Navy Reading ListReading Lists

2021 Navy Reading List

The CNO’s Official Reading list just received some MAJOR updates this spring. The new reading list includes 53 books organized into four key lines of effort: Readiness, Capabilities, Capacity, and Sailors with the motto of “Read Well to Lead Well.”

Unfortunately, the most direct option for ordering the Navy Reading list, ordering from the Naval War College, is no longer available. Previously the War College had received funding to send Navy commands a complete library of the Navy’s reading list; however, that funding expired a few years ago. Until the Navy reinstates this funding, commands remain responsible for acquiring the Navy Reading List on their own

For those interested in ordering these books below are 8 options to make your supply officers job just a little bit easier, and your command just a little bit smarter:

Operation Paperback: Operation Paperback is the largest non-profit organization that provides books to our serving troops and veterans; they have been in business since 1999 and have shipped over 3 million books to date. While Operations Paperback does attempt to supply books on the Services Reading List, they rely almost solely on book donations for their distribution. This makes it very hard to “special request” specific books. However, as stated on the Operation Paperback’s website they will make an attempt to fulfill an order of books from your services reading list.  Operation PaperBack currently ships between 100,000 and 200,000 books per year, and they have a very active Facebook Page.  The form for requesting Operation PaperBack books can be found here.

Books for Soldierssupport deployed Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and Sailors with books, DVDs, and video games. Rather than sending books to the military directly, Books for Soldiers has a large network of volunteers who ship books directly to overseas troops.   Books for Soldiers is run by Storm Bear Williams and the form for requesting books can be found here.

Books for Troops provides books directly to deployed Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors, ships books to overseas USOs and also supports the United Through Reading program.   Books for Troops operate slightly differently from OPB or BFS as you will select the individual books you want from an online library.  BFT will then ship the books directly to your deployed location.  Books for Troops is run by Patricia Murphy, owner of the Signature Group.  

Books-A-Million Books to Troops Program: Books-A-Million has partnered with Reach out and Read to provide books to veterans, children, and overseas service members.   For individuals or commands serving overseas requests can be submitted directly to

Naval War College:  As of this writing the Navy War College no longer has a contract to supply the Navy commands with their Services reading list. But if/when this changes the War College can be contacted via phone or e-mail here.

Marine Corps Association: This has one of the best programs to get free books into the hands of servicemembers; unfortunately it only supports the Marine Corps. The Association is funded for a Unit Library program which will provide Marine Corps units with select books from the USMC reading list at no cost to the individual or the command. 

Service Electronic Libraries: The Army, Navy,and Air Force, all have MWR electronic libraries where servicemembers can download books onto their phone, tablet, computer, or overdrive app. Of note, the Navy’s Library also supports the Coast Guard and USMC.  There is also an Electronic DOD Library which can be accessed through Military One Source. This Military One Source Library also contains access to BookFlix, Children’s books, BrainHQ, Magazines, and other reference materials. 

Mags2Military and MagazinesForTroops: OK, while technically not books magazines are pretty close. Mags2Military provides free magazines for those with a .mil email address. As of the last check, they are offering 23 magazines to include Popular Science, Field and Stream, Entrepreneur, and National Review.  While MagazinesForTroops provides boxes of 40+ gently used magazines to deployed service members.  

And as a final option, DODReads:  If none of the above options meet your needs, the Army, Navy, Air Force, USMC, and Coast Guard reading list can be purchased directly from DODReads. Our primary customer is the Department of Defense and we make it very easy for your supply officer to purchase a reading list of choice. We accept purchase cards and for large orders accept payments through Contracting / SAM.   DODReads is veteran owned and operated with most of our profits going back to serve military readers.

Did we miss any?  Are any of these companies now out of business? Are you aware of any other ways that military service members can request free books?  If so please drop us a comment and let us know.  Additionally, if you work with an organization that provides books to the military and would like to partner with DODReads please reach out. 

