Naked Prey (a novel)

First Pages



Why hadn’t she listened and obeyed? Then none of this would have happened.

“Help me,” he had begged her. All she had to do was read the lines. Play the role. The audience was watching, waiting.

He looked away. “Say it’s okay. That it wasn’t really that bad. Say itl”

“Come on. It’s the ending that we need to change. Let’s get it over with.”

No response.

He looked back down. His tears fell on her breasts and slid down in streaks. She didn’t move.

“Too late. She’s dead,” he heard a soft voice say.

The man stood up slowly, cleared his throat with a cough, straightened his body. Composed himself.

He whispered, tried to convince himself. “It was only a test run. It didn’t really count. Only a rehearsal.”



Chapter 1

Barnett walked into the squad room just as the small weekend day shift got underway. He went quickly to his desk and didn’t say hello to anyone. He wasn’t even supposed to be there.

“Hey Barnett, have you done your time?” some­body shouted. A few people laughed.

Barnett ignored them and began picking through his bottom desk drawer. He pushed aside a tissue box, packs of sugar, napkins, a paperback, plastic spoons. “Damn.”

He began digging furiously then stared up for a second. “Oh, yeah.” He picked up a large dictionary, flipped through the pages and stopped at the panda bookmark.

He was about to leave when he saw a stack of fifteen or twenty “While You Were Out” slips. Barnett fanned them quickly to see who had tried to reach him during the week he was away. He wouldn’t return any of the calls until next week, and maybe not even then if things didn’t work out between him and the captain. It was a warm, sunny spring Saturday and Barnett planned to take Penny to the National Zoo to see the pandas. While working the suicide of a Smithsonian employee, he’d browsed through the museum gift shop, bought the panda bookmark, and held it for just such an occasion.

The past week had turned into an unexpected vacation. As far as he was concerned, no crack dealers killed each other over turf. No beasts fired automatic rifles into the cars of rival gangs. No wiseguys dropped concrete blocks from highway overpasses.

Barnett felt a hand on his shoulder. “What’s with you?” said Caggiano. “You don’t believe in return­ing messages? I left a dozen on your phone machine. Even put notes in your mailbox.”

Caggiano spent most of his days in the back office doing paperwork. These days, with homicides reach­ing a record in the District of Columbia, he found himself outside more in the last month than in the past five years. He felt a little out of practice.

“I wanted to stake someone out in front of your door, but couldn’t spare the body,” he said.

“I’m on suspension ’til the fifteenth, or don’t you remember?” The hand still gripped his shoulder. Barnett politely shrugged it off. “Just came in to get something.”

Barnett stroked his salt-and-pepper beard, a left­over of his days in Vice. He kept it short and well trimmed in contrast to his head of unruly black hair.

“The suspension was your own fault,” said Caggiano. He looked around to see if anyone was listening. “You can’t go around calling the captain an asshole. Not to his face and not in front of his subordinates.”

“He is an asshole. What do you want from me?”

“He wants to make peace. Wants you to come back a week early. I’m not supposed to tell you, but he’s willing to drop the whole matter.”


“Tell him he’s still an asshole. I bust my butt for this department, and he can’t handle me calling him a name so he freezes me out for two weeks. That’s bullshit, Cag.” He waved his arm wildly. “You know what? I want the time off. I need the time off.”

“It’ll go on your record,” said Caggiano.

Barnett laughed. “That’s a weak shot, even for you,. Cag.”

“Standard procedure answer.” Caggiano stood straighter. “Okay, now I’ve done my bit for the cap­tain. Here’s what’s going on.” He motioned for Barnett to follow him into an interview room. It was white with pegboard walls. A wooden desk stood in the middle, plastic chairs around it. A video camera hung from the ceiling.

“We have a repeater, but didn’t know it until a few days ago. That’s when we tried to contact you.”

Barnett rubbed his palms over his forehead and down to his eyes. “Linkage?”

“Females—battered, strangled, stabbed. The photos are grotesque. What he did to these women …” Caggiano put a file folder labeled “HO-88-0327; Decedent: Faison, Denise B.” on the table. “See for yourself.”

Barnett went through the photos and stopped at one in particular. “Holy—”

“Twenty-two. Female. Bet you can’t even tell it’s a woman.”

Barnett studied the photos, shook his head.

“I got the other jacket in my office, a Marie Reed Brady. Want to see it?”

Barnett nodded.

“We got beaucoup photos,” Caggiano continued. “And our boy left something behind you’re not going to believe. You can see it in some of the pix.


Maybe you didn’t know what it was.”

“The stuff on the floor, sprinkled around. What is it?”

“At first I thought it was background, but he was telling us something. We weren’t listening.”

“What is it?”

“The first victim, Faison, was found in the kitchen. The room was clean, no food or crap around except some Cheerios on the floor. The little damned O’s were all over the place. Blood soaked.”

Barnett sat silent.

“Second killing. Body found in the living room. The TV was on and investigators thought she was having a snack. Cereal was on the floor. Shredded Wheat. No reason for it to be there. Wasn’t found in her stomach.”

Caggiano held up a thick plastic bag which con­tained a typed piece of paper, and read: “Yes, this is the kind of killer I am. One of the four types as outlined by the FBI in their oh-so-learned mono­graphs. Do you get it yet?'”

Barnett slid his chair back from the table, closed his eyes, and moved his head slowly from side to side. “Who’s seen the letter?”

“Just the captain, me, and Quill.”

“Are the scenes secured?”

“Only the second one. Marie Reed Brady.”


“‘Course not.” , “Anything off the letter?”

“Nothing. Used paper from her house. Says he’s going to kill regularly after he starts up again. Once we’re ‘on track and up to speed,’ as he put it.”

“Did he say when he’ll start?”

Caggiano hesitated. “He said he’s waiting for you.


You’re a person who would understand what he was doing. What’s he mean?”

Barnett didn’t answer.

“Quill’s the one who put it together. I hadn’t even seen the reports until after the second murder. I’m so fucking backed up. By that time, it didn’t matter. The next day we got the letter in the mail. That’s when we knew we had a repeater who was getting impatient with us.”

“A serial killer who actually leaves cereal at the scene,” Barnett said.

“It’s a classic isn’t it?”

“Why are the pandas inside today, Daddy? Don’t they like being outdoors?”

Barnett and his daughter watched the pandas through thick Plexiglas. The smiling black-and-white bears sat on their haunches, stripping bamboo leaves off the stalks with their paws, and shoving the greens into their mouths.

Barnett stared, but his mind was on the two murdered women.

“Well, Daddy?” she said.

“What honey?”

“Why aren’t they outside? The pandas,” she said impatiently.

“Oh. Where they come from it’s pretty cold. Their fur is heavy, like your winter coat. So, even though it’s nice weather for us, for them it’s too hot. The cage is air-conditioned.”

The answer satisfied Penny, who continued to watch the female, Ling-Ling. Then she strolled over to watch the male, Hsing-Hsing. The pandas were kept in separate areas connected by a closed doorway.

Hsing-Hsing was sleeping with his huge arms draped across his fat stomach. He didn’t move a muscle, but Penny kept her eyes glued on him for at least five minutes, shuffling from side to side to take in all the views.

Barnett moved with her, listlessly, through the dark, damp exhibit hall.

He thought about the killer. How did he know about him being off duty? Well, that was pretty easy. All he had to do was call the office, and they would say he was out until the fifteenth. That made sense, but…

“Why can’t they play together, Daddy?”


“The pandas, Daddy! Why is the door closed?” She pointed.

“That’s because they don’t want them to have babies except at certain times.” Barnett hoped she wouldn’t ask for a detailed explanation.

“Did they have babies ever?”

“No. I don’t think so.” He knelt, stroked Penny’s blond braid, and hugged her. He looked into her green eyes. “Let’s call Mom and tell her we’re on our way home. How’s that?”

Penny skipped outside and stopped when the sun­light hit her eyes. She turned around and waited for her father to catch up. Barnett put on his sunglasses, gripped her hand. “Got a surprise for you. You’ll see.”

The bar on Connecticut Avenue directly across from the zoo had an official name, Oxford Tavern, but everyone just called it the Zoo Bar. In a city of come-and-go fern bars with names like “J.J. O’ Restaurant” and “Munchies,” this place had been a friendly neighborhood place for years. Bartenders still poured by the eye and snickered when they served wine spritzers and pink drinks.

Still, it was the kind of place parents could take their kids for a hamburger.

Bamett hoisted his daughter onto a stool and sat beside her.

“And what will my favorite niece have today?” said Billy Sloan as he leaned over to peck Penny’s cheek. He wiped the bar top with a wet rag and put down two cardboard coasters.

“Cherry Coke with two cherries please, Uncle Billy.”

“Okay, kiddo. How ya doing, Mike?”

Barnett looked into Billy’s handsome face which showed the same thin nose and light complexion of his sister Carol, Penny’s mother. Billy was twenty-nine and tended bar weekends. During the week, he was a Social Services caseworker. The weekend job helped make ends meet. It also helped him meet women.

“Coming along, Billy,” Barnett answered. He got up, put a five-dollar bill on the bar. Billy waved it away.

“Draw me a beer. I got to call Carol.”

Barnett walked to the rear, reached behind the jukebox and lowered the volume. A young man at a nearby table threw him a dirty look.

Barnett detected a chill in Carol’s voice. She told him Caggiano called.

“Did he say what he wanted?” He tried to sound nonchalant.

“Only that he wondered if you read the material yet. He said he’s glad you’re back at work. What’s this about, Mike? I thought you—”

“They asked me to come back.”

“Why didn’t you tell me that when you came home before?”

At the bar, Penny laughed and slapped Billy on the arm.

“Officially I’ll be on the job, but I won’t be report­ing to the office. They’ll say I’m still out. It’s some­thing I worked out with Caggiano.” He paused. “That will give me a week to investigate some cases before—” He cut himself off. “Tell you about it later.”

“What about the captain?”

“For the time being, we’ll avoid each other.”

“I was getting used to having you home for dinner,” she said. “And the lunchtime dates, too.”

Barnett didn’t say anything.

“Where are you now?”

“Visiting Billy. We just came from the pandas, ‘he said. “Penny wanted to know why the door was locked between them.”


“I told her it was because they couldn’t find any condoms big enough and they didn’t want any baby pandas floating around.”

She laughed. “You’re a nut.”

“We had a good time today,” Barnett said. “To­morrow, I have to work.”

“Tomorrow’s Sunday.”

“I have to go over some reports and I want to see Frank on Monday.”

They were both silent.

“We’ll talk about it when you get home.”

“See you in twenty minutes. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Barnett walked away from the phone, stopped, fished a quarter out of his pocket and dialed Caggiano.

A tired voice answered: “Homicide, Lieutenant Caggiano.”

“Cag, Mike. I want to visit the Brady apartment. Is it available?”

“Sealed. I got a key here.”

“Send it over tonight, okay?”

“Okay. What else?”

“What makes you think there’s a what-else?”

“There’s always a what-else with you.”

“Well it just so happens there isn’t,” said Barnett. Actually, there was, but he wouldn’t give Caggiano the satisfaction. He wanted a pager so he wouldn’t be out of touch while he was still officially out. “I’ll be busy all day tomorrow. Call you on Monday.”

Barnett hung up and turned up the volume on the jukebox. The young man who protested before looked up and smiled. Barnett saluted him and walked back to the bar.

“We have to go. Mom’s expecting us.” He glanced at the untouched five and pointed toward the tip snifter.

“Where’s my surprise?” Penny said.

“What surprise?”

“Come on, Daddy.”

Billy watched as Barnett produced the panda book­mark and danced it along the bar top. Penny’s face lit up.

“Thanks, Daddy,” she said, as she hugged him.


to come


On The Line: The Men of MCI Who Took on AT&T – Risked Everything – and Won


Everyone knew AT&T was invincible, it was the largest company in the world, bigger than Exxon, General Motors, and U.S. Steel combined. It had assets worth over $22 billion, annual profits that topped $1.2 billion, and a virtual monopoly on the telephone industry. No reasonable person would try to take on AT&T.


