Lead with the best version of yourself.

2013: A Good Year for Reading


This past year was filled with several work related trips, and because of the airports, airplanes, and hotel rooms, I was able to focus my efforts on professional study. This blog is an outgrowth of those efforts.

Even though I’ve created a “best of” list, I honestly enjoyed reading most of the books listed below.  The titles listed in my top 5 are there because they had the greatest impact on my outlook on war, leadership, and professional development.

My Top 5 Books of 2013:

1.) War From the Ground Up: Twenty First Century Combat as Politics by Emile Simpson

2.) The Enlightened Soldier: Scharnhorst and the Militarische Gesellschaft in Berlin, 1801-1805 by Charles Edward White

3.) The Last Place on Earth: Scott and Amundsen’s Race to the South Pole by Roland Huntford

4.) Military Adaptation in War: With Fear of Change by Williamson Murray

5.) On War by Carl von Clausewitz

The remaining titles are broken down into topic areas:

Leader Development

Lessons of Experience: How Successful Executives Develop on the Job by Morgan McCall Jr.

Churchill: A Study in Failure, 1900-1939 by Robert Rhodes James

Learning Adaptation and Innovation

Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry by David Robinson and Bill Breen


Challenge of Command by Roger H. Nye

Defense of Hill 781: An Allegory of Modern Mechanized Combat by James R. McDonough

On the Psychology of Military Incompetence by Norman F. Dixon

Battalion Commanders at War: U.S. Army Tactical Leadership in the Mediterranean Theater, 1942-1943 by Steven Thomas Barry

The Patton Mind by Roger H. Nye

21st Century Mahan: Sound Military Conclusions for the Modern Era by Benjamin Armstrong

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Achieving Society by David C. McClelland

The Peter Principle by Laurence J. Peter

The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today by Thomas E. Ricks

The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Posner

Mission Command

Command Culture: Officer Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 1901-1940, and the Consequences for World War II by Jorg Muth

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni

The Art of Action: How Leaders Close the Gaps between Plans, Actions, and Results by Stephen Bungay

Profession of Arms

The Culture of War by Martin van Crevald

George Washington and the American Military Tradition by Don Higginbotham

The Soldier and the State: The Theory of Politics of Civil-Military Relations by Samuel P. Huntington

Strategy and the Political Dimensions of War

On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace by Donald Kagan

Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesman, and Leadership in Wartime by Eliot A. Cohen

Lessons for a Long War: How America Can Win on New Battlefields edited by Thomas Donnelly

Military History

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson

Technology, Doctrine, and Combat Development

On Flexibility: Recovery from Technological and Doctrinal Surprise on the Battlefield by Meir Finkel

Men, Machines, and Modern Times by Elting E. Morison

The Echo of Battle: The Army’s Way of War by Brian McAllister Linn

Combined Arms Warfare in the 20th Century by Jonathan M. House


David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Inferno by Dan Brown

World War Z: An Oral History by Max Brooks

Damascus Countdown by Joel C. Rosenberg

Still in progress…

Nelson: Britannia’s God of War by Andrew Lambert

Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant by Ulysses S. Grant

Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age by Peter Paret

The Future of the Army Profession by Lloyd Matthews and Don Snider

War, Strategy, and Military Effectiveness by Williamson Murray