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CNO Reading List


The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader - Written to complement The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, this book will help you identify and develop the personal qualities you need to become a more effective leader.
Maxwell does an excellent job of getting to the heart of each quality in a few short pages. He starts with two relevant quotations to start you thinking. He then gives you a short real-life example of that particular quality in action.

He breaks each principle down into specific applications, gives you a brief period where you can assess your own effectiveness, offers you concrete ways to improve yourself, and wraps each chapter up with a profound thought that will stay with you long after you have closed the cover.

What you get out of this book depends on how you read it. This is a very simple read, and you may be tempted to race through it and miss some key points. Maxwell rightly suggests that you walk through each quality methodically, giving it the attention that it warrants based on your current level of competence.

While the material warrants five stars, some spelling mistakes and the author's use of his own quotes dropped it down a notch for me. Otherwise, an excellent handbook for improving your personal leadership qualities.

Larry Hehn, Author of Get the Prize: Nine Keys for a Life of Victory
CNO Reading List


7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Knowledge is the quickest and safest path to success in any area of life. Stephen Covey has encapsulated the strategies used by all those who are highly effective. Success can be learned and this book is an excellent way to learn how to do that.  I also highly recommend Turner, Turner, Turner: The King of Network Marketing to learn strategies from another highly spirited man who has learned how to achieve maximum effectiveness and keep balance in all aspects of life. --thereesa shigohout 


Against All Enemies

Not a bad book, not really a good book either. But, it does a Great Job defining a new enemy and tactics. Woulfe does an incredible job of describing asymmetric warfare, tactics, and possible outcomes. These plausible tactics could be effectively employed against the US Military or any other strong military force. Very scary if you think about it.

This book was a real bother! I usually read a 300 page book in about two hours and am used to reading through them quickly and getting onto the next one. This book was so fascinating that I slowed down to make sure that I got every bit of information out of it that was available. This book should be required reading for everyone who wants to know how they are being influenced by the marketing people, unscrupulous sales people, cult leaders, governments and others promoters of influence. It is a thorough course in how to spot an attempt to manipulate you and how you can analyse the situation to see if it is really something you want or not. It has some of the most complete advice on how to examine an item and how to respond of any book on influence that I have read. On the "A" list of must-read books. -- Harold McFarland


CSAF Reading List The Age of Sacred Terror - I was looking for a book that would help to explain what led up to this present crisis, and this book provided a lot of insight. According to the authors, their intention was to "provide a descriptive warning about the new terrorism and an analysis of its causes, including the resurgence of forms of religious belief that drive adherents to commit violence, and the circumstances that give rise to such creeds." I think they did that.
The authors do have a political viewpoint, but that did not detract from the book for me.
There is a suggestion that Egypt and Saudia Arabia may be susceptible targets for Islamic fundamentalists because of their treatment of their citizens, and that the US cannot put pressure on them to change because the US is dependent upon their support in case Iraq acts out. That would at least be one possible explanation for the present administration's preoccupation with Iraq. If Iraq can be "brought around," then the US can pressure Egypt and Saudia Arabia authorities to be better people and thus perhaps stave off a fundamentalist takeover.
The book also includes the ever-present lament about the state of the US media/press. With corporate ownership of the media and the greed motive in control of news reporting, we have a problem. A free nation needs a free press, and we don't have much of that anymore.
This is such a great book that it's hard to write a short review. It's worth reading every single word.
CSA Reading List America's First Battles, 1776-1965

Charles E. Heller and William A. Stofft assembled a distinguished team of American military history experts to examine the first major battles fought in each of the nations wars through the Vietnam conflict. This is militay history at its best, dramatic, insightful and informative, not only for an audience in uniform but also for any American interested in how the military functions in our society. The descriptions of battles ranges from well known actions such as Bull Run in the Civil War to the savage jungle fighting at Buna, New Guinea in World War II. I frequently refer to America's First Battles as I prepare my lectures on American military history. We can only hope that the editors will consider a new edition in the future to take the story through the triumph of Desert Storm, and the confusion of the Clinton administration. A military history classic.

CSAF Reading List

American Generalship

This author wastes energy on knocking down a straw man: we already know that leadership and command are "art," not "science". Directing men in situations of fear and chaos requires odd combinations of qualities and that instinct usually proves more valuable than learned behaviours. Even so, this book traces what has been uniquely American about our leaders' actions, efforts and behaviour. The case studies are well chosen, as is the level of analysis. We can all learn more about our human relations from this book, which provides great value for money.

