Developing the Naval Mind

The authors’ overall theme is understanding how naval professionals think and how they should learn. More than that, the authors operationalize each of these essays for military educators. Each selection includes discussion questions crafted by the authors, equipping a seminar leader both with reading material and a path to guide a dialogue in seminar. Readers can use it as a template to develop syllabi tailored to the educational objectives of their own organizations

Read more

From CO to CEO: A Practical Guide for Transitioning from Military to Industry Leadership

Capt. Toti addresses the million-dollar question for service members–when is the right time to leave the military and start a civilian career? Using relatable examples from his navy career, he methodically guides the reader through common mistakes, attributes needed to succeed, and the defense contractor landscape most veterans transition into. He relates how private industry functions, the potential opportunities for veterans, resumes, targeting jobs, interviewing, and tricky subjects like defining one’s compensation. Capt. Toti is candid as he comments on poor practices, not sugar-coating his words as other civilian self-help books might do.

Read more

Dodgebomb: Outside the Wire in the Second Iraq War

The author’s detailed description of the Iraq landscape plus the care and attention he gives to the development of his characters are both prime points of this quick read. He does an excellent job of providing a familiar environment to those who have served while simultaneously bringing along the uninitiated reader. The reader will identify with 2LT Fitz as he navigates the early days of his army career in the most inhospitable of environments.

Read more

War Transformed: The Future of Twenty-First Century Great Power Competition and Conflict

Ryan packages his ideas about people, ideas, and technology as a force to better understand the enduring nature of, and changing character of, war. In doing so, he posits that globalization and the forces that drive it have led, and will continue to lead, to increased competition and conflict not only between militaries but the nation states that fund and support them. What will distinguish the leaders in these competitions will be how people who are professionally and self-educated take existing ideas and technologies, new technologies, and evolve them into new war-fighting strategies and concepts.

Read more

West Point Admiral: Leadership Lessons from Four Decades of Military Service

West Point Admiral has something to offer everyone. At one level, it provides a tremendous insight into what it means to be a leader, to treat others with respect, and how to evaluate a new situation and make positive changes. Shelton focuses on the fundamentals of leadership, such as setting expectations up front, holding people accountable for their actions, while always taking care of them. 

Read more

From CO to CEO: A Practical Guide for Transitioning from Military to Industry Leadership

Everyone gets out of the military at some point. It’s a realization that comes for all service members, regardless of career trajectory. Most of us will tell ourselves we’re prepared to tackle a second career, despite the uncertainty, because we’ve been tested and have demonstrated leadership. Less than a page into Chapter 1 of From CO to CEO, Bill Toti throws much-needed cold water on that notion.

Read more

Washington: A Life

George Washington remains, to this day, one of the most admired figures in the annals of American history. The hero of the Revolutionary War and the first President of the United States, he is often sanctified in historical discussions. In truth, he was a “sensitive, complex figure, full of pent-up passion,” who had many fallible traits and shortcomings. Ron Chernow’s Pulitzer Prize winning expansive biography is a “one volume, cradle to grave narrative” of this fascinating individual.

Read more

Man’s Search for Meaning

In Viktor Frankl’s world renown book Man’s Search for Meaning, the steady underlying beat of the emotionally grounding drum comes as a Nietzsche quote explaining that “He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.” Numerous accounts of the world wars have depicted the gruesome accounts humankind has enacted on his likeness in the name of ideals and values, the aftermath giving way to deep-dives and analytics in search of answering the “why”.

Read more

Marine Maxims

Colonel Gordon informs us that “Leadership is easy. Being a leader is hard”, a comment that sets the tone for the book. Marine Maxims uses common sense rules and principles based on personal experiences to deliver a vicarious education. It is a very personal book the author uses to share success and shortcomings in equal measure to guide leaders of all ranks using fifty practical maxims that teach the art of enlightened and informed leadership. 

Read more

Saltwater Leadership Second Edition

In a slim, pocket-sized book authored by Rear admiral (RADM) Robert O. Wray Jr. USN (Ret), Vice admiral (VADM) John B. Mustin USN, RADM Theodore P. S. LeClair USN, and Commander (CDR) Andrew K. Ledford USN, PhD, Saltwater Leadership captures the collective wisdom of their 100-plus years of successful naval service concisely. It is based on their surveys of 380 other senior leaders and their review of thousands of pages of leadership books. True to the aim of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Blue & Gold Professional Library, the book is an inside job for naval leaders by naval leaders.

Read more

A Gathering of Men

This book chronicles the exploits and trauma along with the remarkable success of the 8th AF 100th Bomb Group pilots, mechanics, and aircrew’s heroic, invaluable demonstrations of strategic airpower. The author tells us intimate details of what can only be personal family history, and indeed from her own father-in-law’s memory. It is a gripping, immersive narrative that I finished quickly. I didn’t want to put it down.

Read more

Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy

Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy, by David Mindell, frames autonomy from a different perspective. Autonomy isn’t necessarily the incorporation of advanced electronics and artificial intelligence. Mindell writes, autonomy is “human action removed by time.” A human performs the task by physical presence or by program in the laboratory. Despite the distance or number of intermediary steps (between the programmer, operator, or physical action), the human is still present; albeit remotely. Once one thinks of autonomy this way, many of the dilemmas it presents fall away. Automation of a task does not alter its nature fundamentally, though it may alter the way it’s perceived

Read more