Last year, I wrote a post in which I highlighted the books I read in 2013; I really enjoyed reflecting on those titles and the insights gained from them, which is why I did it again this year. In addition to preparing me for the academic rigors of the Naval War College, professional reading has helped to broaden my perspectives and hone my judgment as a military leader. I learned ALOT this year from the books on this list, and hope that in writing this post you find a book or two that interests you. If you have any recommendations for me or comments on any of the titles, please add them to comments section below!
Top 5 of 2014
Simon Sinek’s book made me reflect on the “why” behind my actions as a husband and father, my continued service to the nation, my writing endeavors, and all the other “side projects” I do. Start with Why has forced me to put my goals into perspective and has helped to shape my outlook on my military career and professional future. Before we look at how we lead, which is what many of us do, I think it’s more important to understand why we lead in the first place.
This book brought the early years of the American Revolution to life for me and highlighted the Clausewitzean Trinity of passions, rationality, and chance in this conflict. This book delves heavily into the leadership of George Washington, offering a lot of great lessons for military leaders at all levels.
After reading On War, I wanted to learn more about the context in which Clausewitz wrote as well as his background. After finishing this book, I saw Carl von Clausewitz as a relatable military professional who spent his entire life struggling to understand war after experiencing it as such an early age. His “why” for writing On War will be evident to anyone who reads this book. One of my favorite quotes of Dead Carl comes out of Clausewitz and the State: “Had I enjoyed the good fortune of continuing to instruct you I should not have tried to burden you with my art of war-but by developing my views would have hoped to awaken yours: you would rise above me and learn to judge me..”
Even though change is constant in the military, I feel that we fumble the ball more often than we should. This book provides some great insights for leaders when instituting organizational change from the tactical level all the way to up to DoD. This book inspired a post I wrote on Mission Command: Finding the Path Towards Mission Command: An Exericse
Personal Learning Networks coupled with Smarter than You Think has made me rethink how we educate leaders in the military profession. This book inspired one of my earlier posts this year: The Power of Our Connections
Below are all the books from 2014:
War, Strategy, and Operational Art:
Adaptation and Innovation:
Religion and Philosophy: