with corporate spies and covert ops and skullduggery… An important book that has the added pleasure of reading like a spy novel.” —David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z

Award-winning reporter Eamon Javers’s Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy is a penetrating work of investiga
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published 2010 by Harper
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Will Byrnes
Privatization of security and intelligence capabilities is “extending the espionage culture of the cold war into the global economy.”

A phrase kept running through my head while reading while reading Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy, “Well, what would you expect?” We have privatized a lot of dodgy military work into the hands of entities like Blackwater (sorry, Xe), so it makes sense that an increasing amount of intelligence work would likewise be put into hands of entities that are not subject to co
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
A compulsively readable account of early history of corpintel. And else.
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: Will Byrnes, GR friend's review
Shelves: nonfiction
The title of this book intentionally evokes John Le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Javers' startling revelation is that the world of corporate espionage is peopled by former CIA, FBI, Secret Service, and military intelligence operatives. They apply their specialized training in surveillance, interrogation, deception, and psychological profiling. They exploit government contacts in both the U.S. and abroad. They employ bribery, dumpster diving, wire-tapping, and accessing phone records to ...more
Lance Charnes
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like to mix their spies with stock options
Recommended to Lance by: International Spy Museum
Would it shock you to know that there are private-for profit spy agencies? Nah, me neither. After all, lately we've outsourced killing and torture, so why not snooping? And would it surprise you that most of these spies-for-hire graduated from the military or various three-letter agencies, took their rather expensive training into the private sector, and are now making mint in corporate warfare? No, it didn't surprise me, either -- if an 11B can swap pulling a trigger for Uncle Sam for doing it ...more
Ryan Jones
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Sometimes you wish a book had a different author. I actually don't want to jump on Javers too much. The subject matter is interesting. But at the end of the day, they are just anecdotes and history sewn together without much cohesion or reason. There isn't much style or punch there either. And the writer doesn't really seem to be able to tie it together and take it to the next level. Maybe like a newspaper or magazine reporter, who just isn't ready to transition to a book that's much more than a ...more
Nat Rothschild invested in Diligence Inc.

1985: Stephen Solarz (NY) congressman, chair of House Foreign Affairs Subcomittee, asked friend Jules Kroll to investigate Philipines klepokrat/dictator Ferdinand Marcos, copmleted pro-bono. Four buildings (worht $300mn in total) in NYC 200 Madison Avenue, the Herald Center at Herald Square, the Crown Building at 730 Fifth Avenue, and 40 Wall Street (is that where the Goldman Sachs HQ is now?). Subcommittee hearing in May 1986.

1990: Kuwaiti dictators hi
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It was an amazing read !! How the espionage culture of cold war was extended into the global economy. The forerunner of private investigation ( Allan Pinkerton , 1st private detective ) & how it all began - private intelligence firms, now comprising spies, ex-CIA, ex-FBI, ex-KGB, employees at military & govt. security services. At this point private intelligence service wasn't limited for combating crime ; rather expanded beyond international economy, global market, corporate rivalry, market con ...more
Terry Young
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all
Recommended to Terry by: a friend
This book is a must read for understanding our world. The old saying is to hold your friends close but hold your enemy closer rings true here especially in the high stake games of money and politics. The NSA, SAC, Enron, and even Nestle's chocolate has a piece of this action. Javer's weaves the history of spying and takes you to the newest kind of spies. Each story seems to be a bid more amazing and although everyone knows they are spies they just cannot seem to always find them until someone or ...more
Elisha Condie
May 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
My thoughtful husband heard about this book on public radio and got it for me for mothers day. It sounds like a very interesting book, and it was, I suppose. But I just didn't like it that much in the end.
I like espionage, I like clever people finding clues, but it turns out I only like them when they are fighting for a cause. Give me a guy spying on the Nazis! All the spies in this book are former government employees now making a living as corporate spies. It's the story of one cold hearted
Jonathan Brown
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Fantastic account of some of the more famous events of corporate espionage, such as Enron and the Chocolate War. Rare instances of language.
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Chas Tomac
This is an excellent book covering modern history of spying. It starts with the Pinkertons evolving from crime investigations into completing corporate due diligence for large companies.
Other agencies that started after Pinkertons included Krolls, Becket Brown, BIA and numerous others. These spy agencies investigate numerous companies. One in particular was Nestlé’s chocolate spying on Mars chocolate during the development of new chocolate products.

These companies also completed work around th
May 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Conspiracy lovers, government spies looking for a corporate job
Not a bad effort, but this book skimps on the juicy bits. I guess it's because people need to cover their rears. I mean, we get some good stories about many of the operations and techniques companies in the corporate espionage business use to gather intelligence. There aren't too many surprises, either. Especially the "revelation" that government spies moonlight in the private sector to augment their paychecks. Not too earthshattering. Maybe the author was commenting on the ethical justification ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
With a few interesting anecdotes, overall a disappointment. I heard an interview with the author and the book sounded quite interesting - little did I realize the interview included pretty much anything of substance in the book. #ItShould'veBeenAPamphlet.

