Military Book Reviews

Inside the Mind of a Successful CEO

Inside the Mind of a Successful CEO by David V. Mastran

Quite often, business books focus on specific aspects of activities as diverse as marketing, finance, and human resources–activities common to daily business management. This is not the case with Inside the Mind of a Successful CEO by Dr. David V. Mastran. Instead, the book is all-encompassing. And, Mastran writes from expertise learned over a long and varied career. He began as a West Point graduate military officer and Vietnam veteran and later became a senior federal government executive. Eventually, he founded both a large health and human services provider and an online music education company, the latter focused on younger children. 

The book will appeal to a wide audience in the business world, from entry-level manager to CEO, as well as entrepreneurs with little formal business education. In covering fundamental management concepts, the author deftly presents the contributions of Frederick Taylor, Dale Carnegie, W. Edwards Deming, and Peter Drucker in one page. And, throughout, he provides practical insights and best practices. For subjects not often covered in business books, including boards of directors, mergers and acquisitions, and going public, the author presents practical, experience-based advice. He also writes with a light touch on what otherwise might be dry, complicated subjects. Further, Mastran sprinkles appropriate and entertaining quotes and cartoons across the pages. The few references to West Point and combat situations are relevant, especially in the sections on crisis management and dealing with pressure.

Personal Takeaways

As a veteran, I found myself wishing for a few more “war stories” relating to transition, however that was never a stated purpose of the book. Of most value to me, however, was the emphasis on problem identification and problem solving processes and decision making. These are difficult processes for which to offer concrete solutions; and they are often glossed over in other business books. Importantly, while addressing scientific and financial concepts, Mastran focuses on the human elements of the “art and science” of management.


This book is a primer for business students and small business owners and is ideal for military members and veterans transitioning into the business world. The chapters on interaction with information technology and risk management are tailored to help managers without deep knowledge of these disciplines. But, It will be valuable to anyone working their way through the management ranks and serve well as a desk reference for C-level executives.

Book review submitted by Terry LLoyd who retired from the Air Force in 2000, at the rank of Senior Master Sergeant. He retired again in 2019 from a career in civil airport management and is currently a consultant in the airport and aviation industry and a paid freelance journalist and writer. His writing includes articles for a regional Orlando Florida area newspaper, focusing on veterans and our military history and heritage.  He is also the National Director, Legislative Affairs for the Armed Forces Retirees Association (  Lloyd holds an MBA in Aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and has attained the highest level of accreditation in the civil airport industry from the American Association of Airport Executives. 

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