CSAF Reading List

An Army at Dawn  

This book provides a superb historical assessment of the invasion and ensuing war in North Africa in 1942-1943. This book combines in-depth insight into Allied campaign planning, strategy, and tactics directed at ejecting the German Army from North Africa. The leadership traits and wartime relationships of Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Montgomery, and Rommel are thoroughly chronicled, and are instructive to leaders in the 21st Century. -- CSAF Website


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USMC Reading List

Band of Brothers 

As grippingly as any novelist, preeminent World War II historian Stephen Ambrose tells the horrifying, hallucinatory saga of Easy Company, whose 147 members he calls the nonpareil combat paratroopers on earth circa 1941-45. Ambrose takes us along on Easy Company's trip from grueling basic training to Utah Beach on D-day, where a dozen of them turned German cannons into dynamited ruins resembling "half-peeled bananas," on to the Battle of the Bulge, the liberation of part of the Dachau concentration camp, and a large party at Hitler's "Eagle's Nest," where they drank the madman's (surprisingly inferior) champagne. Of Ambrose's main sources, three soldiers became rich civilians; at least eight became teachers; one became Albert Speer's jailer; one prosecuted Bobby Kennedy's assassin; another became a mountain recluse; the despised, sadistic C.O. who first trained Easy Company (and to whose strictness many soldiers attributed their survival of the war) wound up a suicidal loner whose own sons skipped his funeral.

The Easy Company survivors describe the hell and confusion of any war: the senseless death of the nicest kid in the company when a souvenir Luger goes off in his pocket; the execution of a G.I. by his C.O. for disobeying an order not to get drunk. Despite the gratuitous horrors it relates, Band of Brothers illustrates what one of Ambrose's sources calls "the secret attractions of war ... the delight in comradeship, the delight in destruction ... war as spectacle." --Tim Appelo

CSAF Reading List


Beyond the Wild Blue
From the most important leaders and the most courageous victories to the earliest machines of flight and the most advanced Stealth technology, this book presents a fascinating look at 50 turbulent years of Air Force history.


CSA Reading List



Stephen Ambrose pays tribute to the heroes of WWII in the best way possible, in their own words. Covering the war in Europe from June 7 1944 to May 7 1945, Ambrose gives you an overall history of key events backed up by personal reflections of both American and German veterans.
This book contains personal accounts of what it was actually like to live, fight, and mostly survive on the front lines of the battlefield. One amazing story after another describes what it was like to spend weeks in a foxhole under sub zero temeratures, to being cramped into a B-17 under enemy fire. I found myself being completely horrified from one page, to laughing at the next, but always shaking my head and thinking "WOW". There are also accounts of some lesser-published trageties of the war such as the senseless battle of the Hurtgen forrest, the sinking of the Leopoldville, and the way poorly trained replacement troops were shuttled to the front lines only to be killed in large numbers due to their lack of experience.

I turned pages of this book faster than I have with any other book.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in this subject and would like a better appreciation of the sacrifices of so many to preserve the freedom that we enjoy today. -- P. Powell 


The thesis of this provocative and potentially important book is the increasing threat of violence arising from renewed conflicts between countries and cultures that base their traditions on religious faith and dogma. This argument moves past the notion of ethnicity to examine the growing influence of a handful of major cultures--Western, Eastern Orthodox, Latin American, Islamic, Japanese, Chinese, Hindu, and African--in current struggles across the globe. Samuel P. Huntington, a political scientist at Harvard University and foreign policy aide to President Clinton, argues that policymakers should be mindful of this development when they interfere in other nations' affairs.

CSAF Reading List

The Crisis of Islam

This book does an excellent job of explicating certain key differences between Islamic thought and the world view of the West, which evolved from an "underdog" religion --Christianity --taking control of the Roman Empire. The Prophet founded and ruled an empire in his own lifetime, and that empire continued to expand for 1000 years. Consequently, the fundamental concept upon which Western secularism rests -- "render unto Caesar" -- never developed.

In addition, it does an excellent job of explaining the nature of Wahhabi Islam, and Saudi Arabia's fundamental role in promulgating it.

The book is a little weak in the afterword, where he tries to figure out how rapprochement between the two cultures can be achieved, but so far, a lot of smart people are perplexed by that one.




USMC Reading List Ender's Game

Not many books surprise me. I knew the idea behind this book and since it had 4.5 stars and over 2000 review, it was time for me to read it. At first I was skeptical how a 6 year old could be this great military genius to combat the invading alien forces. (I still wish he was 10 years old) but Card does a good job of showing Enders emotional weaknesses. I love how he keeps succeeding against all odds in the training academy and they keep raising the bar making each task more and more difficult until the very end when they put him in a no win situation. I did NOT see the ending coming and was pleasantly surprised.
Read this book - even if I think ender is still too young, the clever ending makes it more that 5 out of 5 stars...

CSAF Reading List


Every Man a Tiger - Clancy really did a good job with this book. I have also read the first book in this new series he is putting out "Into the Storm - A Study in Command" and I have to say that this book is much better. One would think that as it is the second book, maybe he learned how to put together a non-fiction story in a more readable and interesting way or maybe the co-author was just a better writer. Clancy has teamed up with the General that was in charge of the air war in the Gulf War, and has a done himself a favor getting someone as intelligent and engaging to work with.

The book is basically three parts, the first section talks about the Generals career in the Air Force, the Air Force development from Viet Nam to the Gulf War and a touch of the politics involved within the different military branches. The second section of the book deals with the build up to the air war. The final section deals with the air war both the stand-alone part and as a joint effort with the ground war.