But some people won’t listen to reason. And when Jack Goeken saw the weaknesses in AT&T’s system, heard innumerable businesses complain about AT&T service, and had the bright idea of establishing a ‘truckers’ two-way radio network from Chicago to St. Louis, a new from Chicago to St. Louis, a new age in the information industry was born… a new age in which MCI would lead the way. With the dogged persistence of Jack Goeken and the financial wizardry of Bill McGowan, MCI grew from a bunch of upstarts with a $3,000 war chest to one of the fastest-growing and most innovative companies in the world. Once dismissed as a long shot, MCI is now-widely heralded as a model company for the 21st century.


In this fast-paced and absorbing chronicle of corporate derring-do , veteran business writer Larry Kahaner takes you inside MCI, examining every aspect of this company’s meteoric rise. You’ll discover how Jack Goeken, naïve but blessed with good luck, petitioned the FCC and won the landmark decision that broke AT&Ts stranglehold on competition. You’ll watch the men of MCI raise 33 million dollars with their first stock offering – the largest public offering ever for a company without a product. And you’ll learn how MCI mushroomed almost overnight from a local, seat-of-the-pants operation into a national long-distance network, a major force in the telecommunications Industry, and one of the fastest growing companies in the world…and how the men of MCl – driven by their dream to beat AT&T and have fun doing it – rode their wild, often out-of-control young business to the pinnacle of success.

First Pages

Bill McGowan walked into the most important meeting of his life. This wouldn’t be like the hundreds of other ones. He wouldn’t get bored and read some industry newsletter and listen with half an ear to other people. He wouldn’t get up and leave after two hours, either. That was his usual limit. He got bored easily.


This was action, good action. He hadn’t felt the need to visit Las Vegas in years. He satisfied his occasional gambling urges right here. He “bet the company” often. If you’re not willing to take chances, why bother? If you can’t try new things, make a couple of mistakes, what fun was it?


He didn’t do it because the company was invincible. Some people thought it was. They figured the company had made it and would always be around. Hadn’t it established once and forever its legal right to exist and compete in an industry once monopolized by AT&T, the world’s largest company? And wasn’t it pulling in almost $2 billion a year? Hadn’t it been cited time and time again by business magazines and newspapers as having the best managers in the world, the most aggressive and unique strategies, and the fastest growth of almost any company ever? Wasn’t it responsible for putting the entire telephone industry up for grabs, not only in the United States but overseas as well—$55 billion to anyone who had the guts to go after it?


No, McGowan knew better than that. The company hadn’t made it Anyone who thought so didn’t belong in the company. Sure,  it was successful – in the past – at all the other businesses it was in. It had former lives, past businesses that it focused on and succeeded in before it moved forward to the next. That was McGowan’s greatest strength. Knowing what business the company was in, and even though things had to be done, one business took priority. The “getting the license” business, the “litigation” business, the “survival” business, and others. Yes, it was successful at those, but now things were all new, all different. They were entering a new phase, a new business. The slate was clean, and whether the company would the company’s resources had to the company’s resources had to be channeled into the new business. The “equal access” business.


For the first time, the playing field was almost level. All competitors were the same. The ground rules had been written, and the contest was beginning. It was time to put up or shut up. No more luck, no more excuses. If this phase wasn’t successful, the company would die. All those things that McGowan had said in the past would be lies. All that the company stood for, all the new management techniques it fostered would be relegated to a couple of pages in some business school’s case study course.


The company was grounded in the belief that telecommunications was the vehicle of the information age. Much like railroads and trucks moved the manufactured goods of the industrial age, telecommunications would be the conduit of this new commodity – information.


McGowan had spent most of his adult life preparing for this new age. Now he believed the company was ready. Everything was in place for it to become the world’s premiere telecommunications company. I for it to become the world’s premiere telecommunications company. It had spent more than a billion dollars building a domestic long distance network second only to AT&T’s. It had begun service to other countries, getting ready for that “global community” where anyone m the world is just a phone call away. It had established an “electronic mail” business, allowing people to communicate over their computers. It had a finger in paging networks, car telephone systems, fiber optics, microwave networks, satellites – all the foundations of the new telecommunications infrastructure.  He would tell you that it all came down to filling in a basic two-by-two matrix: Domestic/International: Voice/Data. Whatever it is, he wanted the company to do it. He was betting  that there could never be too much capacity and that his company would be more efficient at handling it than anyone else.


He had established a company that businesspeople thought typified the new age. It was mean and lean. It gave employees the chance to grow along with it and rewarded those who made the company money. It provided a challenge to anyone willing to accept it. It broke a lot of corporate rules along the way and took a lot of flak for it.


McGowan had driven hard, working almost seven days a week for nearly twenty years. Unlike the typical corporate chairman, he never married; the company and its employees were his family. He smoked too many cigarettes; drank a bit too much as well, his colleagues used to tell him, until they finally gave up. He did stop once, cold turkey. About ten years ago, but he was hell to work with. They were happy, but also sad, to see him start again.


He had always told his top managers that they should look ahead five or ten years and then look back at now. “What do you wish you done back then, to get where you want to be now?” he asked. It was a favorite game, one that allowed long-term planning often to the detriment of short-term gains. That had always been the problem with Wall Street. They looked at the short term; he believed in looking ahead. Short-term setbacks caused the stock to drop like crazy during some years, and that scared off investors. A year ago, McGowan was losing more than a million dollars a day from his personal portfolio. It didn’t really bother him, though; he wasn’t in it just for the money. He was in it for the challenge, the rush.


Now was one of those times when the company was out of favor with “the Street.” After ten straight quarters of growth, the company that was called everything from “high flier” to “high-tech wonder” was losing money. Profits were down and would be down again the next quarter. The stock had slipped to its lowest price in nearly four years. Ardent company boosters, those who had been passionate cheerleaders in the past, were beginning to doubt if McGowan could really pull this thing off.


Even though AT&T was still reeling from its massive divestiture, it wouldn’t take long for it to get up to speed. For now, AT&T was still partially regulated by the government because of its huge market presence, but that was changing. Other competitors were getting wise. Too. They couldn’t be laughed off anymore. Some people didn’t think it was the best time to change the entire company. It might show they were really in trouble. How would it look to the outside world?


The biggest threat was not from the outside, though. It was from? Within the company itself. Bureaucracy was creeping in slowly, but surely, threatening to do to the company what its competitors could not—bring it to a dead stop. The company couldn’t afford to move slowly now. It couldn’t stand to get fat, particularly now when it would have to move fast to survive. It was heading that way, all right, and now was the time to stop it.


The company had once moved like lightning. It had seized opportunities  and made quick decisions on the run while the others were still talking. That was the real secret of its success.  Keep moving. Focus on the business. Focus on the business.


Three years ago, McGowan wanted to decentralize the company. Put jobs out in the field where they belonged, but he was stymied. Wasn’t convinced then that the company had the right people for these very special jobs. Each person would take control of a company, a clone of the big company but with a difference. Each would have absolute control. Almost all functions would leave the Washington, D.C., headquarters and reside in the field. Each president could organize it any way he wanted to, do things the way he wanted to do them, and no one at headquarters would argue or criticize as long as it worked. The company had to get close to its customers again. It had to get a handle on its tremendous growth. Most important, in an age of vicious competition, it had to do all the little things right. A big company just couldn’t work anymore.


Unlike decentralization attempts at other companies that were merely cosmetic, McGowan wanted this one to be for real. Anything that didn’t have to be done at headquarters went out. It was better to err on the side of letting them have too much control than too little. What he was really counting on to show that he was serious was the message he sent to the company’s ten thousand employees by dismantling his management team in Washington and sending them out to the regions. At most other companies, that move might be considered political suicide. A company chairman not surrounded by his deputies was often deemed impotent and crippled. Here it was a necessary risk if this idea was to work.


The details of the plan had been talked about for months. Everyone knew who was getting the new top jobs, but this was the first time that all the new presidents were assembled and told what was expected of them. Together, they would hear how the whole thing was going to work.


As usual, McGowan walked around, cracked some jokes. Business serious, but it didn’t have to be somber. Why shouldn’t he and everyone else enjoy themselves?


He walked behind the podium, and everyone settled in. It was uncharacteristically bland of McGowan to use clichés, but on this occasion he did. He told the new presidents. “This is the first day of the rest of our life. MCI is a new company.”



“A PAGE TURNER, chock full of offbeat characters.”


USA Today




“From rags to riches… from the brink of bankruptcy to a secure second place position in the $42-billion telecommunications market. On the Line takes us behind the scenes, setting the stage for each successive showdown with a not-so-benevolent Ma Bell-on Capitol Hill, in federal courtrooms, and before the Federal Communications Commission. It’s a fascinating story peopled with rebels from the conventional business world… an entrepreneur adventure story.


Business Week




On The Line is a fascinating case study of how a small business becomes a big business – and begins to act like one…. It’s written in an informal, quick-read style like a novel or a prime-time soap opera… and provides some of the best insights yet into the long-distance business. The story of the one of the greatest business battles in American history.


Fort Lauderdale News and Sun Sentinel






Publishers Weekly





Memphis Business Journal








“The engrossing text reads like a novel… .EXCELLENT”


Library Journal





Dallas Times Herald




Cults That Kill: Probing the Underworld of Occult Crime



“Occult crime may be the most difficult area of police work today. You won’t find simple cases with obvious suspects. You find bits and pieces, evidence that goes nowhere, testimony that is always suspect and crimes so bizarre and disgusting that even police officers don’t want to believe it exists. ”


–        Det. Sandi Gallant, San Francisco Police Department



“Where all these occult religions go bad is when people aren’t satisfied to live within the environment they have created. It s not enough to have power over themselves. They want to control the heavens and each other. As the need for more power grows, occult crime increases. It attracts people who aren’t satisfied; they want more power. The more powerful you are. the more people you have power over, and the more powerful you become in turn.”


–        Det. Cleo Wilson, Denver Police Department



In the Midwest, an epidemic of animal mutilations leaves hundreds of cattle and horses dismembered with frighteningly surgical skill…in Michigan, a fifteen-year-old boy shoots his older brother in the head at pointblank range and kills him…in California, young children in day-care centers tell stories of prayers to Satan, animal and human sacrifices, and ritualized sexual abuse.


In all three cases-and countless similar ones-the evidence gathered by authorities points to a frightening new criminal element threatening the peace and safety of us all. It’s the world of occult crime, and it’s the most discussed issue in law enforcement today.


A hidden society is thriving in America. Though the vast majority of people involved with occult groups are citizens merely exercising their First Amendment rights, law enforcement officials now believe that a number of these underground cults are responsible for a growing number of horrifying, violent crimes. Stories of child abuse are reports of grave stories of child abuse are reports of grave robberies, torture, and arson…all stained by the signs and symbols of the occult. There is also evidence of nationwide connections between black magic groups and drug and pornography rings.


Against this growing criminal problem stands a small army of dedicated police investigators affectionately known as “cult cops” or “ghostbusters” by their peers. Piercing a once impenetrable veil of secrecy, this book details the phenomenon in crime through the eyes and with the voices of those trained to stop it. Much like drug crimes in the 1960s, computer crimes in the 70s, and terrorism in the 80s, occult crime is fresh territory, and at least as far-reaching as any criminal trend that has gone before it.


Besides the actual words of the cult cops themselves, you’ll also hear testimony by medical and psychiatric experts, practitioners of white and black arts, victims, and others. You’ll go to crime scenes, see police records and confiscated evidence, and witness the secret ceremonies themselves. You’ll learn what the experts have to say about the different occult groups in America today-who they are. Where they worship, and how the local communities and law enforcement officials try to deal with their activities.


Where will the future battle lines be drawn? No one knows for sure, but one fact is clear. More occult crime is reported every day. And the police and – and the public – have a long way to go before occult crime is stopped.

First Pages

Chapter 1: The Cult Cops


Some police officers are experts in terrorism, gangs, orga­nized crime, or explosives. A handful have focused on occult crime. Some detectives were thrust into the field by a single case, while others have found themselves bewildered by an ex­plosion of apparently bizarre and unrelated cases and have strived to make sense of them. Although each officer ap­proaches the subject in his or her own way, each shares an irresist­ible passion and curiosity about human beings who operate just beyond what most of us would consider the real world.

