LONGLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL WRITING 2021
'One of the best books ever written about intelligence analysis and its long-term lessons' Christopher Andrew, author of The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5
'An invaluable guide to avoiding self-deception and fake news' Melanie Phillips, The Times
From the former director of GCHQ, Professor Sir David Omand, learn the methodology used by British intelligence agencies to reach judgements, establish the right level of confidence and act decisively. Full of revealing examples from a storied career, including key briefings with Prime Ministers and strategies used in conflicts from the Cold War to the present, in How Spies Think Professor Omand arms us with the tools to sort fact from fiction, and shows us how to use real intelligence every day.
'One of the best books ever written about intelligence analysis and its long-term lessons. Brilliant, lucid and thought-provoking'
'An invaluable guide to avoiding self-deception and fake news ... unlocking the secrets of spycraft tells us something darkly important about ourselves. A sane antidote to some of the bewildering insanities of the age'
'This is nothing less than the new manual for analytical thought. What does it take to think clearly and maintain an open mind in the face of confusion? David Omand's book on How Spies Think prepares us for the the challenges of the 21st century'
'Omand thinks and writes deeply about the intellectual and moral problems thrown up by a business that depends on stealing other people's secrets. He knows what he is talking about. How Spies Think is engagingly readable, even though the arguments are complex ... the growing body of serious writing by professionals such as Omand and others helps to demystify, illuminate and keep honest a profession around which fantasists have always buzzed like flies'
'A thoughtful handbook on the modern business of spookery'
'A rare insight into the methods and mindset of modern intelligence, written by a former top professional. A most valuable work'
'David Omand has a unique combination of experience as both a producer and consumer of secret intelligence, a deep knowledge of intelligence history and techniques, and a gift for lucid exposition. An invaluable book for anyone who wants to think like a spy but also for those concerned about the role spies can play in a democracy'
'David Omand has more experience of the intelligence agencies and how they operate than anyone else in Britain. He also has the rare ability to explain spycraft and how raw intelligence is analysed without the use of jargon which would be incomprehensible to most readers. I have been waiting for a book like this for years'
'A brilliant book, by one of the UK's true polymaths - author, academic, administrator, mathematician - and former spy. But this isn't just a book for those interested in the secret world of MI5, MI6, and GCHQ; it's for anyone wanting to know how to make better decisions, and avoid the traps into which businesses, and governments can and do fall, time after time'
'Sir David Omand is undoubtedly one of the most able people to have served in British government since the Second World War'