The author does not give you an action packed, inside the cockpit type of story. What we do get is the process for building up the forces, developing a plan, working with the other countries and military forces and finally the execution of the plan. I found the discussions of target selection and the relationship between the air and ground element to be the most interesting. Overall this is a well-written and constructed book. It has a lot of value if you are interested in the Gulf War or just how current U.S. battles are planned and fought. From watching the nightly news you can see that many of the same processes and tactics discussed in this book were used with the current U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan

CNO Reading List

Execution - “If you want to be a CEO—or if you are a CEO and want to keep your job—read Execution and put its principles to work.”
—Michael Dell, chairman and CEO, Dell Computer Corp.

“Good practical insight and advice on managing for results at firms of any size. Execution is key, and this book clearly explains what it means and how it brings together the critical elements of any organization—its people, strategies, and operations.” —L. R. Raymond, chairman and CEO, Exxon Mobil

“The best-thought-out plans in the world aren’t worth the paper they’re written on if you can’t pull them off. And that’s what this book is all about. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done is well written and gives sound, practical advice about how to make things happen. It is well worth the reading.” —Ralph S. Larsen, chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson

“Larry Bossidy recognizes how execution in a business defines the true greatness of a company. He captures a lifetime of building winning formulas and puts them in a simple and practical context for executives at any level. Read it!” —Ivan Seidenberg, president and co–chief executive officer, Verizon

“For those managers who have struggled to make it happen, fix a problem, get it done—or otherwise transform winning strategies into genuine results—here’s the missing medicine from two who know from long experience what works and what doesn’t. Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan offer a compelling leadership prescription, and it comes down to realism, discipline, and above all, great execution.”
—Michael Useem, professor of management and director of the Center for Leadership and Change, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

“Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan define the true meaning of leadership from an implementation point of view. Larry is the expert on productivity in the world of business, and this book demonstrates how leadership is the key to achieving ongoing financial success.” —Richard Schroeder, cofounder of Six Sigma Academy


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USMC Reading List
The Face of Battle  

What is it like to be in battle? John Keegan, a senior instructor at Sandhurst, the British Military Academy, speaks for soldiers who were present in the fray.

For examples, Keegan selects Agincourt in 1415, Waterloo in 1815, and the Somme in 1916. What is common about them, what is different? Agincourt was hand-to-hand combat, thrust and cut--a fearful and personal encounter. At Waterloo, 400 years later, the battle was still largely personal. As it swayed back and forth, men on opposite sides came to recognize the same individuals they had fought off in previous charges.

Keegan closes his book with the Somme. For him it stands as the distillation of wars in the industrial age: long-distance killing of faceless men by others who merely activate the instruments of destruction.

USMC Reading List

Fields of Fire - Although I've had "Fields of Fire" for years, I had never managed to read it until I read "The Nightengale's Song", which chronicled the lives of Webb and four other Naval Academy graduates (also a great book). I only regret that I had not read "Fields of Fire" years ago. It is one of the most honest, realistic, and gut-wrenching war novels I have ever read. I think it ranks with the likes of "The Killer Angels", "The Naked and the Dead", and "All Quiet on the Western Front" as one of the best novels written about ANY war.

I did not serve in Viet Nam (I was in the Navy), so I won't pretend to truly understand how the grunt really experienced the war. However, I am certain that "Fields of Fire" probably comes closer to conveying an understanding than any book written on Viet Nam. I have read other, non-fiction accounts of platoon-level fighting in Viet Nam (e.g., "We Were Soldiers Once .. and Young" and "Steel My Soldiers' Hearts"), and the descriptions of everything from the nightly patrols, the constant sense of fear, and just the brutality of so much around them could have been interchanged with Webb's descriptions. Further, Webb, as a highly decorated Marine in Viet Nam, is qualified as few could be to have written this book - he lived it. Much is surely autobiographic.

In short, one of the best books I have ever read, period. - Dennis D. Steinauer

The Fifth Discipline  

Most best sellers are based on some concept that they create their argument off of - Senge's concept is systems thinking. Unlike other best sellers out there, it is not just a personal journey the author has taken; Senge's book has a multitude of research and analysis behind his theories that makes the reader more willing to "buy in" to systems thinking. A little long winded but worth the read. Make sure to jump around to those chapters that appeal to you more.

CNO Reading List

First Things First

I have to get a couple of things out of the way right now to make you understand why this book has been so important to me (and could be to you as well). First, I am definitely someone who shuns most self-help tomes--I think most of them are crutches for weak people too lazy to get their acts together or too clueless to embrace a little common sense. Second, my prior experiences with the Covey cult were less than satisfying, as I had a boss (now departed) who talked the Covey talk but did not (I now see) truly walk the walk. This book differs from the _7 Habits_ texts in that it really deals with taking the general Covey concepts ("principle-centered living") and giving them a practical sheen--in this case by applying them to time management. Learning to divide my activities between "urgent" and "important," planning my life around certain "roles" that I have to fill, and composing a "mission statement" (a much more realistic and helpful version of year 2000 New Year's resolutions for me)--these were the concepts that have really helped me organize my life as efficiently as possible (and I was already pretty organized). I highly recommend buying the book and then following up by getting a Franklin Covey planner, where you can take the lessons from the book and start building your time and life around them. I have loaned the book to several friends and students (I teach high school) and all of them have benefitted from it in some way or another. Buying _First Things First_ will be one of the best things you can do for yourself.