[Sandi Gallant, forty-four, is a detective with the Intelli­gence Division of the San Francisco Police Department. In 1972, she made national news by being the first female po­lice officer assigned to street duty in San Francisco. She also worked as the first decoy prostitute, the model for sim­ilar police actions now commonplace. Her interest in cults and the occult was triggered by the Jonestown, Guyana, mass suicide of Jim Jones and members of the People’s Temple, which was established in San Francisco.]


DET. SANDI GALLANT: I got a call at home on November 23, 1978, from my boss saying, “Do you know anything about People’s Temple?”


I said, “I know they’ve been right next door to where the Zebra [murders] suspects were for quite some time, and when I worked in Juvenile every once in a while somebody would call and complain that their kid was with this group, but I really know nothing about them.” He said, “We’re getting re­ports that two hundred in the group committed suicide.”


We both kind of cackled on the phone and said it was ridiculous. Then he said, “But the reports are coming from the State Department.” I got serious real fast. “Oh, my.. ..” And he said, “Well, I just wanted to know if you knew anything about it.”


By the next day, the count was four hundred people. The Department had somebody who was working with the FBI, but the information wasn’t being gathered fast enough. I was working prison gangs at the time, eating my lunch one day in the office, and the boss said “Daly, get in here! [Daly was Gallant’s maiden name.] I got an assignment for you. The FBI needs someone to work liaison, to gather information, put files together.” I’ve always been fairly good at putting systems together, so I said, “Okay.” [Before entering the police acad­emy, Gallant worked as a civilian employee in the Police De­partment. She compiled the Department’s first comprehensive tattoo and scar file as well as a left- and right-handed file of criminals.]


What I did mostly was a lot of paper shuffling, a lot of paper handling. I wasn’t directly involved in the interviews until later on. One of the fellows in our office, however, Don Daniels, did some interviews of the survivors when they came back. One of the janitors in our building lost his wife and five children. Don and I did that interview, which was tough. A little bit after that, less than a year later, the man who was to become my partner, Jerry Belfield, and I got involved with some of the survivors who were living over in the East Bay.


Jeannie Mills, who was an ex-member of People’s Temple, was murdered along with her husband in their home in Berkeley. Their daughter was critically wounded. [Mills and her husband Al ran a halfway house for former cult members called the Human Freedom Center.] The original call came from one of the Jonestown survivors who was living over in Berkeley, and our immediate thought was, Oh my God, some­one from the Temple killed them. It’s starting again, but that turned out not to be the case.


We began doing some surveillance on some of Jones’s adopted children, just to get a feel for whether they were a little agitated or too excited, while Berkeley [Police Depart­ment] was trying to put the case together. That was really the beginning of how we got involved in cults. As it turned out, the D.A. didn’t have enough to go to prosecution, but the investigation suggested that the son had shot the parents and critically wounded his sister.


Out of that, over a period of months working that case, we developed a general interest in the area of cults. I eventually went back in to the boss and said, “There are other groups out there, certainly not to the point where the Jones group was, but there are some concerns around.” I told him that I didn’t necessarily look at law enforcement as something that always reacts after something happens but before it happens. I reminded him that our Department was starting to receive a series of complaints regarding specific organizations, and perhaps it might be wise to give it some serious thought.


Murphy, the boss, said, “Go for it,” which was highly unusual, because you have a problem. You have the First Amendment, freedom of religion, so I made it very clear to him that I wasn’t going in looking at the ideology of groups but their actions. I think the reason why they let us go ahead with this was People’s Temple. We got caught with our pants down.


[Dale Griffis, fifty, was captain of the Tiffin, Ohio, Police Department. Before his retirement in 1986, he served the Department for twenty-six years. His father was a sergeant with the Tiffin police, and he retired on the same day that his son, Dale, joined. Griffis is now a private consultant to law enforcement agencies on occult crime. He receives up to twenty-five inquiries daily and about a foot of mail weekly. He even has received mail addressed only “Cult Cop, Ohio.” His interest in cults and the occult began with a bizarre suicide in a neighboring town.]


CAPT. DALE GRIFFIS: There was a case here, just down the road from Tiffin, where a fifteen-year-old had committed su­icide. The young boy had become quite enamored with occult activity. He was found in a garage, with occult writings all over his body. He was between two black candles. The police chief was under a lot of pressure. Why did this happen?— upper-class parents and so on. The chief said to me, “Dale, you’ve got a degree in psychology and all that, so why don’t you take a look; we’ve got a hell of a problem.”




On 23 March 1980 the fifteen-year-old son of a local official committed suicide by hanging himself in the loft of the residential garage. The deceased was found by a family member at about 0700 hours on 24 March. The youth had covered himself with curious writings that give the appearance of being inspired by cultish connections referencing Satanic origins. Descriptions of markings as follows:


Upper torso, below base of neck, “Satan” printed w/orange lipstick.

Middle of torso (chest), “IM COME HOME MAS­TER” [sic] printed with ballpoint pen.

Middle lung area, the numbers “666” printed with orange lipstick.

Left ribcage area, “SATAN” printed w/orange lip­stick.

Front of right leg and ankle, “I LOVE SATAN” w/ ballpoint pen.

Buttock area, vertical line and, crosswise across top of the buttocks, a horizontal line at the bottom of the vertical line. These lines have the appearance of an upside down cross when viewed from top to bot­tom; this was done w/orange lipstick.

Inside of left thigh, “LUCIFER” printed w/orange lipstick. Blood analysis indicated there was no drugs or toxins present.


CAPT. DALE GRIFFIS: By the time I got there the crime scene had been disturbed. I talked with the investigators; I tried the parents. I wanted to know what kind of things the kid was reading. I guess I was looking for the psychological reason at the time, approaching it from a pseudoscientific angle. I couldn’t get much from the parents. They were in no condition to talk about it. The investigators were pretty much certain that it wasn’t a murder. I was bothered by the writing being in hard to reach places on his body, but I also knew that a distorted mind can be devious and creative.


I drove over with the chief of our department, and on the way back I said, “I don’t know, Dave, I’ve got a lot of questions in the back of my mind that have got to be settled. I think what bothers me more than anything else is that I think this type of activity is going to become worse m the United States.”


It wasn’t a scientific wild-ass guess- I guess I had been boot smart from school. Keep in mind that I had been taughtthe transition of the modality of criminals and all that psy­chological mumbo jumbo, but I had police experience going back forty years at that time. When you’re born into the cop business and it’s in your blood . . . there’s something from my roots and everything else that said there’s a problem. Take all that and something inside of me says there’s something here. Call it a hunch or whatever you want.


The questions kept on my mind. I asked Tom Spellerberg, the local prosecutor. “Tom, maybe I’m all wrong, but we’ve got some of these groups floating around in America that very few people know anything about. One of these days, you’re really going to have to do something. Nobody’s doing any­thing, no type of study, nothing. You’ve got FOJ funds [local Furtherance of Justice funds]. If I guarantee you not to leave law enforcement and use what I learn to help the citizens of Seneca County, would you see that I get some training?” He said, “Where would you go to school?” I said, “By God that’s a good question.”


[Pat Metoyer, forty-seven, a twenty-two-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, is currently a member of the Criminal Conspiracy Section. He has worked in juvenile and homicide departments. His interest in the occult is an outgrowth of his investigations into brainwashing by cult groups.]


DET. PAT METOYER: When I was in the public disorder intelligence division we monitored groups. Some of the groups we monitored were Scientology as well as some of the other religious groups. You begin to see that in some of those or­ganizations there’s a certain amount of brainwashing that must necessarily take place in order for a person to believe. A good example of that is Jim Jones and the People’s Temple. Of that whole group, the dumbest person there was the last one to drink the poison. He saw all his friends drink/this stuff and go belly up, and he stood in line to get a drink of this damn poison. That shows you the power of brainwashing, and I began doing some studies with respect to brainwashing, number one, and as they related to cults, number two. I wanted to learn how to pick out those persons who would be most susceptible to cult involvements.


About four or five years ago, I was lecturing about na­tionalistic terrorism. The fellow in charge of a seminar asked me, “Would you like to lecture for me at an exposition for law enforcement officers?” I said “Sure,” but he says, “Instead of talking about nationalistic terrorism how about religious ter­rorism?” I said, “No way, I wouldn’t do that.”


He persisted. “I really would like to have you lecture, but I’d like to have something that has some links with religion.” I finally said, “Okay, how about if I do my research and I lecture on Satanism and the occult?” He said “Okay.”


[Bill Wickersham, thirty-seven, is a detective with the Den­ver Police Department. His father was a sheriff and encour­aged Bill to become a police officer. Wickersham’s special interest in the occult came about as the result of an investi­gation into a juvenile prostitution ring. His partner was Det. Cleo Wilson.]


DET. BILL WICKERSHAM: All we did that summer was ride around in the patrol car, my partner Cleo and me. We got right into the line of cars [picking up male prostitutes], and by the time we got around the right corner we would find somebody new, some kid that we hadn’t seen before. We asked for I.D., that sort of thing. The first week we had twelve com­plaints of harassment. I mean we were busy.


We got in good with some of the adult male hookers. They snitched on the kids because they were ruining their business.


One night we got a complaint that some juvenile prosti­tutes were hanging out at a sandwich place at 13th and GrandAvenue, in the Capital Hill area of Denver. They were supposed to be runaways. We interviewed them and knew they were runaways because they all told different stories. We brought them downtown. Four kids total.


We found out that three were runaways. The oldest boy said he was eighteen, but we couldn’t verify it so we had to let him go. It turned out later he was only seventeen, a juvenile. The other kids were either sent to shelters or their parents picked them up.


We had been noticing that many of the juveniles we picked up had insignias on their jackets and clothes—inverted crosses and “666.” I remember one kid we picked up for dope had a great big inverted cross on the back of his jacket. Above that he had an inverted pentagram, and below the cross he had “666.” Not only that, but he had calling cards with all these symbols on it and the type of sex he would perform. It just blew my mind.


I said to Cleo, “This son of a bitch is evil.” I know what “666” means, and I know what the inverted cross means. I knew the “666” from the Bible, and I knew from catechism that the inverted cross was the symbol of the Antichrist.


I saw it with this doper we picked up, and now we were seeing it with these other kids we had. Not only that, but one kid’s father started telling us stories about how the kids were into witchcraft and I said, “What kind of bullshit. . .” He said, “I have a whole box of stuff that one of the kids left at my house.” I said, “What have you got?” and he described all this crazy stuff, and I looked at Cleo and said, “Oh, shit, what is going on here?”


He brought in the box the next day, and it had inverted crosses, pentagrams, athames [ceremonial daggers], pacts with Satan that these kids had written. I said to Cleo, “This is evil. This is Exorcist shit.” That movie scared the living piss out of me. Being a Catholic it scared me. The father was anxious to know about his son’s youngerbrother. He was ten years old, and the father didn’t know where he was. We started asking the kids about him, but we couldn’t talk to them. They were in another world. They spoke a different language.


[Cleo (short for Cleotilde) Wilson, forty, has been a police officer for thirteen years with the Denver Police Depart­ment. She and Bill Wickersham became partners about seven years ago.]


DET. CLEO WILSON: Talking to this group of kids was prob­ably the hardest thing we had ever done. We had talked to other kids, prostitutes, kids who are victims of violence, but we never had so many problems getting information as we did with these kids. They lied for each other constantly. They were hard as rocks. There was no conscience.


We had a ten-year-old out there, and we would do almost anything to get to him. We didn’t know if they had leased him out to some John or what.


We finally found out where he was. He was in a hotel on East Colfax in a high crime area. We found a sixteen-year-old girl with him.


It was kind of an eerie feeling to see these kids who were so hardcore, and seeing the kinds of things they had pledged—pacts with Satan, pledges of fidelity to the group.


We needed to know about the older kid, the one that everyone else was protecting. His name was Donald Bradley. We figured he was the leader.



