Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs' Professional Reading List
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs' Professional Reading List
This reading list has been constructed to support the renewal of our commitment to our Profession of Arms and the development of Joint Force 2020. The books selected capture the values and ethos of our military profession, promote innovative thinking to prepare for the operational realities of an uncertain future, and provide insights into the foundations of our service cultures.
Joint Chiefs' Reading List
A Message to Garcia by
Publication Date: 2011-01-01
Reading and discussing Hubbard's small classic, "A Message to Garcia" should be a pre-requisite for anyone about to work anywhere for a boss. Much is written about leaders, and this book helps to fill the huge gap in what is written for and about followers. The few minutes it takes to read this book could change the rest of your life. I first read it back in 1985 and I re-read it frequently. Hubbard's inspiration for his "preachment" was an obscure but important event in the 1898 Spanish-American War. President McKinley needed someone to quickly deliver a message to an insurgent general somewhere in the jungles of Cuba. An army officer was recommended and McKinley personally handed the message to this officer with the mission to deliver the "message to Garcia." This officer's unhesitating acceptance of his mission with no superfluous questions and his subsequent completion of the mission is Hubbard's definition of an invaluable subordinate. Hubbard's lessons of initiative (doing the right thing without being told) and loyalty to yourself, your boss, and your organization (doing the right thing when told only once) are timeless and well told. Hubbard spoke to all leaders and subordinates when he wrote, "It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing - 'Carry a message to Garcia.'"
The Age of the Unthinkable by
Publication Date: 2010-06-02
Today the very ideas that made America great imperil its future. Our plans go awry and policies fail. History's grandest war against terrorism creates more terrorists. Global capitalism, intended to improve lives, increases the gap between rich and poor. Decisions made to stem a financial crisis guarantee its worsening. Environmental strategies to protect species lead to their extinction. The traditional physics of power has been replaced by something radically different. In The Age of the Unthinkable, Joshua Cooper Ramo puts forth a revelatory new model for understanding our dangerously unpredictable world. Drawing upon history, economics, complexity theory, psychology, immunology, and the science of networks, he describes a new landscape of inherent unpredictability--and remarkable, wonderful possibility.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu - Special Edition by
Publication Date: 2007-06-01
This special edition of The Art of War by Sun Tzu presents this timeless classic in two forms: Section I contains the complete thirteen chapters of Sun Tzu's masterpiece in Chinese, with the facing page English translation by Lionel Giles, without notes or commentary. This presentation avoids the objection that commentary tends to clutter and obscure the clarity of thought of the ancient military genius. Section II contains the complete Giles translation of The Art of War, including his extensive introduction, and the fully annotated text with explanatory notes and critical commentary. His 1910 introduction includes an historical account of Sun Tzu's work, evaluations by and of early Chinese commentators, an essay examining the traditional Chinese attitudes toward war and a bibliography that details Giles' source materials. The text in this section includes critical commentary and notes by both Chinese historians as well as by Giles himself. Lionel Giles, as the Keeper of the Department of Oriental printed Books and Manuscripts of the British Museum, was uniquely qualified to translate and explain this great classic Chinese work to Western readers. First published in 1910, Giles' translation is widely considered to be the definitive English version.
The Art of War by
Publication Date: 2006-03-17
The greatest military textbook of the nineteenth century, this famous analysis of the art of Napoleonic warfare had a profound influence upon the military education of American officers in the decades prior to the Civil War.