And I can't believe I just wrote a positive review of a self-help book. Trust me on how helpful this book can be.


CSAF Reading List

The Five Pillars of TQM - Bill Creech's The Five Pillars of TQM, first published in 1994 and since reprinted a dozen times and in eight languages, lays out an uncommonly clear-headed approach toward results-oriented management. Creech, a former Air Force four-star general and now valued industry consultant, has served on ten corporate boards of directors and worked with five national speaking bureaus. His management philosophy, while mindful that most organizations are not democracies, is essentially a variation on the golden rule embodying basic decency toward others as a core unifying theme. Best summarized as empowerment with accountability, it is rooted in a recognition that loyalty is a two-way street and that an organization can only be as successful as those at the bottom are willing to make it. Among the many insights to be gleaned from this informed and empathetic book are the virtues of managing by walking around rather than by hunkering down in a mahogany-row fortress, unburdening those who want to get things done by lifting the overlay of rules and kibitzers from their backs, and recognizing that what ultimately determines organizational success is what goes on at the front, not on mahogany row. These principles, which Creech first pioneered during his tenure as commander of the Air Force's Tactical Air Command from 1978 to 1984, are now being reapplied by the current Air Force chief, who recently included Five Pillars on his recommended reading list for all Air Force officers. Yet Creech's principles of TQM (for "total quality management"--a term and construct he invented) transcend service applicability and have been amply proven in the corporate world as well. His idea of how a top-flight organization should be run resonates implicitly with how any responsible and motivated worker would like to be treated by his superiors. Such notions as the indispensability of mutual trust and respect; the power of inclusion rather than exclusion; the vast difference in effectiveness between decreeing and persuading; and the central role of pride as a motivator are part and parcel of Creech's enlightened approach to effective leadership. Five Pillars spells out these principles and more in rich detail, offering must-read insights for those at all levels who deal with people as resources


Generals in Bronze is one of those books that contains so much intimate information about figures known to the public as heroes of the past that it borders on delicious gossip. But the structure of this fine book has a history of its own and that puts the contents edited by William B. Styple into a more meaningful and lasting context.

James Edward Kelly was an artist of bas-reliefs and sculptures during the Civil War, sketching battles in the days before cameras and videotapeing were omnipresent. He also sketched famous people and interviewed them during the sketching, and this book is a series of memoirs or diary of an artist's recording of not only the images of the great names of the Civil War, but also the conversations he had with his sitters. Famous names abound in this informative and well-constructed book. We learn about General Custer's constant companion - a canteen of iced tea - and that he possessed a 'boyish chuckle' that is not at all the image of the historical Custer. Ulysses Grant discusses his drinking problem, Mary Todd Lincoln was seen pulling her hair out by the handfuls upon Lincoln's assassination, other generals talk about the complete inadequacy of Gettysburg as a battleground, and so on.

One of the pleasures of this book is that all of the interviews noted by Kelly were after the war: this is a series of retrospective commentary and as such is a sharp lesson in how we have thought about all our previous wars under the tutelage of the artists' eyes and ears and words. A fascinating and humbling document. -- Grady Harp
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Good to Great is an exceptionally well researched book. The author, Boulder, Colorado-based Jim Collins, and his team of researchers have made this book into a powerhouse documentary of why some businesses excel towards greatness and while others stagnate.

The book will be of most interest to business leaders, but it may also be interesting to leaders in other types of organizations such as churches or schools. Among other things, Collins shows that, in general, the great leaders are not the ones who are most brash and controversial but those who combine vision and dedication with humility and selflessness.

Through impressive empirical research, Collins shows that the truly great leaders are those to seek fortune and fame for their companies, not for themselves.

If you like business books, you will probably love this one. It is basically well written, especially for a business book, and easy to read. That said, this book deals with how to make a company great. It does not deal with personal greatness, so if you are thinking about buying this as a self-help or inspirational guide, consider something by Anthony Robbins or Dale Carnegie.

This is strictly a business book. It is more informative than entertaining. A times it can provide for dry reading. However, if you're looking for a business book that highlights some of the differences between major "good" and major "great" corporations, you would be wise to read it.

USMC Reading List Grant and Lee

This is a small book, but don't judge it by its size. It is a great little book. Grant & Lee, with such different backgrounds, lead two great armies in the strangest of times. In the end, with no grudge, the two men get to know and respect each other. But the story of how these men fought & how they thought so similarly in the battlefield and how they were both so noble and courageous help show that two men that could not have been more dissimilar, ended up being so alike serving their causes. I highly recommend this book. Very entertaining, and very educational.