Here's how the chapters are structured: (1) Name some firm that does something fairly predictable (2) Fawn over the founder's resumes (3) Fawn over the resumes of people the founder knows (4) Try to include an example, but when the companies won
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This should have been an interesting book. It's about spies - real ones, around us - hacking phone lines and emails, tailing people, pretending to be people they're not, going undercover.
And yet, aside for a few interesting anecdotes, and the history of the private eye profession (about one Mr. Allen Pinkerton), it's a boring read.
The style is more report and less story. While the amount of research is impressive, I really care very little about the birthplace of every CIA agent turned corpora
Jun 08, 2014 rated it liked it
I had high expectations for this book because the subject matter sounded interesting, and it was informative but ultimately, I think, shallow. He surveys the world of corporate espionage without nearly as much contemplation of potential ramifications as I would like. It ends up being a series of cool anecdotes from people who aren’t especially forthcoming. Maybe it’s because I’m just coming off of reading some James Stewart, who holds nothing back, but while quick/compelling, ultimately unsatisf ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was quite interesting, from dumpster diving, to tactical behavior assessment (assessing lying by observing people's behaviors), to satellite surveillance, and everything in between. Corporate espionage is a HUGE, HUGE business. Oh boy - was I naive! Big Brother is here. Susan
This is a great book. I would highly recommend it for those in competitive intelligence as full of examples of what NOT to do, but described in a highly entertaining way. Fabulous read.
Daniel Rosehill
May 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy threw up conflicting feelings for me.

On the one hand, this book did what it says on the tin: it provides a rough historical sketch of the emergence of the private intelligence industry, focusing specifically on corporate espionage.

And yet — although undoubtedly well-written — it never quite managed to be enthralling.

Yes, there were interesting glimmers of tradecraft and information, most particularly surrounding the techniques used by various sides during the Chocola
Henri Hämäläinen
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: home-library
The overall topic was pretty interesting, spying in the corporate world is quite usual according this book. Book is full of interesting stories about spies and spying overall. I was hoping the book would analyze the phenomenon a bit more, but it stayed mainly on telling the interesting stories.

For me it was a bit hard to follow, since the key people in the book kept on changing for every chapter. That made it a bit hard to follow for me. I do understand that with telling so many stories, this i
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Mr. Javer’s work. Written nearly a decade ago, Mr. Javers made mention of Mr. Glenn Simpson previously of the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Simpson has been in the news, in somewhat unfavorable light.

Mr. Javers argues in the epilogue for more openness about the corporate spy industry. One can hope he returns to that important work. More people need to be awakened to it. The stakes are high.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Well researached and written. A glimpse of a world few of us know, though having worked for a mega corporation in the past I've seen the faintest shades of this paranoia, with project code names and monitoring of staff. The older I get, these dog-eat-dog stories make one wonder who they can trust... it just makes me want to remove myself further and further from this type of system. Time to move to the woods and raise some chickens...
Jane Hammons
Read as research into topic of corporate espionage--clearly written, fact-filled. Good narrative nonfiction storytelling. I didn't know much about this topic and appreciated the clarity and high level of detail--I also learned a lot about the lines blurred by government sponsored espionage and agencies (like the CIA) and private security/investigative firms and corporate espionage. Fast read.
Charles Spiegel
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at the past and present of private investigation and corporate spying. There's a lot of fun anecdotes, and a certain amount of speculation, all in all making for a thoroughly entertaining read.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quick read. The epilogue was lackluster, but the rest of the book was relatively entertaining and informative.
David W Harris
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book on corporate competitive intelligence
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My mind is blown. Very insightful.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
...Peloquin served as an executive vice president of Resorts International...the company was sold to the New York real estate magnate Donald Trump.... Peloquin and Trump butted heads. "Trump would say, 'You guys are scumbags.' And then he'd look up and say, 'Hey, Bob, have you seen my new boat?' We'd talk about that. And then we went back to being scumbags again."
..."I don't think Trump was on drugs. I think he was born on drugs. He's such an egocentric person."
It's an interesting book, but that's mostly because of the intriguing subject matter, not because of the writing.

The book feels like a collection of random stories that happened to have been leaked or reached the public eye for one reason or another, the first one is perhaps the most interesting and revealing. To me, it got repetitive after that, it seemed that the author was scraping the bottom of the barrel to stretch the book to an acceptable size. I mean, men with CIA or FBI connections/trai
Jun 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Inside look at corporate spying

Your competitors might be rummaging through your trash, eavesdropping on your conversations or studying satellite images of your properties. Corporate espionage is more common than you might imagine, writes journalist Eamon Javers in this intriguing study of commercial spying. He offers an impressively thorough study of its past and present, and he doesn’t shy away from the thorny issues this sort of activity raises. Javers’ use of court documents and his interview
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