[Some additional letters have been added by Bradley

to make the words pronounceable but there are

misspellings, too.]



When through with the Lord’s prayer backwards, blow out the candle and say “So mote it be.”


DET. CLEO WILSON: I had been brought up in a strict Cath­olic background. I knew about the devil and demonic posses­sion, so I was aware of the symbolism. I knew what they meant, but I didn’t know if they were meaning the same things to these kids as what I had been taught.


So, we went to a priest at the high school where I had been and talked to him. He referred us to Jim McCarthy, an instructor at the University at Boulder. He went to juvenile hall with us and asked them questions in vernacular that they could understand. We sat there and realized why we weren’t getting anywhere. We didn’t even speak the same language.


After a while, we were able to piece together information about this group, what they were doing and who was in charge. Bill and I both had trouble believing what we were hearing.



“Interviews here with police officers, psychiatrists and others in the field make it clear that there exist in the U.S. all sorts of cults that are involved not only in bizarre ceremonies and the ritual sacrifice of animals but also in child sexual abuse and perhaps even murder. Kahaner ( On the Line ) draws distinctions between satanism and witchcraft and shows how such Latin American phenomena as Santeria (perverted worship of the saints) and Brujeria (a mix of ancient Aztec practices and Catholicism) are allied. But, most disturbing, apart from the reports of children involved in ritual practices, are the testimonies of adults who joined in such incidents in their youth and have been scarred by their involuntary participation. This is a revealing study that will prove shocking to readers.”


Publishers Weekly



“Powerful stuff.”


Charleston Post-Courier



“The format, especially the many and varied voices, is fasdnatl^ng, and much like the blind men describing the elephant, the total picture presents a very dark, very real animaL Though intended to aid In law enforcement by showing the breadth of the crimes, the book should also prove helpful to those who deal with the survivors of such cults. ”






“Offers insight into a problem that grows worse… Fans of true-crime tales will especially want to find a spot for this book on their shelves.”


Flint (Mich.) Journal





Salem (Ark.) News



“An excellent tool for investigators who have been assigned cases that involve cults or who already investigate cult crimes.”


Washington Crime News Service





Say It and Live It: The 50 Corporate Mission Statements That Hit the Mark



Say It And Live It is the first collection of provocative, passionate, and intelligent corporate mission statements — the most powerful and popular managerial tool in business today. A corporate mission statement is the most dramatic presentation of a company’s vision and its goal. No other document — annual report, press release, news article, statement from the board of directors — tells us more about a company’s values and ethics than a mission statement. Companies know that if they write it down, they will have to live up to it — so they devote months, even years, the energy of people from the CEO on down, and significant sums of money to crafting them.


Say It And Live It is the only source of information for the many business people who are currently writing their own mission statements. In it, authors Patricia Jones and Larry Kahaner show that industry leaders are frequently corporations that truly live their mission statements.


Some of the winners include: Avis, Ben & Jerry’s, Boeing, Citicorp, General Electric, Gillette, Hallmark Cards, IBM, Kellogg’s, Reader’s Digest, Saturn, Southwest Airlines, UPS, and Xerox. Say It And Live It is a collection of the fifty best corporate mission statements in America. Each entry consists of the company’s complete mission statement, along with an explanation of how it was written, a lesson about how that mission statement saved the company or motivated employees, or comments from the CEO or the president. The introduction points out the common elements of these philosophical documents, while the final chapter is a list of tips on how you can write your own mission statement.




AT&T Corp.

Avis Rent A Car System, Inc.

American Barrick Resources Corporation

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.

Binney & Smith Inc.

The Boeing Company

Boston Beer Company

Leo Burnett Company, Inc.

Campbell & Ferrara Nurseries, Inc.

Celestial Seasonings, Inc.


CSX Corporation

Dayton Hudson Corporation

Delta Air Lines, Inc.

Gannett Company, Inc.

GEICO Corporation

General Electric Company

General Mills, Inc.

Georgia-Pacific Corporation

Gerber Products Company

The Gillette Company

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Hanna Andersson Corporation

Honda Of America Manufacturing, Inc.

International Business Machines Corporation

Intel Corporation

Johnson & Johnson

Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.

Kellogg Company

Arthur D. Little, Inc.

Marriott Lodging Group

Merck & Company, Inc.

Motorola, Inc.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company

The Park Lane Group

J.C. Penney Company, Inc.

The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

Saturn Corporation

The Southland Corporation

Southwest Airlines Company

Steelcase, Inc.

Levi Strauss & Company

Tom’s of Maine

Trammell Crow Company

Twentieth Century Investors, Inc.

United Parcel Service, Inc.

Worthington Industries, Inc.

Xerox Corporation



How to Write a Mission Statement


Six Rules for Writing and Implementing Your Own Mission Statement


Writing your own mission statement can be a tough job, but ultimately you’ll get more out of the assignment than just your mission statement. What you’ll end up with is a clear, concise definition of what your company does, how it does it, why it does it and where it’s going in the future. This exercise in itself can help focus your company on the crucial issues that perhaps you didn’t realize or were unwilling to face squarely and honestly.


Each company composes its mission statement in its own way, and this section will give you tips on how to write a mission statement designed for your company. This book is filled with examples on how other companies have done it, and their wisdom and trials can help you to write yours. Read what they’ve done, and use their techniques when they seem right for you. Be creative; devise and invent methods that suit your company’s culture.


Although corporations have used the term ‘mission statement’ to include all kinds of philosophical statements including missions, values, visions, principles, credos, bonds and so on, let’s break that apart for the moment. For most companies, the actual ‘mission statement’ is short and describes what they do and what business they’re in. After that, they have the enabling or supporting material like values, principles or philosophies which help them accomplish their mission statement’s goals.


The first question you should ask is: “What do I want to tell everybody that we do?” For example, Avis’s Quest for Excellence says: … our business is renting cars… Leo Burnett’s mission states: The mission of the Leo Burnett Company is to create superior advertising.


Although some companies don’t have a ‘mission statement,’ it’s helpful for most companies to describe what they do, not just for themselves, but for outsiders and investors. For companies going through a massive change – such as selling off divisions and only focusing on their new core business – having a statement of what it does can be stabilizing and reassuring to employees and investors.


The second part of the project is writing the enablers. These elements tell everyone how the ‘mission statement’ will be accomplished and what principles or values the company and its people will use to guide them day to day and into the future. This section always evokes strong feelings from executives and others in the company, because it’s about human values and no two people exactly agree on what they should be.


A whole or entire mission statement should be as simple or as complex as the company. Look at Steelcase as an example: one sentence says it all. Then look at Xerox. It’s so complex that it takes a while to find all the tentacles of this monster. However, each one works for that particular company and that’s what counts.


Intel is a good example of a long mission statement – it has several parts – but because it’s laid out in diagram form it’s very simple even though it’s rather lengthy. It works because each section is pithy and to the point.


     Rule #1: Keep the statement simple. Not necessarily short, but simple.


Who should write it?


Some companies like Ben & Jerry’s had one person write it. Twentieth Century Investors used a team approach. While other companies like Boeing and Saturn used outside consultants for some parts.


Different yet, IBM used a top-down approach – what the CEO wrote becomes dogma. While other CEOs  – like Bob Allen of AT&T – wrote The Common Bond, sent it out for review by employees, then altered it based on their comments.


There is no consensus, but the best approach seems to be that the top manager or managers write the mission statement then send it out for review and comment by the senior managers and employees. Why? This way, everyone feels they have a hand in producing the document. This involvement helps get people on board. It gets them excited about the document’s beliefs and principles. They have a stake in its fulfillment.


And that’s Rule #2: Allow companywide input.


Sometimes people inside a company are too close to the action to look objectively at the big picture. On the other hand, who knows more about the company than those inside who live it every day? A powerful strategy is to write the mission statement in-house with the help of an outsider. Outsiders bring a fresh look at stale problems and they can help steer around political swamps.


     Rule # 3: Outsiders can bring clarity and a fresh perspective to your statement-writing process.


What should the mission statement sound like, very proper or colloquial? Northwestern Mutual Life still uses the exact wording of its original statement written in 1888. Even though some of the phrases are not colloquial anymore, it gives the company the old-fashioned flavor that it relishes and is its strength.  The new, fast moving General Electric uses only three words and one of them is made up – ‘boundaryless’ – to show innovation and a break from the old way of doing business.


Hanna Andersson fancies itself a homey, friendly company and its choice of words reflects warmth and tenderness. The same can be said for Celestial Seasonings.


     Rule #4: The wording and tone should reflect the company’s personality or what the company would like to be.


After you’ve written your statement, you’re not done. The hardest part lies ahead: Dissemination and adoption. How do you get the statement out to workers, and how do you get them to live it?


Getting the word out and in front of workers all the time, making it part of the culture, is a challenge. It’s also the part where companies have shown the greatest creativity.


Perhaps the most amusing tack comes from Southwest Airlines. They put their mission statement in boxes of Crackerjacks and  gave them out to employees. When IBM introduced their Principles, they not only used their company publications but let managers know that the corporate office would foot the bill for copies to be produced and disseminated to hang in offices around the world.


Merck uses a novel approach for dissemination of their Declaration of Intent. It’s an actual declaration, signed by all 450 senior managers, framed and hung in all areas.


Wallet-sized cards seem to be a good choice for many companies including Goodyear, Kellogg’s, Ritz-Carlton, Binney & Smith and Motorola. Many use two versions; one to carry and one to have in your desk or hanging on the wall. Motorola employees use the card for impromptu challenges and games.


Video presentations about the mission statement work well, too, especially when the CEO can’t reach everyone personally. Delta uses a video presentation as does Gillette. For companies with many branches it’s the only way the CEO can ‘visit’ them all.


Honda of America teaches courses in the mission statement. United Parcel pays hourly workers to attend sessions on their own time about their mission statement.


     Rule #5: Share the mission statement in as many creative ways as possible and in as many languages as necessary. Keep it in front of people constantly.


Of course, all of these tips are hollow unless the mission statement is really used.


At many companies such as Intel and Boeing, all employees, including managers, are judged by how well they follow their mission statements. In many ways this is imminently fair. Everyone knows exactly what is expected of them.


The mission statement must continue to be relevant. At Gannett, upper management looks at the Game Plan every year to see if it needs updating in a business that changes rapidly. Arthur D. Little also continually checks its mission statement to make sure it still makes sense for them.


Many companies have short and long term goals in their mission statements. This forces them to visit the statement constantly to see how they’re measuring up. Boston Beer, for example, has picked 2006 as its date for Samuel Adams to be … the largest and most respected craft or imported beer in the United States…  Other companies call for themselves to be the leader in an industry and this pledge also invites constant scrutiny of the mission statement.


Last, Rule #6: Rely on the mission statement for guidance. Challenge it continuously, and judge employees by how well they adhere to its tenets. Management must say it and live it.




“One of the Ten Best Business Books of 1995.”


— Atlanta Business Chronicle


“If you’ve already got a mission statement but fear it isn’t very good, the statements reprinted here will give you perspective… illuminating commentary…”


— Fortune Magazine


“The power of mission statements arises from the idea that clarity of intention and belief really does affect reality. If you would like to define or redefine that values and beliefs that power your business, Say It and Live It will surely illuminate the process.”


— Executive Bookshelf

“If you would like to define – or redefine – that values and beliefs that power your business, Say It and Live It will surely illuminate your process.”

–Washington Business Journal


“…An indispensable resource to any serious discussion about your mission statement… remarkably instructive… The real value of this book is learning why and how very successful companies invest significant time and thought in the creation and application of mission statements.”


— JCC Association magazine Circle


“This book should be exceedingly valuable for anyone who is thinking about creating a mission statement or modifying an existing set of guidelines and principles. It is even powerful for individuals to see how people in some of the most-admired companies in the U.S. (yes, I would submit there is a correlation between that and mission statements) think about their companies.”


— Production Magazine


“The first collection of the most intriguing and effective corporate mission statements. A must-have book.”