CSA Reading List The Greatest Generation

"Tom Brokaw has delivered a gift to this and future generations by bringing us these inspiring personal stories of the average Joes, the GI Joes, the young men and women who served our country and shaped the foundation of post-war America. Although some became famous, most returned to their hometowns dedicated to building an even better world. We meet them in this book, whose pages give voice to the standards they set by their strength of character, informed by their experience during World War II. Tom has held up a mirror to reflect what may be their greatest legacy and pose in all of us the question--Is this generation--our generation--worthy as their beneficiaries?"
--Steven Spielberg




If you are being deployed or have been deployed to Iraq this should be mandatory reading.  I wish I had had this book prior tomy trip to the fertile cresent.  THis book will give you a real understanding of the insurgent's mindset and will put things into a perspective that will assist you in understanding the current situtation and give you tactical understanding of their methodology.  If you are ging to be serving in a combat capacity, you need this informationm as much as you need the intel in your AO.  Read this book and pass it on to another.  -- Lon C. Cogley "MOBILE STRIKE TEAM"




CSA Reading List The Killer Angels

I can't say many positive things about this book that have not already been posted. But from my personal view, "Killer Angels" is one of the best novels I have ever read. 

Most of what I knew of Gettysburg was from high school history and a few documentaries here and there. This book brings history to life by drawing the reader into the personalities of the participants. The most profound thing I came away with upon completion of the novel is how one man's decision or indecision at a specific moment in time can influence history. I strongly recommend this book to everyone, even readers not interested in war novels per se. This is novel about people & humanity, the battle of Gettysburg serves as a back drop. 10 stars if I could. -- "The Woj" 


CNO Reading List Leadership is an Art

Max Depree does a great job of fulfilling the purpose for which he wrote "Leadership is an Art". His how-to, self help book is grounded on a solid foundation of leadership philosophy. Everyone should read this book, for there is not a person alive who will do anything other than benefit from it at work or in their everyday lives. I highly recommend it.

Also recommended: A book that is not at all one of the many books in competition with "Leadership is an Art" that you should go on to read is Norman Thomas Remick's "West Point: Thomas Jefferson: Character Leadership Education" for an education on the philosophical foundations of Max Depree's "Leadership is an Art" that everyone can understand.

CNO Reading List

Leading Change

The leaders of some organizations have no idea how to make successful changes, and are likely to waste a lot of resources on unsuccessful efforts. Professor Kotter has done a solid job of outlining the elements that must be addressed, so now your organization will at last know what they should be working on.

On the other hand, if you have not seen this done successfully before, you may need more detailed examples than this book provides or outside facilitators to help you until you have enough experience to go solo. I suspect this book will not be detailed enough by itself to get you where you want to go.

Here's a hint: The Harvard Business Review article by Professor Kotter covers the same material in a much shorter form. You can save time and money by checking this out first before buying the book.

I personally find that measurements are very helpful to create self-stimulation to change, and this book does not pay enough attention in that direction. If you agree that measurements are a useful way to stimulate change, be sure to read The Balanced Scorecard, as well, which will help you understand how to use appropriate measurements to make more successful changes.

If you want to know what changes to make, this book will also not do it for you. I suggest you read Peter Drucker's Management Challenges for the 21st Century and Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline .

Good luck! -- Donald Mitchell

CSA Reading List

The Long Gray Line - I happened across this book purely by accident but was intrigued by the premise and the reviews which it had received. I was not to be disappointed.

Rick Atkinson has written a fascinating book which charts the course of West Point's class of 1966 from their entry into the Academy through the Vietnam War and the present. This book reads like an epic novel and soon it became impossible for me to put it down. At times hilarious, at times incredibly moving I was completely fascinated with the story of how the individuals in the class of 1966 dealt with all of the trials and tribulations which life threw at them and finished this book with a much more profound understanding of the suffering which Vietnam veterans have gone through, both in the war zone itself and on their return home.

This book is not just military history, it is also social and political history and should be essential reading for anyone interested in reading about the events and ideas which shaped the last few decades of the 20th Century. I have absolutely no hesitation in giving this book five stars.


Management Challenges for the 21st Century  is a breakthrough work, even for Peter Drucker. Through 6 impressive essays, Professor Drucker sets the agenda for the next several decades, for every organization and individual. He begins by pointing out that the way most people think about management is all wrong, and immediately needs to be changed. He outlines the needed changes. He then picks the key strategy issues that will strongly affect all organizations for the next 50 years. Next, he points out that we live in turbulent times and that one must lead the changes that one's organization must make so they occur faster than for the competition. There is no choice for any organization, except to fail to survive. From there, he points out that we have information TECHNOLOGY, but very little information worth looking at on the devices the technology brings us. He goes on to define what must be done to create the right information. In a remarkable section, he then tells how to create knowledge worker productivity (something he has said in the past that no one knows how to do). Finally, he provides a remarkable essay on how to get the most out of yourself, for yourself. These essays were previewed in leading publications, and substantially improved from the originals. There is no repetition of his work and thinking from earlier books. This is like finding a whole new Peter Drucker. I especially loved the new examples that he included, as well as his historical references that only Peter Drucker can make. YOU ARE MAKING A BIG MISTAKE IF YOU FAIL TO BUY, READ, AND APPLY THE IMPORTANT LESSONS OF THIS BOOK. If you read only one book by Peter Drucker, read this one! I was especially pleased to see that he addressed the stalls that delay organizational progress such as the old habits reinforced by tradition, unwillingness to address the new through disbelief, poor communications at all levels (he states the rules that you must follow to be a better communicator and be more effective), needless interactions fostering mindless bureaucracy, the temptation to procrastinate (standing still in front of a truck about to run you over is a mistake you will not repeat), avoiding the unattractive key issues of your organiztion (he recommends doing the dirty jobs yourself for several weeks a year in order to understand how to improve), and failing to set high standards. As always, the book is filled with powerful questions that you can answer for yourself in order to accomplish much, much more and feel great while you do so. Read and apply the lessons of this book and you will have many more 2,000 percent solutions (achieving 20 times the usual results with the same resources or getting the same results 20 times faster). -- Donald Mitchell 