The Black Swan by
Publication Date: 2010-05-11
The Black Swan is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb's landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don't understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, Antifragile, Skin in the Game, and The Bed of Procrustes. A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictab≤ it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don't know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the "impossible." For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don't know, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, "On Robustness and Fragility," which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan will change the way you look at the world. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. The Black Swan is a landmark book--itself a black swan. Praise for Nassim Nicholas Taleb "The most prophetic voice of all."--GQ Praise for The Black Swan "[A book] that altered modern thinking."--The Times (London) "A masterpiece."--Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, author of The Long Tail "Idiosyncratically brilliant."--Niall Ferguson, Los Angeles Times "The Black Swan changed my view of how the world works."--Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate "[Taleb writes] in a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne. . . . We eagerly romp with him through the follies of confirmation bias [and] narrative fallacy."--The Wall Street Journal "Hugely enjoyable--compelling . . . easy to dip into."--Financial Times "Engaging . . . The Black Swan has appealing cheek and admirable ambition."--The New York Times Book Review
Publication Date: 2004-05-10
John Boyd may be the most remarkable unsung hero in all of American military history. Some remember him as the greatest U.S. fighter pilot ever -- the man who, in simulated air-to-air combat, defeated every challenger in less than forty seconds. Some recall him as the father of our country's most legendary fighter aircraft -- the F-15 and F-16. Still others think of Boyd as the most influential military theorist since Sun Tzu. They know only half the story. Boyd, more than any other person, saved fighter aviation from the predations of the Strategic Air Command. His manual of fighter tactics changed the way every air force in the world flies and fights. He discovered a physical theory that forever altered the way fighter planes were designed. Later in life, he developed a theory of military strategy that has been adopted throughout the world and even applied to business models for maximizing efficiency. And in one of the most startling and unknown stories of modern military history, the Air Force fighter pilot taught the U.S. Marine Corps how to fight war on the ground. His ideas led to America's swift and decisive victory in the Gulf War and foretold the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. On a personal level, Boyd rarely met a general he couldn't offend. He was loud, abrasive, and profane. A man of daring, ferocious passion and intractable stubbornness, he was that most American of heroes -- a rebel who cared not for his reputation or fortune but for his country. He was a true patriot, a man who made a career of challenging the shortsighted and self-serving Pentagon bureaucracy. America owes Boyd and his disciples -- the six men known as the "Acolytes" -- a great debt. Robert Coram finally brings to light the remarkable story of a man who polarized all who knew him, but who left a legacy that will influence the military -- and all of America -- for decades to come. ..
The Starfish and the Spider by
Publication Date: 2006-10-05
If you cut off a spider's leg, it's crippled. If you cut off its head it dies. But if you cut off a starfish's leg it grows a new one and the old leg can grow into an entirely new starfish. Some organisations are as decentralised as the starfish, with no control or grand strategy, such as Craigslist and Napster who both were originally run by their customers. This new book proves that this type of leadership is primed to take over the world. Major companies are starting to decentralise with great results. This is a guide to the theory behind decentralisation.
Start with Why by
Publication Date: 2011-12-27
The inspiring, life-changing bestseller by the author of LEADERS EAT LAST and TOGETHER IS BETTER. In 2009, Simon Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their colleagues and customers. Since then, millions have been touched by the power of his ideas, including more than 28 million who've watched his TED Talk based on START WITH WHY -- the third most popular TED video of all time. Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over? People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won't truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it. START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way -- and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.
Joint Chiefs' Reading List
7 Deadly Scenarios by
Publication Date: 2010-08-31
"A global pandemic finds millions swarming across the U.S. border. ajor U.S. cities are leveled by black-market nukes. hina's growing civil unrest ignites a global showdown. akistan's collapse leads to a hunt for its nuclear weapons. What if the worst that could happen actually happens? How would we respond? Are we ready? These are the questions that Andrew Krepinevich asks and answers in this timely and often chilling new book, which describes the changing face of war in the twenty-first century and identifies seven deadly scenarios that threaten our security in the crucial years ahead. As president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and consultant to secretaries of defense, the CIA, the Homeland Security Council and the Joint Forces Command, Krepinevich's job is to think the unthinkable and prepare a response in the event our worst nightmares become reality. Basing his analysis on open intelligence sources, an assessment of the latest global and political trends, and his knowledge of contemporary military history, Krepinevich starts each of the seven scenarios in the context of current geopolitical realities and vividly tracks the path to crisis. From th
The Command of the Air by
Publication Date: 1983-01-01
George Washington and the American Military Tradition by
Publication Date: 1987-02-01
The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783 (Classic Reprint) by
Publication Date: 2015-07-07