The 2021 Chief of Naval Operations Reading List


  2. GHOST FLEET: A Novel of the Next World War By P.W. Singer & August Cole 
  3. NEPTUNE’S INFERNO: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal By James D. Hornfischer 
  4. SIX FRIGATES: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy By Ian W. Toll 
  5. MATTERHORN: A Novel of the Vietnam War By Karl Marlantes
  6. RED STAR OVER THE PACIFIC: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy By Toshi Yoshihara & James R. Holmes
  7. SEA POWER A Guide for the Twenty-First Century By Geoffrey Till
  8. THE LEADER’S BOOKSHELF By ADM. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.) & R. Manning Ancell
  9. LEADERS EAT LAST: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t By Simon Sinek
  10. MINDSET The New Psychology of Success By Carol S. Dweck
  11. THE INFINITE GAME: By Simon Sinek
  12. WHAT IT IS LIKE TO GO TO WAR: By Karl Marlantes


  1. ARMY OF NONE: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War By Paul Scharre
  3. BURN-IN: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution By P. W. Singer & August Cole
  4. THE FUTURE OF WAR: A History By Lawrence Freedman
  5. THE NEXT 100 YEARS: A Forecast for the 21st Century By George Friedman
  6. HUMAN COMPATIBLE: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control By Stuart Russell
  7. THE FIFTH DOMAIN: Defending Our Country, Our Companies, and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats By Richard A. Clark & Robert K. Knake
  8. THE NEW RULES OF WAR: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder By Sean McFate
  9. THE PERFECT WEAPON: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age By David E. Sanger
  10. DEEP THINKING: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins By Garry Kasparov
  11. GENIUS WEAPONS: Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Weaponry, and the Future of Warfare By Louis A. Del Monte 
  12. NO ORDINARY DISRUPTION: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends By Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, Jonathan Woetzel
  13. THE INEVITABLE: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future By Kevin Kelly


  1. FEARLESS: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown By Eric Blehm
  2. ONE NATION UNDER DRONES: Legality, Morality, and Utility of Unmanned Combat Systems By John E. Jackson
  3. THE FLEET AT FLOOD TIDE: America at Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945 By James D. Hornfischer
  4. THE LAST STAND OF THE TIN CAN SAILORS: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour By James D. Hornfischer
  6. JUST AND UNJUST WARS: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations By Michael Walzer
  7. SEA POWER: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans By ADM. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.) & R. Manning Ancell & Bob Souer
  8. TOWARD A NEW MARITIME STRATEGY: American Naval Thinking in the Post-Cold War Era By Peter D. Haynes
  9. OUR ROBOTS, OURSELVES: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy By David A. Mindell 
  10. THE END OF GRAND STRATEGY: US Maritime Operations in the Twenty-First Century By Simon Reich & Peter Dombrowski
  11. THE FUTURE OF VIOLENCE Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones By Benjamin Wittes & Gabriella Blum
  12. THE SECOND MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD: The Life of Admiral William D. Leahy, Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff By Phillips Payson O’Brien


  1. EGO IS THE ENEMY: By Ryan Holiday
  2. HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST: By Ibram X. Kendi
  3. THE DICHOTOMY OF LEADERSHIP: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win By Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
  4. TINY HABITS: The Small Changes That Change Everything By BJ Fogg
  5. WE CAN’T TALK ABOUT THAT AT WORK!: How to Talk about Race, Religion, Politics, and Other Polarizing Topics By Mary-Frances Winters
  6. A TACTICAL ETHIC: Moral Conduct in the Insurgent Battlespace By Dick Couch
  7. FED UP: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward By Gemma Hartley
  8. MILITARY ETHICS: What Everyone Needs to Know By George Lucas
  10. START WITH WHY: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action By Simon Sinek
  11. THE CHARACTER GAP: How Good Are We? By Christian Miller
  12. FORTUNE FAVORS BOLDNESS: The Story of Naval Valor During Operation Iraqi Freedom By Barry M. Costello
  13. NO PITY: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement By Joseph P. Shapiro 
  14. THE ROAD TO CHARACTER: By David Brooks
  15. THE HONEST TRUTH ABOUT DISHONESTY: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves By Dan Ariely
  16. THE NEW JIM CROW: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness By Michelle Alexander

Leave a Reply....