Not a Good Day to Die   (Operation ANACONDA)

This is the best military book I have ever read. Whether you're a civilian or a military reader, you can read this book and draw fundamental lessons about leadership, decision-making, creativity, and yes audacity! Although the trailer for this book talks about the strategic negatives, this book is all about the operational positives! I remember this operation, but never remember hearing about the special operations teams in the Mountains. Isn't it ironic that during this operation we were able to use the same tactics and techniques against Al-Qaeda that they used against us on 9/11--Small teams of highly motivated men infiltrating behind enemy lines for a devastating surprise attack using precision guided mass casualty weapons! This book dives right into the details and describes what makes our special operators the greatest fighting force on the face of the earth--they're completely focused on the mission, and the smartest most resourceful warriors in history. Unfortunately this book also portrays the greatest obstacle to our special ops warriors, the unqualified senior leader, a foe that is as old as American warfare! The sections on the three AFO teams is a superb example of what our forces are capable of when resourced and unleashed by the right leaders! This should serve as an ominous warning to our terrorist enemy's--you have no safe havens--we are coming for you! The insights into the dialogue between the commando's in this book is superb, it's reflective of just how cool these guys are under pressure that they can find ways to inject humor into their radio transmissions even while in position right behind the enemy. This books most lasting value will be the lessons it highlights for future leaders! As many readers of military history will note, these lessons are not all new! -- Nick O. Tolman


CSAF Reading List

Of Paradise and Power - From its opening-line salvo—"It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world"—Of Paradise and Power announces a new phase in the relationship between the United States and Europe. Robert Kagan begins this illuminating essay by laying out the general differences as he sees them: the U.S. is quicker to use military force, less patient with diplomacy, and more willing to coerce (or bribe) other nations in order to get a desired result. Europe, on the other hand, places greater emphasis on diplomacy, takes a much longer view of history and problem solving, and has greater faith in international law and cooperation. Kagan does not view these differences as the result of innate national character, but as a time-honored historical reality--the U.S. is merely behaving like the powerful nation it is, just as the great European nations once did when they ruled the world. Now, Europe must act multilaterally because it has no choice. The "UN Security Council is a substitute for the power they lack," he writes.

Kagan also emphasizes the inherent ironies present in the relationship. European nations have enjoyed an "American security guarantee" for nearly 60 years, allowing them to cut back on defense spending while criticizing the U.S. for not doing the same. Yet Europe relies upon the U.S. for protection. This has led America and Europe to view the same threats much differently, as evidenced by the split over how to deal with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Kagan points out that some European leaders are more afraid of how the U.S. will wield its power in the Middle East than they are of the thought of Hussein or other "rogue state" leaders acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

Kagan’s brevity is as impressive as it is appreciated; most writers would have required thrice as many pages to get to their point. At any length, the book is nothing short of brilliant. This is essential reading for those seeking to understand the post-Cold War world. --Shawn Carkonen
USMC Reading List The Old Man's Trail/a Novel About the Vietcong

Tom Campbell's book is extremely well written. The narrative unfolds quickly, bringing the reader into the mysterious maze of the Viet Cong supply route that belied the powerful bombing capacities of the U.S. military. It is written from the eyes of the teenagers conscripted into military duty, beginning with their grueling boot camp and their seasoned drill instructor. Scenes of the trail are splendidly presented, and readers will find themselved caught up in the suspense of the outcome. The book is an amazingly keen observer of minute details and larger conflictual perspectives. It is not overly sympathetic to either side, but quite human in presenting the nitty-gritty daily decisions soldiers from both sides were forced to make. You will find this book disturbing and stimulating. A high recommendation.

CSA Reading List Once an Eagle

In a country where Goldie Hawn can share a stage with Zig Zigler and tell their stories of success; here is superior fictional story on how to live ones life. No exaggeration! You see, the two protagonists in "Once an Eagle" are very different. Yes, there is a bit of black and white imagery used by Mr. Mryer, but the story of the choices that Sam Damon and Courtney Massengale make, need to be told and re-told. We were young once and we read Remarque's "All Quiet On The Western Front", the quintessenial war novel. I'm sure not many of us identified with Paul's former teacher or Sergeant. Why? Yes, Paul's journey is more interesting. However, it's the choices of an idealist youth who grows into a man after seeing the horrors of war that calls to all of us. Anton Mryer has updated that story, made it more fuller, more complex and has extended it over two adults lives. And, yes there is a message here to be found here. As a young Boy Scout, I was taught that the choices we make determine the man we become. Well, what better life model than that of Sam Damon. As a father, I can only hope my own children make similiar ethical choices! Enjoy!

