The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service by Henry A. Crumpton is a book published by Penguins, New York in the year 2012, a year after Osama Bin Laden was announced dead by the United States of America. The title may emit a hint at what the book might harbour for the readers. Henry A. Crumpton has been working for the CIA for many years and all his services and experience combined feature in the book. Though the book claims to be ‘the art’ of intelligence, it is largely an autobiography on what the author worked and what he learned. Yes, you can extract these learnings for yourself if you want, though after a little toil on your side.
What do you find in the book when you begin reading?
The author begins with an introduction and then the chapters begin. Chapters are symbolically, or rather metaphorically, defined. Chapters like ‘Dreaming,’ ‘Training,’ ‘Recruiting,’ ‘Reflecting,’ and many other metaphorically designed ones are there and some fact-giving titles like ‘Beyond Afghanistan’ are also there. The book is an experience-sharing book, largely. Also, the book may be seen as a manual for those who want to become spies in the future.
“A good intelligence officer cultivates an awareness of what he or she does not know. You need a dose of modesty to acknowledge your own ignorance—even more, to seek out your ignorance.”
Gems like these can be found everywhere in the book but you need to be aware. Crumpton concludes the book with the news of the death of Laden in his epilogue.
Relevance and Ideal Readers of the Book:
The book can be read by only those who are interested in reading patient books that have no pace or very little pace, if at all. The book is dry of interest, largely. It’s a cold-blooded experience-sharing publication by the author. If you love reading novels or the books that offer you excitement in plenty, you can better skip this book. For the readers who want to read things called out of the box or beyond the convention, this is an ideal title. Go for it!
You can get a copy of the book from Amazon India and the link has been given below. Do let me know in the comment section if you read the book in future or have already read it (that I find very few of you might have). All the best!
review by Aditya Sharma for Egoistic Readers