— Light Party for Economic Reform


Johnson and Johnson Case Study


How their Mission Statement Helped Johnson & Johnson Survive the Tylenol Crisis


(excerpted from “Say It and Live It”)


Johnson & Johnson is one of those great American corporate classics. Started in l886 by the three Johnson brothers with fourteen employees in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Johnson & Johnson today has 82,000 employees worldwide and $14 billion in sales.


Johnson & Johnson has produced some of the world’s most well-known brands, including Johnson’s Baby Powder, which was introduced in l893; Band-Aids, introduced in l920, and Tylenol, in l960.


Johnson & Johnson’s Our Credo is their guiding philosophy. It was written by General Robert Wood Johnson more than fifty years ago. Our Credo covers four main areas of responsibility: customers, employees, communities and shareholders.


“For its time, it was extremely forward looking and visionary,” says Robert Kniffin, vice president of corporate public relations. “It was challenged by the management in the mid-’70s when the chairman decided if it was going to hang on walls and be on desks in offices that it should not just be a token or symbol, but should be an article of faith,” he says. “He convened a couple of meetings with top management and challenged them with provocative questions about the conflicting tenets of the Credo. For example, an inefficient plant that you’ve had for many years. If you close it, what happens to the community; what about your obligation to employees? Or, what do you do with a batch of product that is fine, but the labels are on crooked? People argued with considerable emotion about such things, with the object of asking whether this document was necessary and desirable, and if so, should it be modernized or changed. Out of that came some changes. That Credo challenge process continues right up until this day, and has resulted in some further changes in the text, but remarkably few in my opinion,” he says.


“We are going through a period of enormous change, facing all kinds of challenges–from customers, from competitors, from government,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Larsen had told employees. “When you go through that kind of stressful challenge, you’ve got to be rooted in a set of fundamental beliefs. When we talk to our constituencies–hospitals, retailers, suppliers, government regulators, even competitors–they presume that we are going to do the right thing and act honorably,” Larsen noted.



Johnson & Johnson’s true test of doing the right thing occurred in l982 during the Tylenol tamperings. Kniffin, who was at the company then, tells the story: “In l982, when the poisoning occurred in Chicago, where someone put cyanide poison in the capsules, we had an unprecedented situation and had to invent ways of dealing with it. For example, that day the chairman sent me and someone from the law department to Pennsylvania where the product was made (McNeil Consumer). I spent the next ten days there dealing with the media, and we had to deal with them the best we could. Multiply that with the phone calls we got from consumers, from doctors, from hospitals and from law enforcement agencies. We didn’t know what happened, whether something had happened in the plant or outside. To know beyond a shadow of a doubt took weeks. You had all these people within this company in a compressed, anxious, bordering on the hysterical, along with personal pressures on making decisions about what to do.


“I was in the president’s office (at McNeil Consumer) and he had asked the vice president of finance to compute what it would cost to recall all of the capsules in the United States. This guy came back a couple of days later and said he calculated that it would be $75 million. And then he said, ‘but we don’t have 75 million dollars,’ meaning McNeil Consumer. Then there was a pause and another guy said, ‘but how can we not do this, because there might be another bottle on the shelf, and if we don’t get them back, someone might die.’ It was not an instance where someone said ‘let’s consult the Credo and think through this problem, starting with what’s our responsibility to the consumer, but rather it was a way of looking at the world, at business and at the decisions. The Credo structures the way you think about things. When all was done and the dust had settled, we reached the conclusion that those hundreds of individual decisions were right decisions. They sprang from some common way of looking at the world, which in retrospect was the Credo.


At the time, Tylenol was the company’s largest single money-maker. During the incident, their market share of the analgesic market dropped from 37 percent to 7 percent within weeks and the company’s share price dropped 10 percent. In five months, a new tamper-proof Tylenol was back on the shelves, and it had regained 70 percent of its previous market share. Within three years its total market share was reached.


“The premise of the document was that if you order your priorities, most of the time it will work out. There are conflicts, of course. It was not in the stockholders’ interest to take a $50 million after-tax write off. Nobody ever complained about that, which is interesting. It all seems clear in retrospect, but during those first few days nothing was clear. I was convinced we were going to lose that brand. The decision was made to recall the capsules altogether. As a result of that, we did find three bottles on the shelves in Chicago that were poisoned,” says Kniffen.


“Companies usually don’t get a test of this type to ascertain the importance of a business philosophy, but having the Credo helped Johnson & Johnson employees unconsciously take the steps necessary to do the right thing,” he says.


Then Chairman James Burke was quoted at the time: “After the crisis was over we realized that no meeting had been called to make the first critical decision. Everyone of us knew what we had to do. We had the Credo to guide us.”


Since that time there has been a more conscious articulation of the Credo values in business meetings, according to Kniffin. “The value of the document was actually enhanced and the reputation of the company was ironically improved by that incident,” he says. “Many times in meetings on various subjects, people have eluded to the Credo, from salespeople to middle managers to executives, from personnel matters to community relations, from equity issues to consumer quality issues. There are questions of businesses we should or should not get it because, in part, of the Credo implications. It goes right to the essence of the company. The phrase, ‘this is a Credo issue’ you hear a lot these days.”


You’ll find the Credo part of the vocabulary at Johnson & Johnson, from developing ‘Credo-based’ leaders to ‘Credo-challenge meetings’ to ‘Credo surveys’. “We want to develop Credo-based leaders–broad-gauged, multi-dimensional men and women with superior talents, values and the energy it takes to bring out the best in people and produce outstanding business results,” Larsen told employees. Credo challenge meetings, begun in 1976, continue today at J&J. About 25 people attend each session and the session deals with the results of the Credo survey, which is done on a three year cycle. The Credo survey is a series of more than a hundred questions that give each employee (anonymously) the chance to rate how well the company is living up to the tenets of the Credo.


“In meeting consumer needs, we get very high grades,” says Kniffin. “In meeting community needs we get very high grades, in meeting stockholder needs, very high grades–but not employee needs, because we ask questions like ‘are you paid enough?’ But management tries to work on those issues,” he says. People in the challenge sessions are asked to reflect on why some areas receive higher scores that others and how those scores tie into the implementation of the values outlined in the credo.


Could you work for Johnson & Johnson? You have to believe in the Credo to climb the corporate ladder. As Chairman/CEO Larsen told employees: “while it is possible to succeed in Johnson & Johnson over the short-term without a true commitment to the credo … you will not do well over the long term. You have to believe in Our Credo and practice it to be able to finish your career with Johnson & Johnson.”






Values, Prosperity and the Talmud: Business Lessons from the Ancient Rabbis


“The first question a person is asked at judgment after death is, ‘Did you deal in good faith in your business?”


–The Talmud


Values, Prosperity, and the Talmud: Business Lessons From the Ancient Rabbis offers business advice that has endured for thousands of years. While business fads come and go, the ancient lessons of the Talmud are timeless, profound, ethical, and practical–and they’re for everyone.


Classics such as Sun Tzu’s Art of War and Machiavelli’s The Prince are now standard reading in business schools, but the Talmud (which means ‘study’) has been overlooked, mainly because of its massive size–2.5 million words–and the mistaken belief that it is a religious, mystical, or sacred work. Written in 500, but based on oral works centuries older, the Talmud is a comprehensive manual for living that covers almost every aspect of life–medicine, childrearing, astrology, law, food, religion, business, real estate, education, marriage, philosophy, and mathematics–and has been passed down from generation to generation. It emphasizes business matters because commerce, more than any other human activity, tests our moral mettle and reveals our true character, and because business offers us some of the best opportunities to do good deeds such as giving to charity, providing employment, and building prosperity in our communities and the world. Rather than demonizing wealth and trade, the Talmud teaches us to treat commerce as a wonderful opportunity for improvement, challenging us to think of work and money outside the narrow focus of self-interest.


Values, Prosperity, and the Talmud is a concise guide to this proven philosophy of business. Beyond basic money-related matters, it includes the Talmud’s advice on complex issues of employer/employee relationships, partnerships, competition, and much more. Here, you will learn how to run a successful business, negotiate with style, earn the loyalty of your employees, sell products successfully, advertise effectively, and make higher profits, all within an ethical and moral framework.


This book highlights  the Talmud’s most important contribution to modern businesspeople: a time-tested, value-based system that happily blends our business, personal, and spiritual lives. In Values, Prosperity, and the Talmud, he shows how profit and prosperity can go hand-in-hand with honesty, kindness, and community service.


Practical rather than dogmatic, the Talmud’s guidance is helpful to people of any religion or no religion at all. Values, Prosperity, and the Talmud offers all of us a chance to get back to basics and do business in a way that affects positive changes in our communities–and in ourselves.


First Pages


What Can I Learn About Business from a 1,500 Year-Old Book?


During the height of their $10 billion empire in the mid 1980s, the Reichmann family’s Olympia & York Development, Ltd. was the largest real estate company in North America. This Jewish orthodox family, immigrants to Canada from Hungary, had built a reputation based on integrity, honesty and on-time delivery of projects, while adhering to their core values of charity and generosity.


When competitors discovered that Paul Reichmann and his brothers studied the Talmud daily, they also began reading it to see if they could glean some of the family’s ‘business secrets’ from this esoteric document. To their dismay, there were no hidden secrets. The Reichmann’s business acumen stemmed from the Talmud’s practical advice, moral guidance and ethical values – teachings which the family precisely followed.


The Talmud is one of the cornerstones of Judaism and Jewish culture, but it is not a religious work. The Babylonian Talmud (There is a shorter and somewhat different Palestinian Talmud.) contains about 2-½ million words and is composed of discussions and debate among ancient rabbis (‘rabbi’ means ‘teacher’) that cover virtually every aspect of life from medicine to child-rearing from business to building a house. Many people consider these volumes a ‘manual for life.’


Around the time of the Second Temple in Israel, 539 to 332 BCE (Before the Common Era) members of the Great Assembly, a group of priests and prominent citizens, began collecting and organizing all the written texts. They decided on their order as well as what works would be included in the Five Books of Moses or Torah. The Torah, usually seen in the form of parchment scrolls, contains early biblical stories with which most of us are familiar. These scholars also organized another body of text called the Prophets and writings such as Psalms, Proverbs and Chronicles. These works together comprise the Old Testament also called the Hebrew or Jewish Bible. The Jewish Bible is the foundation of the Old Testament or Christian Bible and other religious works that followed.


Once completed, these scholars turned their attention to organizing the centuries-old oral works, a hodgepodge of laws, opinions and stories that had grown unwieldy over the years. These mainly were Mishnah, oral commentary on the Torah and the Gemara, which is commentary on the Mishnah. (The world Gemara is sometimes used interchangeably with the Babylonian Talmud and is the Mishnah plus commentary on the Mishnah.) When these oral commentaries were finally organized and written down, they formed the Talmud.


Here’s how these ancient works fit together.


Although the Talmud is fixed in time, contemporary rabbis still answer questions based on discussions and arguments of the ancient Talmudic rabbis. The Talmud is one of the world’s earliest example of hypertext. 


The Talmud was designed to stimulate conversation and debate through free association and spirited arguments among sages, each setting forth his own beliefs. Ideas and discussions go off on tangents, come back and loop around themselves. There are no large sections on business or medicine, however, and specific topics are found in clusters, but more often than not scattered throughout the book. While this non-linear structure makes the Talmud  tough to grasp, it also gives it richness. Readers are forced to stop, think, ask questions and deliberate.


Why the Emphasis on Business?


While the Talmud covers a wide range of human activities, it focuses heavily on business dealings. (The Five Books of Moses itself contain 613 direct commandments and more than 100 concern business and economics.) The Talmudic sage Raba said that when a person dies, the first question he or she will be asked in heaven is “Did you deal honestly in business?” And Rabbi Ishmael stated, “One who wishes to acquire wisdom should study the way money works, for there is no greater area of Torah study than this.  It is like an ever flowing stream….”


Why this interest in business and, by extension, money and profit?


This emphasis certainly seems to solidify the bigoted image that Jews are overly concerned with money. However, that superficial view is far from the true nature of Judaism and what the Talmudic rabbis were trying to convey.


Here are the main reasons why the Talmudic rabbis spent a lot of time discussing business, commerce and money.