-- gmulvey


CSAF Reading List


Daniel Yergin has done an amazing job with The Prize. It is meticulously detailed and highly entertaining and enlightening.

Before reading this book, I was under the typical California liberal impression of the oil industry: that we went into foreign countries, took the oil rights and screwed everyone out of everything for the almighty dollar. What I learned surprised me: everything oil companies did was through painstakingly negotiated contracts with the government, which was supposed to last for decades but, due to foreign greed, forced new contracts with steeper terms every couple of years. In fact, most if not all of the oil would have remained rotting in the ground without these companies going in and developing them, for not only their profit but for the third world country's as well.

I want to add that while Mexico and Iran fully nationalized their industries despite clear legal obligations to the contrary, pretty much every other country refused to honor their commitments. It makes me glad to live in America, where contracts are enforceable and people, more often than not, mean what they say.

CSAF Reading List

Prodigal Soldiers (An Ausa Institute of Land Warfare Book)

From the prologue to the epilogue, and everything in between, this book is fantastic reading. Anyone who has ever been associated with the U.S. military will have a much clearer picture of the totality of resurection within all the services after Vietnam. "Duty, Honor, and Country" does not always mean the same thing to different people, to some it means a career that spans over thirty years, to others the words are just something on a recruiting poster. To anyone who reads the book these three words will take on a much clearer meaning. Some chapters will cause tears in even the toughest of old veterans, and even the young generation of future service members will begin to understand some of the major events which have transpired in the military in the decades since Vietnam. James Kitfield tells a story that is not just a chronicle, or a documentary, but a story worthy of telling, and he does it with style. -- bsaffell






USMC Reading List Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers does not advocate a facist goverment! It considers a democracy where individuals who desire the right to vote must prove that they are willing to pay the cost of freedom. The fact, that so many people today find this requirement for personal responsibility threatening, does not bode well for our nation. I first read the novel in a high school English class. I was a 16 year old punk at the time. It greated a great deal of debate, to say the least, but had a profound impact on me. I enlisted in the Marine Corps on my 18th birthday, against the wishes of my parents, and have served, as both an enlisted Marine and Marine Officer, for 11 years. I have reread the book several times and was excited to learn, in 1992, that the Commandant of the Marine Corps had made Starship Troopers required reading for all Marines. Read this book with an open mind. It is science fiction literature, more importantly it challenges the reader to examine our role in society. Bryon J. Fugate

CSAF Reading List
Supreme Command

This is Eliot Cohen's most intriguing and accomplished work to date. As one who has disagreed with Professor Cohen almost as often as I have agreed with him in the past, I must acknowledge the immediate (and likely enduring) value of this very well-done study of the relationships between heads of state and the military men working for them. While this book will not end the debate over "Who's on first?", it certainly deepens it. And it's simply good reading. I'm still not convinced that civilian leaders always know best--especially given their often-willful ignorance of the military experience--but I certainly believe that the civilians must always be firmly in charge, and Cohen makes that case indisputably along the way. It would have been interesting to bookend these studies with a look at the relationship between Bismarck and the elder Moltke, who enjoyed perhaps the most suspicion-laden symbiotic relationship in history--and whose grand successes illustrate Cohen's thesis with something near perfection--and the relationship, so very different, between President Clinton and his generals, all of whom were hobbled by fear, though of very different things. But this is Professor Cohen's book, not mine. I recommend this book highly--especially to military officers, not all of whom will be pleased by it. Intellectually engaging in the best sense. -- Ralph H. Peters 


CSA Reading List This Kind of War

If you only read one book on the Korean War, this is the one. Fehrenbach provides a well-balanced mix of impressions of fighting at the ground level with the broader vision of the war from a strategic and political level. He is unsparing in describing the appalling unpreparedness of the US Army and, more important, the underlying reasons for it that can easily be repeated in the future.

As the book was written nearly 30 years before the end of the Cold War (1963), it frequently tends to speak in the present tense of an era fading into the past. Still, this does little to detract from the book. What would have helped the book immensely is the presence of a few maps to give the reader the ability to identify key locations mentioned throughout the book.

Overall, a "must read," but not an "only read."
-- Carl E. Pales

CSAF Reading List
Tournament of Shadows

This book covers many interesting aspects of the Central Asia game as played by Britain and Russia in the 19th century. As other reviewers have mentioned, it covers a lot of ground but lacks a central coherence which renders it less effective. Chinese historical sources are not used --which could throw some light on the Manchu empire's strategy toward the area. There is also a glaring geographical mistake: At the mouth of the Amur the Russians founded the city of Nikolaevsk NOT Vladivostok which was founded ten years later on a bay close to the Korean border formerly named Haisenwei. Other than that the book is an interesting and engrossing read.