The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 was written by the experienced naval officer, Captain Alfred Mahan. After an already long and distinguished career in the naval forces, Captain Mahan sat down one day in Lima, Peru to contemplate an overall theory of what contributed to and shaped the exercise of power over the seas. At the time, land travel was still relatively slow, air travel on any scale was fantasy but the sea offered endless opportunity as well as near endless risk. This book is a considered and reflective account of his ideas on power at sea. Mahan opens by examining the strategic and practical elements that allow supreme control over the seas to be established. In particular he focuses on how Britain was able to gather influence and create a situation of all but complete dominance. Confident in the belief that most, if not all, armies would eventually be forced to submit to a complete naval blockade, he outlines the characteristics of the British nation up to this time which he believes allowed such progress to be achieved. He sets out a variety of geographical, demographic and governmental factors and expounds the reasons he sees them as a strong foundation for naval supremacy. Mahan uses a wide range of secondary source material for a historian of his time and his practical bent has attracted the attention of many senior naval commanders across the world. German and Japanese commanders in particular favoured his resolute and clear recommendations. An ideal source for naval and military historians as well as those interested in a realist assessment of Britain's historical influence. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
Publication Date: 2011-09-13
On the world maps common in America, the Western Hemisphere lies front and center, while the Indian Ocean region all but disappears. This convention reveals the geopolitical focus of the now-departed twentieth century, but in the twenty-first century that focus will fundamentally change. In this pivotal examination of the countries known as "Monsoon Asia"--which include India, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Burma, Oman, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Tanzania--bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan shows how crucial this dynamic area has become to American power. It is here that the fight for democracy, energy independence, and religious freedom will be lost or won, and it is here that American foreign policy must concentrate if the United States is to remain relevant in an ever-changing world. From the Horn of Africa to the Indonesian archipelago and beyond, Kaplan exposes the effects of population growth, climate change, and extremist politics on this unstable region, demonstrating why Americans can no longer afford to ignore this important area of the world.
On War by
Publication Date: 2016-07-12
General Carl von Clausewitz's writings (translated from the original German by Colonel J.J. Graham) revolutionized military theory for generations to come. This edition of ON WAR inclues the first edition's introduction (written after his death by his wife), von Clausewitz's notes and sketches toward two chapters left unfinished at the time of his death (compiled into "Book VII: The Attack" and "Book VIII: The Plan of War"), plus Col. Graham's notes and footnotes. ON WAR offers an unparalled glimpse into the evolution of war from a gentlemanly pursuit to modern combat. An essential volume for every military library. [Complete at 447 pages.]
Once an Eagle by
Publication Date: 2013-03-12
Once An Eagle is the story of Sam Damon, an Army lieutenant who is a consummate leader of men-skilled on the battlefield, and a dedicated patriot all too aware of the horrible cost of war. His career-long nemesis, Courtney Massengale, is also a brilliant officer, but Sam's complete opposite - aggressive, ruthless and power-hungry. Tracing the conflict between these two men throughout their careers, which span from World War I to the early days of Vietname, Myrer's novel is a powerful study of the character and values we cherish.
Principles of Maritime Strategy by
Publication Date: 2004-09-10
The respected naval historian emphasizes precise definitions of terminology and ideas as the antidote to purposeless discussion and the direct path to the fundamental data on which all are agreed. He places naval warfare within the larger framework of human conflict, proposing that the key to maritime dominance lies in the effective use of sea lines.
The Soldier and the State by
Publication Date: 1981-09-15
In a classic work, Samuel P. Huntington challenges most of the old assumptions and ideas on the role of the military in society. Stressing the value of the military outlook for American national policy, Huntington has performed the distinctive task of developing a general theory of civil-military relations and subjecting it to rigorous historical analysis. Part One presents the general theory of the "military profession," the "military mind," and civilian control. Huntington analyzes the rise of the military profession in western Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and compares the civil-military relations of Germany and Japan between 1870 and 1945. Part Two describes the two environmental constants of American civil-military relations, our liberal values and our conservative constitution, and then analyzes the evolution of American civil-military relations from 1789 down to 1940, focusing upon the emergence of the American military profession and the impact upon it of intellectual and political currents. Huntington describes the revolution in American civil-military relations which took place during World War II when the military emerged from their shell, assumed the leadership of the war, and adopted the attitudes of a liberal society. Part Three continues with an analysis of the problems of American civil-military relations in the era of World War II and the Korean War: the political roles of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the difference in civil-military relations between the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, the role of Congress, and the organization and functioning of the Department of Defense. Huntington concludes that Americans should reassess their liberal values on the basis of a new understanding of the conservative realism of the professional military men.
George C. Marshall
Publication Date: 1989-02-01
The life of the famous general who became an important World War II leader.