The Talmud stresses the importance of dealing honestly in business because transacting business, more than any other human activity, tests our moral mettle and reveals our character.


Working, money and commerce offer us some of the best opportunities to do good deeds such as giving charity, providing employment and building prosperity for our

communities and the world.


            It is through money and commerce that we reveal our human frailties, bigotry, and our ability to deal justly with others during a time in which our natural instinct is to maximize our profits no matter what the consequences. In business transactions we sometimes believe it’s acceptable to cheat, because we think ‘everyone’s doing it,’ or that big companies won’t be injured by our tiny transgressions or we’ll never see a particular person again. In the Talmud, no transaction is tiny and no transgression is trivial.


The Talmudic rabbis lay down specific guidelines for running businesses, handling workers, buying and selling goods, forming partnerships, making agreements, paying taxes, and even advertising products. While ethical business practices should be a reward unto themselves, the Talmud also demonstrates that operating businesses in an ethical manner is good for a company’s bottom line and the community at-large.


As you read through the Talmud’s business lessons, you will see overarching ethical themes emerge. These values form the basis of Talmudic thought which, of course, stem from Jewish ethical beliefs. Some of these ideas were later incorporated into religions that followed, such as Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, but most of the ideas remain uniquely Talmudic.



1 – The Golden Rule rules.


While the Talmudic rabbis discussed people’s relationship to God, they were often more interested in the relationship between people — how we treat each other. Here, The Golden Rule, “Love they neighbor as thyself,” is the watchword. When challenged by a heathen scoffer to teach him the Torah in its simplest form, Rabbi Hillel remarked: “Whatever is hateful unto thee, do it not to thy fellow man. This is the whole of Torah. The rest is commentary.”

2 – There is no such thing as absolute ownership.


We are stewards. God owns everything in the universe and we are the caretakers. This responsibility covers the earth itself, other people, animals, money, businesses — everything. We are bound to use these resources and protect them. We are not to waste any resources, natural or manmade, because they are not ours to waste.


3 – We are responsible for any damage that we cause.


The biblical phrase “an eye for an eye” does not have anything to do with punishment for knocking out someone’s eye, and it is not an endorsement of the death penalty. It means that we are responsible for everything that we do. If we break something, we are expected to fix it, replace it, pay for it or otherwise make restitution.


The corollary is that we are also obligated to prevent damage or destroy anything unnecessarily. This means anything done through our action or our inaction. This prohibition not only refers to ‘things’ but to intangibles such as another person’s self-esteem or reputation.


4 – Show compassion for those weaker than ourselves.


This tenet requires that we give charity to those poorer than ourselves. It also means that we should not take advantage of those less fortunate than ourselves in daily business matters. The Jewish Bible says it this way: “Don’t place a stumbling block before the blind.” This also means that you don’t sell a dangerous weapon to a mentally ill person and you don’t sell alcohol to a minor, because they’re not able to handle these items.


5 – We all have free will.


“Everything is foreseen, yet freedom of choice is given.” This fundamental saying from the Talmud seems at cross purposes, but it is not. Although God knows the future, we are all responsible for making our own choices. God may have a plan, but it’s inconsequential and unimportant, in a sense, because we don’t know what it is.


Although we may not be able to control what others do to us, we are fully in charge of our own behavior and actions. Whether we succeed or fail is up to us. Whether we behave properly or improperly is solely our choice.


6 – The law of the land is the law.


            The Talmudic rabbis believed that society can force moral behavior upon its citizens. Everyone in the community is obligated to follow the majority’s law. This means we must pay our taxes, abide by court rulings and follow local customs pertaining to business and commerce.


7 – Enough is enough.


The Talmud stresses balance in all aspects of life. Being rich can be wonderful, but too much wealth brings its own burdens. On the extreme opposite side, poverty is one of the worst fates to befall a person. Work is vital, but working too much is bad for you. The rabbis believed that by living a balanced existence, you will enjoy a fulfilled and joyous life.


A Handbook for Today’s Business


As modern business life becomes increasingly complicated and difficult, management is turning to the classics for guidance. Sun Tzu’s Art of War has become a handbook on how to handle market competitors. Machiavelli’s The Prince, now standard reading in business schools, has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity because of  its clarity and vision, despite its ruthless approach.

The Talmudic view is often not what you would expect. For example, the Talmudic rabbis view money and profit, not as a source of evil as in some religions, but as a chance to do good works, raising people’s standard of living so they can spend more time with their families, study important works and enjoy life’s pleasures. On the other hand, money faces us with some of life’s greatest challenges like overcoming greed and knowing when enough is enough.


The Talmud offers riches to anyone brave enough to explore its depths. A beacon for the Jews, the Talmud has survived censorship and wholesale burnings. Its adherents have been tortured and murdered for studying it. Against all odds, the Talmud and the Jews both have survived, each giving to the other.


The Talmud has endured because its message is vital and its wisdom is ageless.


This book serves as a guide to the Talmud’s business wisdom. In it you will learn how to run a successful business, negotiate with style, earn the loyalty of your employees, sell products successfully, advertise effectively and make higher profits, all within an ethical and moral framework that has endured. These centuries-old subjects are relevant today, because human nature has not changed and the fundamentals of business and commerce also remain the same. Interestingly, the Talmud was codified during a time when the ancient Hebrews lived in an agrarian economy but were moving toward becoming a merchant class.  The Talmud comes at time when these ancient people were figuring out the rules of trade and business.


The Talmudic rabbi’s lessons in this book start with basic yet profound ideas about money and work then move on to more complicated business issues such as employer/employee relationships, partnerships and competition.


In these sections you will meet people who use the Talmud’s lessons in running their companies. These people, like Malden Mills owner Aaron Feurstein who continued to pay his employees despite a devastating fire, study the Talmud and apply its teachings. Another is Victor Allou, chief executive of the successful Allou Health & Beauty Care, Inc., in Brooklyn, New York. When asked by Fortune magazine how studying the Talmud has helped his business, he responded simply: “It opens your mind and teaches you how to think.”


The Talmud’s Greatest Gift


As you start reading, you’ll begin to understand the Talmud’s most important gift to modern business people, something that we all strive for but few of us reach.


The Talmud offers a way to happily blend business, personal and spiritual lives — and be successful at each. It gives precise instructions on how to balance one’s need for business success with the need for a satisfying life outside of work. The Talmud accomplishes this by challenging readers to think in new and different ways about their jobs, how they view money and the purpose of commerce. The Talmud confronts students with rock-bottom questions such as ‘why do we work,?’ ‘why do businesses exist?’ and ‘how much money should we make?’ The rabbis’ answers may seem strange, they may even shock, but they will challenge you to discover your own ideas.


No matter what your religious beliefs, even if you have no religious convictions at all, the Talmud’s ideas will forever change the way you think about yourself, your business and your family — for the better.





The Talmud, says Kahaner, is a “handbook for today’s business world”: a reminder of balance in a workaholic culture, a treatise on personal responsibility and a call to charity in a society that seems driven by greed. In this book, Kahaner mines the ancient wisdom of the Talmud for advice on how to prosper ? but to do so ethically. He begins with discussions of the “spirituality of money,” claiming that wealth can be a positive force if it is used wisely, and then argues that work is a holy act. Other chapters take up various topical issues: treating workers fairly so that they will in turn do their work more productively; being scrupulously honest in business dealings; recognizing that education is a lifelong process; and giving to charity. Kahaner draws on contemporary business examples as well as ancient wisdom to demonstrate that “doing good” and “making good” often go hand in hand. (Publishers Weekly)


Help is available from just about everyone. Scan and you can find investment and business guides that purport to tell you how to win big, according to the principles of Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Napoleon, Julius Caesar and probably Br’er Rabbit. You can also invest according to Jesus Christ and, now, take business lessons from ancient rabbis. Here you get the Talmud’s take on employee-employer relationships, partnerships, negotiations and more, all with the aim of turning an ethical profit. (Barron’s)


A perfect gift for your spiritually-challenged CEO friend. (Jewsweek)


“The ancient wisdom of the Talmud is as relevant today as it was 1,500 years ago, and its advice about business–both tactical and ethical–is as applicable to our high-tech world as it was to their world of trading mules and buying olives.”

–Alan M. Dershowitz
Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law
Harvard Law School


“For too long we’ve separated business from religion and in so doing we’ve thrown the baby out with the bath water. Can religion be both relevant and use the accumulated wealth of its wisdom to be of service to business? Yes! There is a gold mine in religion for business. Come savor some of the wonderful nuggets in this book.”

–Martin Rutte
Coauthor, Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work
President, Livelihood


“Gaining perspective is essential to learning. Larry Kahaner provides the reader perspective from an ancient tradition that has a surprisingly modern relevance. This well-written and cogently organized book gives the reader access to the ethical foundations of the Judeo-Christian tradition, reminding us that business ethics is not the result of Enron, but a continuing concern about society and the human condition.”

–Stuart C. Gilman
President, The Ethics Resource Center


“At a time of ethical crises and global uncertainty we need leaders who blend the best of business, psychology, and spirituality. Learn the lessons of values-based management from the ancient rabbis in this thoughtful, wise guidebook. Good is good, and evil is evil; the principles still apply today.”

–Bob Rosen
CEO, Healthy Companies International and bestselling author of Global Literacies


“An interesting and useful prescription for modern behavior–personal and corporate–from a very old and, for many, unfamiliar source. The wisdom and ethical guidance of those early rabbis is as relevant today as it was fifteen centuries ago.”

–Mike Birck
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tellabs


“Pound for pound, Values, Prosperity, and the Talmud: Business Lessons from the Ancient Rabbis delivers more wisdom and practical knowledge than a decade of working experience. Every corporate board should adopt the principles of this bible into an ethics pledge to be signed by their chief executives.”

–Stephen McMenamin
Chairman, The Greenwich Roundtable



AK-47: The Weapon that Changed the Face of War





The world’s most popular and lethal weapon goes by many names —  “The African Credit Card,” the “$10 Weapon of Mass Destruction” – and you see it every day in movies, on TV news, in magazines and newspapers. You see it in the hands of legitimate armies but more often brandished by insurgents, terrorists and even child soldiers.


The AK-47 rifle.


The AK’s distinctive banana-shaped silhouette defines what a deadly small arm is supposed to look like. Osama Bin Laden is purposely photographed with his special AK, rappers sing its praises, terrorist groups like Hezbollah display it on their flag, countries such as Mozambique use it on their coins and currency, vodkas are named after it and even haute designers like Philippe Starck produce furniture using its deadly image.


No single weapon – save the atomic bomb – has had as profound an impact on modern warfare and global instability. Despite its low price and often shoddy workmanship, this powerful rifle rarely jams, is almost indestructible – a single rifle can last 50 years –  and is easy to fire with no training. It is the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to turn a farmer, teacher,  peasant or even a teenager into an effective killing machine. Overnight, it can transform rag-tag forces into formidable armies. It is the fuel that keeps alive protracted ‘small wars’ in Africa, Asia, South America, the Middle East and domestic crime almost everywhere.  Its creator, Mikhail Kalashnikov, never made a penny from his invention, even though  there  are more than 75 million AK-47 rifles in the world today, millions of them spread across the globe by  covert actions of the American CIA.


Before his death in 2013, Kalashnikov said that he wished he had invented a lawnmower instead, but it’s too late. No tool has spread so much raw power to so many people in so little time. Or has left such a wide swath of destruction. The AK’s legacy will continue well into the 21st century.


First Pages


On March 23, 2003, under cover of darkness, 32 US Army Apache attack helicopters flew into Baghdad in advance of coalition forces moving northward on the ground toward the capitol city. The choppers were on a search and destroy mission to find Saddam Hussein’s elite Republic Guard, who reportedly were deployed in a semi-circle to protect the southern part of town. In the hours leading up to this mission, Saddam’s main artillery positions had been pounded by American surface-to-surface missiles and ATACMS rockets carrying 950 half-pound bombs. The remaining enemy forces would then be wiped out by these low-flying $22 million machines, equipped with 30-mm cannons and state-of-the-art Longbow radar systems that could direct Hellfire anti-tank missiles at multiple targets.