CSAF Reading List
The Transformation of American Air Power (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)

Ben Lambeth has written a brilliant and much needed analysis of the transition of airpower in the past two decades. This book ranks with John Warden's, The Air Campaign, as two of the best books on airpower to have been written since World War II. Lambeth, who has worked for Rand for many years, has flown many of the world's best combat aircraft but even better, he has great sources and a discerning mind. Also, he gives a candid look at what the future holds.


USMC Reading List The United States Marines, 1775-1975

General Simmons has written a great general history of the Marine Corps. This classic account is very readable. I understand the Naval Institute Press has just published an updated and revised 3rd edition of this book. General Simmons was also the senior editor of the just released pictorial history entitled The Marines.

In 1775, determined and angry colonists took up arms against a common foe, and their battle cries signaled the birth of the United States Army. The Army has been forged in the fires of revolution, tested on continental battlefields, battered at the shores of Normandy, and hardened on the sands of the Persian Gulf and Iraq. Published in conjunction with the Army Historical Foundation, this beautifully illustrated large-format book is both a major reference tool and a handsome addition to any military history collection. Building on official Army chronologies, U.S. Army: A Complete History presents a year-by-year summary of significant Army activities, from before the American Revolution to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Key historical entries, as well as significant operations, technological advances, and the people instrumental in shaping the Army, appear as expanded sidebar articles written by leading experts in each subject.




CSAF Reading List
War at the Top of the World

This book is well written and not a difficult read given the complex topic. The main suffering point is that Margolis is not a research Historian and the book is not written from the point of view of journalist. Margolis makes many good points, especially in concerns to potential future problems, but he really fails to deliver the kind of un-biased factual evidence to back some of his points. Margolis does know the area, people, and events but this is not enough for a book that is presenting History.

If you are looking for current-event information or even a primer on this region, then this book isn't a bad read. I did enjoy the book, but felt it could have been better researched and developed.

USMC Reading List The War of the Running Dogs: The Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960

The twelve-year British-led war against Chinese Communist insurgents in Malaya resulted in total defeat for the rebels and the installation of a relatively stable and independent (if racially discriminatory) Malaysian government in Kuala Lumpur. This book, which is a historical narrative of the war from the British perspective, is still on the United States Marine Commandant's recommended reading list for the valuable lessons the British strategy has to teach. Inevitably, comparisons and contrasts arise between victory in Malaya and defeat in Vietnam; a principal difference (which Barber doesn't fully draw out) is that the Chinese-speaking population (from whom the rebels drew their support) was heavily counterbalanced by the Malay population (which was and remains antagonistic towards the Chinese). Nevertheless, the British methods in this war were in many respects much more sophisticated than the American strategy in Indochina, and the Malaysian Emergency still repays study. This remains by far the best book on the topic. -- Matherson

CSA Reading List


We were Soldiers Once...And Young - This book is a stunning accomplishment written by the on scene American commander of the first major combat engagement in VietNam in late 1965 at the Ia Drang Valley. It threads the line masterfully between human interest story and gripping actual war story. It is quick to read, but also remarkably detailed. It is not a "literary" masterpiece, but it is in no way a "dumbed down" book.

This 560 page paperback tells the story of the formation and first time use of what would become a standard image of the war in VietNam, Air Assault by helicopter. The book opens with a number of pages telling how portions of the 1st Cavalry Division were being converted by technology and need from old style mobile ground infantry into highly mobile, helicopter-bourne shock troops for use in the hostile territory and hostile terrain of the growing conflict in South East Asia. We follow many of the participants from their training in the United States over to deployment "on the cheap" in South VietNam. Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore was the battalion commander and Joe Galloway was the UPI reporter who found themselves dropped right into a massive hornet's nest of eager for battle North Vietnamese Army regulars massively outnumbering the Americans at Landing Zone X-Ray. The details of the battle from BOTH SIDES are described in vivid detail giving the reader a harrowing image of the horror that combat actually is. The main battle rages on day and night for a couple days as every bit of the new training and tactics taught to the battalion are put to desperate use. New tactics are developed on the spot as American soldiers frantically fight to save themselves and their buddies. The history of the embattled unit (the 7th Cavalry of General Custer's last stand at Little Big Horn) weighs heavily on the Americans as they fight to prevent being overrun again nearly 90 years later half-way around the world. The value of Hal Moore's excellent leadership during the X-Ray battle is vividly illustrated later when poor leadership gets the unit's sister battalion decimated nearby at Landing Zone Albany.

This book is well worth reading even to the casual reader. It is not a "flag-waver" or an anti-war book. It simply tells the true story of relatively ordinary humans who find themselves mixed up in "a new kind of war" that seems destined to get all of them killed brutally. "We Were Soldiers" is expertly presented and researched. Many of the American survivors of the battle meet each year in remembrance and the authors have used these gatherings to make sure they got the details and full stories right. The authors also met the North Vietnamese commander of the battle at length when writing this book who gave them fine insight into the perspective from the "other side". You can smell the sweat, and the fear, everywhere.

This book is not to be missed by any human being who wants to understand (and hopefully avoid) what war is like. It is sobering and very much worth your effort.







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Page last modified on: 06 February 2010