Renaissance Entrepreneur

Spooked

(Perseus Publishing)

Spooked Twenty-five billion dollars is a sum large enough to capture anybody's interest. Toss in some exotic locales, wizardly technology and a few unusual names, and you've got the makings of a decent spy novel. Or, in this case, an engrossing nonfiction journey on the dark side of business information. Authors Adam Penenberg, a business journalist, and Marc Barry, an intellectual property consultant and founder of C3I Analytics in New York City, say $25 billion is what U.S. companies lose every year to corporate spies stealing intellectual property. They then describe how these crooks accomplish the thefts, from within and without.

Along the way, Penenberg and Barry offer advice on protecting those secrets. The most important? Be careful who you whisper them to. The central case, apparently an example of simple subornation, concerns a Taiwanese label manufacturer's theft of trade secrets from U.S. rival Avery Dennison. The manufacturer, Four Pillars Enterprises of Taiwan, bribed an Avery scientist to hand over mounds of adhesives research. But the authors demonstrate there's more than one way to swipe a secret: impersonation, burglary, computer hacking, electronic eavesdropping and just good old rummaging through the garbage. Is the friendly person who quizzed you extensively at that trade show last week an ex-CIA operative working for a rival? After reading this book, you may wonder.

Spooked is available at Amazon.com.

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This article was originally published in the February 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Renaissance Entrepreneur.

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