Yet as the Apaches settled into position, something unexpected happened.  The lights on the outskirts of Baghdad shut off, as if hit by a black out.  Then just as mysteriously they came back on two minutes later.


The US Army pilots did not realize the lights were a signal to attack.


What happened next shocked even the most seasoned combat veterans. The Apache helicopters were attacked from all directions by the world’s most prolific and effective combat weapon, a device so cheap and simple that it can be bought in many countries for less than the price of a live chicken.  This weapon, depicted on the flag and currency of several countries, waved defiantly by guerillas and rebels around the world, has changed the geopolitical landscape of the post Cold War. It has been responsible for over a quarter-million deaths every year. It is the undisputed firearm of  choice for at least 50 legitimate standing armies, along with untold numbers of disenfranchised fighting forces ranging from international insurgents and terrorists to domestic drug dealers and street gangs.


It is the AK-47 assault rifle.


As the Apaches hovered in position, they received thousands of rounds of gunfire from Iraqi ground troops. Thirty-one of the 32 helicopters sustained damage; all had to abort their mission. One was downed and two pilots captured. Pentagon officials do not know if the chopper was shot or suffered mechanical problems. A pilot who made it back safely said: “It was coming from all directions. I got shot front, back, left and right.” Springfield, Massachusetts pilot Bob Duffney, who flew combat helicopters in the first Gulf War, added: “In Desert Storm, we didn’t have a firefight like this.”


For all of the billions of dollars spent by the United States military on  space-aged  weapons and technology, the AK-47 still remains the most devastating weapon on the planet. Its banana-shaped magazine gives this gun a familiar silhouette that makes it a symbol of third-world rebellion and power. Unlike the scourge of landmines in the world, the 80 to 100 million AKs manufactured and distributed since its invention in 1947 pose a more dangerous threat because these devices can be easily transported, fixed, and used by roving bands of assailants. The AK has made possible coups in Africa, terrorist raids in the Middle East and bank robberies in Los Angeles. It has become a cultural icon, its signature shape defining in our consciousness what a deadly rifle is supposed to look like.


Why has the AK earned such a legendary reputation?  The gun has few moving parts so it hardly ever jams. It is resistant to heat, cold, rain and sand. It doesn’t always shoot straight, but in close combat its awesome firepower (600 rounds a minute) and reliability give it a nod over more sophisticated weapon designs such as the M-16. American GIs in Vietnam reported that AK’s buried in rice paddies for six months or more, unearthed filthy and rusted shut, fired perfectly after kicking the action bolt with the heel of a boot.


In scenarios played throughout the world’s hot spots like Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Sierra Leone and the Gaza Strip, low-tech AKs are besting superior military training and weaponry.  In Iraq, for example, insurgents recently have inflicted demoralizing casualties on US troops mainly with simple tactics such as bombings, kidnapping and massive small arms fire with AK-47s. U.S. troops are hamstrung, forced to fight street to street where the AK-47 allows an everyday citizen to be just as deadly as a professionally trained, well-armored and physically fit U.S. soldier.


Why the U.S. military as a whole has been so slow to recognize this ‘new’ face of war remains a mystery, because individual soldiers, those on the ground, understand it. “It’s somewhat frustrating,” Col. Bill Wolf, former commander of the Army’s 11th Aviation Regiment, said. Referring to long-standing U.S. policies about civilian casualties, he said, “We can’t take out a street block because of the way we go to war.”


This ‘way we go to war’ doesn’t work anymore, and some would argue it never did once the Russian assault rifle spread throughout the world and became as ubiquitous as the common cold. Today’s wars are small, hot conflicts in urban areas, where sophisticated and expensive weapons are no match for rebels carrying AK-47s. This sentiment was expressed by Major General William J. Livsey, Jr. the commandant of Fort Benning, the infantry headquarters and school, in the early 1980s. The military was going through a monumental change at the time because computer chips were being integrated into the first generation of smart weapons. The army was enamored of the complexity and promise of these smart weapons. “Despite all the sophisticated weapons we or the Soviets come up with, you still have to get that one lone infantryman, with his rifle, off his piece of land. It’s the damn hardest thing in the world to do.”


The AK has shifted the balance of power in warfare by allowing small factions, not armies, to overthrow entire governments. Charles Taylor, a Liberian-born, US-educated preacher, proved this in 1989 when he and a rag-tag cadre of 100 men armed with AK-47s, stormed the presidential palace in Liberia and controlled the country for the next six years. By issuing AKs to anyone who swore allegiance to the new regime, Taylor stayed in power with factions of thug soldiers, all of whom were allowed to pillage their defeated enemies as payment for their loyalty.


On the other side of the continent, Mozambique’s flag and coins display an AK-47 as homage to the weapon that brought this nation its freedom. Ironically, the United Nations estimates that the country is awash in more than 6 million undocumented AK’s left behind from civil war. As long as the AKs remain, the seeds of instability stay rooted in Mozambique’s land.


War has changed; it no longer has to be about border disagreements, ideology or political differences. Through the power of AK assault rifles, factions could roam through a country, terrorize its citizenry, and grab the spoils.


They could even keep a superpower at bay.


Consider the U.S. Rangers in Mogadishu during the now famous “Black Hawk Down” incident in 1993. Eighteen American soldiers were killed and many more wounded during several days of bitter street fighting that eventually led to the resignation of the Secretary of Defense and a total U.S. troop withdrawal from Somalia. Yusuf Hassan of the BBC’s Somali service, who covered the action, said during one of his broadcasts: “The Americans were seen by their country as heroes, when in fact they had all the technology. It was a hi-tech war against people who only had AK47 rifles. And these people won.”


Despite this thrashing in Somalia, the message never seems to reach decisonmakers: superpowers with superweapons are no match for a determined warrior with an assault rifle. General Mohammad Yahya Nawroz, Army of Afghanistan and U.S. Army LTC Lester W. Grau, wrote for the Foreign Military Studies Office a case study titled The Soviet War In Afghanistan: History And Harbinger Of Future War? in which they posited that well-equipped nations do not want to wage war with the United States. because U.S. weapons are technically superior. Less capable nations have a stronger position. “At present, the countries that have a large supply of high-tech weaponry are few and unlikely to go to war with the United States in the near future. Now, the only effective way for a technologically less-advanced country to fight a technologically-advanced country is through guerrilla war. Guerrilla war, a test of national will and the ability to endure, negates many of the advantages of technology.” Written in 1996, their report apparently fell on deaf ears as the U.S. now has become bogged down in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

On a cultural level, the AK-47 is a symbol of anti-Western ideology, seen daily on the front pages of our newspapers. AK-47s built by the Soviet Union were offered to countries that shared the dream of worldwide Communist domination. Although they were supposed to be sold, the Soviet Union ended up giving millions away free to Soviet Bloc nations and allowing others to manufacture the gun on their own soil.  Nowadays, in destabilized areas, owning an AK is a sign of manhood, a rite of passage. Child soldiers in Congo, Burma, Sri Lanka and dozens of other countries proudly display their AK’s for all to see. Stock video footage of white-robed Osama Bin Laden shows him firing an AK-47, a message to the world that he is the true anti-establishment fighter. Saddam Hussein was captured with two AKs beside him in his hidey-hole in the ground. He, too, was so enamored with the weapons that he built a Baghdad mosque sporting minarets in the unique shape of AK-barrels. His son Uday commissioned gold plated AK-47s.

And what of its designer?  During World War II, young tank soldier Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov, the son of peasants, was convalescing from a gunshot by Nazis pushing east. In his hospital bed, he sketched the simplest automatic weapon possible and later was given the opportunity to build it. His goal was to help the Soviet army defeat the Germans and quickly end the war.

Now 85, tiny, feeble, nearly deaf, his right hand losing control because of tremors, Kalashnikov thinks about the terrible gift he has given the world and it often haunts him. “I wish I had invented a lawn mower.” At other times, this financially poor man, who receives no royalties for his invention, is defiant and aloof, blaming others for his progeny’s misuse. “I invented it for protection of the motherland. I have no regrets and bear no responsibility for how politicians have used it.” [update: Kalashnikov died on Dec. 23, 2013.]

The utilitarian AK-47, which stands for ‘Automat Kalashnikov – 1947,’ the year it was produced, came along too late to end World War II, but its creation was perfectly timed to spread death and destruction throughout the world, and it will continue to do so well into this century.



Page 2: AS THE APACHES HOVERED IN POSITION, Sheridan, Mary Beth; Ground Fire Repels Copter Assault; Two Crewmen Seized by Iraqis as Apache Goes Down,   The Washington Post, March 25, 2003.


Page 3  WHY THE U.S. MILITARY; ibid


Page 4: THIS ‘WAY WE GO TO WAR’ DOESN’T WORK ANYMORE, Author interview with Major General William J. Livsey, Jr.





“A chilling and perversely entertaining look at the dark side of innovation.”




“During the past half century, the AK-47 assault rifle has established itself as the most ubiquitous implement of destruction on the planet. No other gun comes close for its durability, low price, ease of operation, and sheer killing power. It has become a mainstay of armies and terrorists alike, and a universal icon of revolutionary upheaval. Larry Kahaner’s book is the best history of this weapon that I have seen. AK-47: The Weapon That Changed the World will appeal to anyone who has ever watched the History Channel – or the evening news.”


–Max Boot, senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, and author of The Savage Wars of Peace


“Anyone who has fought or watched a war over the last half-century recognizes the AK-47, but few know much about it.  Kahaner traces the rifle’s role in wars from Vietnam to Iraq and from Central America to Central Africa.  A fascinating biography of a weapon that has truly changed world history.”


–Stephen Kinzer, author of Overthrow


“A detail-rich combat history, the book also offers a compelling human story of its inventor.”


— Macleans Magazine




“A fascinating examination.”


— Library Journal



“…a must-read for all firearms buffs.”


— Military Book Club



“…highly readable, and thought-provoking work.”


— Strategy Page


“Kahaner’s writing talents are obvious. He keeps the book from becoming a highly technical read as he traces the rifle, which he calls the real weapon of mass destruction, through history, all the way to the streets of Baghdad, Iraq.”


— McClatchy Newspapers


“All of the magnificence and horror of Kalashnikov’s weapon comes through in a taunt narrative that makes Kahaner’s book easy to read and hard to put down.”


— Soldiers for the Truth


“… well researched and intelligently written book.”


— Michael Yon



Watch this video about the AK-47. 


What does AK-47 stand for?


AK-47 stands for ‘Automatic Kalashnikov – 1947’  for the inventor Mikhail T. Kalashnikov and the year it was first produced 1947.


How many have been made?


Nobody really knows. The number probably is between 75 and 100 million worldwide. Since an AK can last for decades, we don’t know how many are currently in service.



Why is it so popular?


Despite its low price and often shoddy workmanship, this powerful rifle rarely jams, is almost indestructible and is easy to fire with no training. It is the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to turn a farmer, teacher,  peasant or even a teenager into an effective killing machine. It is not very accurate but can fire about 600 rounds per minute. Many  western military experts consider it a piece of junk. Some US soldiers prefer the AK especially in Iraq where dust tends to jam their M-16 rifles but does not affect the AK.



What has been its effect on world history?

The AK has shifted the balance of power in warfare by allowing small determined factions, not just armies, to overthrow entire governments. For example, Charles Taylor, proved this in 1989 when he and a rag-tag cadre of 100 men armed mainly with AK-47s, stormed the presidential palace in Liberia and controlled the country for the next six years. By issuing AKs to anyone who swore allegiance to the new regime, Taylor stayed in power with gangs of thug soldiers, all of whom were allowed to pillage their defeated enemies as payment for their loyalty. The other main impact is that cheap AK can keep small hot regional wars going for years. This is often the case in Africa and South America.


Where is the AK made?


More than 20 countries currently produce it, many of which are former Soviet bloc nations like Bulgaria and Rumania. China is the world’s largest producer of AKs. Russia no longer makes the weapon but has many stockpiles. There are dozens of different versions and names but they are all the same basic design with the signature banana-shaped magazine.


