War and Resistance in the Philippines, 1942-1944

A few days after departing the Philippines in 1942 to command the defense of Australia and prepare offensive forces against Japan, General MacArthur coined the now famous phrase, “I came through and I shall return.” This simple phrase gave the guerillas, with modest American in-country support, the confidence and hope that the United States would return in sufficient numbers to expel the Japanese in due time.  

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Back Page Notes- Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement

Nobel laureate, Daniel Kahneman, and his team make a case for the reduction of noise in judgement. They argue reducing both bias and noise (inconsistency/variability) is necessary to improve decision making. Accuracy in human judgement is highly desirable, especially for our key decision makers. Relying on checklists and statistics help to reduce noise and produce more predictable results. The authors aren’t saying intuition (gut) is necessarily something to be disregarded, but rather informed, discipled, and delayed prior to execution.

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First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power

This book is about imperialism, which was not popular in the late 19th century, and is often communicated through the actions of John Hay, Henry Cabot Lodge, Alfred Mahan, Elihu Root, and Theodore Roosevelt. These five leaders acted on “Americanism” or “large policy,” and occasionally as “expansionism” for the dreams of future global power to be enjoyed outside the shadow of a tyrannical government the United States rebelled against only a century prior. Warren Zimmermann outlines the book in two parts, with the first concentrating on the abridged biographies of each man. The second part concentrated on the recounting of events bringing each man into American imperialism. The writing in this book is a mixture of history, explanation, needless information, and networked ideology connected through the actions of leaders willing and capable to bring Americans from the land of the free and the home of the brave to imperial occupiers with false hope of democracy. 

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Vicarious Warfare: American Strategy and the Illusion of War on the Cheap

Thomas Waldman defines vicarious warfare as a tradition of war that seeks strategic goals while paying a minimal price. It’s not trying to find an advantage over the enemy as much as to wage a war without making a sacrifice, separating the ends from the means, and looking to get something for nothing.   

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What Our Military Leaders are ACTUALLY Reading

Every year or so, the military services come out with their official reading list. This is often an expansive list and can contain up to 150 books, which are recommended for our military leaders. While a 150 strong reading list can be beneficial, it may be a bit too much for those just starting out on their journey of reading.
Last month, I narrowed down the list a bit. I asked ten of my closest military friends, “what is the one book that has most contributed to your leadership development? Is there a book that has impacted you and one you would recommend?” Their responses varied and covered publications from the classics to the latest mainstream. This article will list some of those books and summarize each. In no particular order, here are the books:

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Sovereignty: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Men

Every man is born with just one thing: his sovereignty – his power to respond to his environment and his circumstances. Unfortunately, most men have spent much of their lives giving away that sovereignty. Every time a man passes blame or shirks his responsibility, every time he makes excuses for his performance, and every time he trades his unlimited potential for a little perceived safety and security, he willingly submits himself to the mercy of others.

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