How many legitimate armies use the AK or its variants?

About 50 standing armies use the AK including those of China, Egypt, Cuba, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan,  Syria, Iran and Iraq.


Why do terrorists prefer the AK to any other weapons?


For the same reasons that legitimate armies like it. The gun is cheap, easy to use, easy to obtain and effective in the hands of poorly trained fighters. Osama Bin Laden has called the AK the terrorists’ most important weapon.



How much does an AK cost?


In some parts of the world, it can be purchased for as little as US$10, leading to its nickname, “The Ten Dollar Weapon of Mass Destruction” because it kills more people than any other single weapon. In most places, however, an AK can be bought for $100 to $300 depending upon the level of hostilities in the area. As conflicts heat up in a region, prices rise.


Why has it become a cultural icon?


AKs are seen in art, movies, video games and even in fashion because it has become an anti-establishment symbol. It is seen on the coins and flags of several countries including Mozambique and also on the flag of terrorist group Hezbollah.


What about the inventor Mikhail Kalashnikov?


Kalashnikov, who died in 2013, acted in his later years as a celebrity spokesman at trade shows for Russian arms makers using his cult status to bring attention to their weapons. He has not made a cent from his invention but had hoped to cash in on a brand of vodka to which he had  licensed his name. The vodka didn’t sell all that well.


Competitive Intelligence: How to Gather, Analyze and use Information to Move Your Business to the Top



– Two men in an unmarked minivan cruise Philadelphia streets tuning in cellular phone transmissions.


– A beer company analyzes wastewater pumped from a competitor’s brewery.


– A metallurgist studies the thickness of rust on railroad tracks leading from a paper mill.


– During  a company’s strategy meeting, a manager swaggers in playing the part of their competitor’s CEO. He even talks and dresses like the other man.


Welcome to the new world of competitive intelligence a world inhabited by corporate spies, former government gumshoes and hard-nosed business people looking for any angle to beat the competition — legally and ethically.


Competitive intelligence is the newest weapon in the world war of economics which pits company against company and nation against nation. As the major powers move away from traditional weapons of destruction, they move towards economic weapons like competitive intelligence to ensure their national sovereignty and survival.


Using technology and skills adapted from the Cold War era, companies worldwide are turning raw information into powerful intelligence. This intelligence can turn companies around, build market share, launch new products and destroy competitors. Kahaner’s book will give examples of competitive intelligence by large and small companies and how it was used to increase market share, profits and competitiveness.


You will learn what competitive intelligence can do for your company, how it can help you enter new businesses, learn about hidden competitors, understand your marketplace and increase the range and quality of acquisition targets.


This book will change the way managers make decisions and explain why information alone is not critical. Forget about living in the age of information. We are living in the age of intelligence, and the two are as different as success and failure.


First Pages


                    Being a Hero and Not a Bum



“What enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.”



— Sun Tzu, The Art of War




While reporting for Business Week magazine in Washington during the early 1980s, I covered the telecommunications industry during its greatest time of change. There was the divestiture of AT&T, the growth of the competitive long distance industry and the upheaval that followed from burgeoning technologies like cellular phones, nationwide paging, cable TV and satellite communications. It’s only now that I realize I was one of the first people in Washington to use a cellular phone. Motorola let me try one for the day – until the batteries ran out – during their Washington, DC trial. I remember the curious looks I got from people who saw me walking down the street with this weighty, brick-shaped telephone against my ear.


It was an exciting time and one of the best parts was  getting to know many decisionmakers at innovative corporations during the course of my work.


I relished the chats I used to have with people like Bill McGowan, the late Chairman and CEO of MCI, the person responsible for much of the upheaval that I was covering. McGowan was a clear and elegant thinker, and I enjoyed talking with him. His take on subjects was often outlandish but businesslike nonetheless. He possessed the ability to see through clutter and come up with simple solutions to complex problems. It was easy to be distracted and disarmed by his eccentric, flamboyant demeanor which hid an orderly, analytical mind.


I had traveled with McGowan on the company’s jet and looked in awe at his reading pile or should I say mountain. On the seat next to him were stacks of magazines, newspapers and catalogs. There were trade magazines and industry newsletters; I expected these. But there were also things I didn’t expect like The National Enquirer, The Racing Form, J.C. Whitney (automotive) catalog, Good Housekeeping and newspapers from small towns whose names I can’t recall. The newspapers were usually only four pages long.


It was a joke in the company that McGowan traveled with two suitcases – one for his clothes and one for his reading material.


McGowan didn’t have any hobbies or interests that would account for this wide array of reading materials. In fact, he was a workaholic with little time for any outside interests beyond building his company. I was perplexed by his odd choices in reading.


I got to know McGowan better when I wrote a book about MCI called On The Line which was published in 1986. One of my reasons for writing the book was to understand how a company as small as MCI could not only beat Ma Bell, but go on to create an entire new industry. My other reason was to understand how companies compete and how the people in those companies increase their company’s competitive advantage.


After all, companies don’t compete; people in companies compete.


Journalists are lucky. We have the most latitude of almost anyone to ask questions of people at all levels of society. The questions can be simple and naive or they can be in-depth and cutting. Sometimes, they can be both.


One day I asked McGowan: “What’s the essence of your job?”


Without hesitation he said: “Making decisions. If I make the right decision, I’m a hero. If I make the wrong decision, I’m a bum.”


“How do you make decisions?”


“I gather as much information as I can, from as many places as I can, I think about it, then I decide what to do.”


That’s why he read so much of everything. It was his way of turning information into actionable intelligence.


Now, many published books and hundreds of interviews later, I still remember what McGowan said about the crux of being a manager, about making the right decisions.


The secret to business success is no secret at all.


     If you make the right decisions you will succeed. If you make the wrong decisions, you will fail.


You’ll either be a hero or a bum.


This book is about making the right decisions. It’s about a business system for making decisions that has been hidden in some companies – highly successful companies – for years because nobody wanted to talk about it openly. Why? Because others may think it’s unethical and shady.


It’s about a discipline that is growing steadily every day, but few companies want to discuss it for a different reason. They understand its power, and they don’t want their competitors to know about it.


Interestingly, though, a few companies will discuss it. They’re certain that even if others know about it, they will still perform  better. That’s the nature of this tool. The same basic techniques and information are out there for anyone to use — if they have the brains, motivation and the skills to do so.


This book is about managers having a better way to make decisions, and not having to waste enormous amounts of time, –  like McGowan did –  reading everything in sight to do so.


I will show you the new world of competitive intelligence. You will learn how companies efficiently, systematically and economically collect information, analyze it and use it to make decisions. It’s about how intelligence – not simply information as most people believe – can flow through your company for the benefit of everyone. It’s about beating your competitors both here and abroad and never being surprised or blindsided by their actions or other outside events again.


Above all, this book is about being a hero… and not being a bum.



“Kahaner offers a book that helps separate the useless from the useful… Competitive Intelligence is crammed with top companies’ entertaining intelligence-gathering and counterespionage tactics.”

USA Today


“This is book is both smart and fun.”

Fast Company


“Conversational, highly accessible style… The smart snooper’s bible.”

Publishers Weekly


“Anyone who reads this book and is not convinced of the critical importance of competitive intelligence should not occupy a position of importance in the modern business world… Required reading for everyone who has ever said: ‘Nothing goes on in this industry that I don’t already know about.’ … This is not a how-to book. Rather it is aimed at general business readers, telling them who does what and how well they do it — naming names. And therein lies its strength.”

Competitive Intelligence Review


“As the first and only guide to transforming crude business data into valuable information, Competitive Intelligence is poised to become the cutting edge tool of the nineties…”

Business Times


“… a highly entertaining and valuable account… direct approach one expects from a seasoned business writer.”

Consultants News


“…tailor made for your CEO’s bedtime reading.”


Profiles Magazine


“… recommended for upper-level business executives…”

Library Journal


“This book should appeal to a broad audience. To the novice it provides both a clear description of what competitive intelligence is as well as a description of the intelligence gathering and dissemination process. To those already acquainted with the subject of business intelligence, he describes the collection, analysis, and dissemination of competitive intelligence as well as how it is performed by competitors abroad. For both groups, Kahaner’s frequent use of detailed business examples establishes the value of understanding and utilizing competitive intelligence.”

Journal of Consumer Marketing


“The author does a good job in describing the process of competitive intelligence and makes excellent use of case studies. He does a nice job of presenting the topic as a global issue, making sure he uses examples from all around the world so that the reader gets a feel for what goes on in the international world of economics… filled with interesting and useful information for those in the business world. It may even open the eyes of some to a practice they didn’t know existed…  It might be a good idea to use this book in business schools across the United States.”

United Press International



“Politicians on both sides of the aisle have long used competitive intelligence as a key to winning elections. Now, Larry Kahaner has provided business leaders with a primer on how to use the same techniques. Competitive Intelligence is a book no ‘war room’ should be without.”

Howard Paster
Chairman and CEO, Hill and Knowlton
Former Assistant to President Clinton


“You need to know what competitors know and what they know you know. You need to know what’s in Competitive Intelligence.”

Barry Nalebuff
Milton Steinbach Professor of Strategy
Yale School of Management and author of Co-Opetition.



“Marketing intelligence — long the jealously guarded province of marketing and promotion companies — enters the public domain with Larry Kahaner’s Competitive Intelligence.”

John Zweig
CEO, Specialist Communications
WPP Group USA, Inc.


“For those business leaders challenged to excel, Kahaner explains in everyday language what competitive intelligence is, why you must have it and how to develop it.”

E. Peter Earnest
Former Director of Media Relations
Central Intelligence Agency
Association of Former Intelligence Officers


“Competitive Intelligence, like Deming’s Quality Control movement, received scant appreciation in the U.S.A. while being perfected by foreign businesses. Kahaner’s book should be required reading at America’s business schools. Without question the single best book for helping managers and executives appreciate the critical importance of CI for corporate survival and success. ”

William C. Boni
Associate Director
Information Protection Services


“This book brilliantly demonstrates the impact of competitive intelligence on revenues, and ultimately a company’s success in the marketplace.”

Svetlana Shaknes
Competitive Intelligence
American Express


Competitive Intelligence elucidates why companies need to develop effective intelligence programs — and how to do it. Highly recommended reading.”

Mark Dingle
Senior Business Consultant
Bristol-Myers Squibb


“Finally, a clearly articulated approach to analyzing the competition and a fresh perspective on investment analysis.”

Steve McMenamin
Director of Equity Research
Cantor Fitzgerald


Competitive Intelligence is essential reading for any executive who wants to thrive in today’s knowledge-driven economy. It covers all the bases in this new business discipline.”

Tim Powell
Managing Director
InfoStrat, Inc.


“Intelligence has privatized, and it is as important a part of modern business competition as it was of the Cold War’s political and military confrontation. Larry Kahaner’s book shows how the business leader can adapt its techniques to his decision making, ethically and efficiently, with plenty of pithy case histories. A must read for the modern business leader.”

William E. Colby
former CIA Director


“This book provides a detailed method to win over business competitors using information collected through legal and ethical means… information is the strongest weapon in global economic competition and national prosperity depends upon the using competitive intelligence as an effective tool for corporate strategy.” (Translated from Japanese)

Kosei Tashiro
Japan Investigative Services Association


” A first class introduction to the art and practice of competitive intelligence. Kahaner explains how firms use competitive intelligence in all aspects of business–from mergers and acquisitions to marketing– to gain real competitive advantage, and he describes the organisational system that makes it possible. The chapter on analysis alone is easily worth the price of the book.”

Douglas C. Bernhardt
Managing Consultant
Business Research Group
Geneva, Switzerland


“A key factor in improving the competitive position of the United States in the global economy will be the broader use of intelligence by the private sector. By explaining how businesses can use intelligence techniques legally and ethically Kahaner’s book makes an important contribution to our nation’s economic strength.”

Former U.S. Representative Anthony Beilenson
Chairman Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence



“Larry Kahaner turns a sea of information into a firehose of opportunity.”

Vint Cerf
The Internet Society
Senior Vice-President
MCI Telecommunications