Reading Lists

Military Transition Reading List

Transitioning from a life in the military to civilian life is a profound journey marked by both excitement and uncertainty. To address the unique challenges and opportunities that this transition brings, we’ve built a reading list that’s not only invaluable for military professionals considering their next steps but also for leaders looking to support their fellow service members in this pivotal transformation. These books offer a wealth of wisdom, insights, and practical advice, guiding readers through the myriad aspects of civilian life, career shifts, personal development, and more. Whether you’re an individual facing this transition or someone committed to helping others through it, this reading list is a vital resource for navigating the path to a fulfilling civilian life.

Mission Transition

By: Lt Col (Ret) M. Louis (2019)

“Mission Transition” by Matthew J. Louis addresses the challenges veterans face during their transition into civilian life. It highlights that many veterans leave the military unprepared for this change despite their valuable skills. The book provides guidance on discovering career paths, crafting resumes, acing interviews, and adapting to civilian work cultures, all with insights from other veterans. It’s a comprehensive resource for service members looking to make a successful transition and for anyone aiming to support them in this process.

Separating from Service: Mental Health Handbook

By: E. Burleson (2019)

“Separating From Service” by Eric Burleson explores the psychological challenges that veterans encounter when transitioning out of the military. The book delves into the unique aspects of the veteran experience, backed by research from various fields including neuroscience and clinical psychology. It offers actionable advice and exercises to help veterans navigate this critical life change, with a foreword written by Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret, Texas Longhorn, and Seattle Seahawk. This book will sure to provide insight in helping military professionals navigate the difficult mental transition from military life to becoming a civilian once again.

Life is in the Transitions

By: B. Feiler (2021)

In “Life Is in the Transitions,” author Bruce Feiler embarks on a journey across America to collect stories of individuals who have experienced major life changes. He then analyzes these narratives, uncovering patterns and insights that help people not only survive but thrive in times of change. Feiler introduces the idea of the nonlinear life, emphasizing that transitions are becoming more common, and provides readers with a toolkit to navigate these pivotal moments, allowing them to rebuild and reimagine their lives.

What Color is Your Parachute?

By: R. Bolles & K. Brooks (2021)

“What Color Is Your Parachute?” is a renowned job-hunting guide that offers the latest advice, resources, and strategies for navigating today’s job market. At its core, the book presents the Flower Exercise, a self-inventory tool that helps readers align their careers and lives with their passions and skills. Additionally, it provides practical guidance on crafting resumes, cover letters, networking, interviewing, and salary negotiation, making it a valuable resource for individuals seeking employment, facing layoffs, or contemplating a career change.

It’s Personal, Not Personnel

By: Col (Ret) R. Campbell (2017)

“It’s Personal, Not Personnel” is a leadership book that emphasizes the importance of investing in people, whether in corporate America or the American military. The book, authored by a 27-year Army Colonel with extensive leadership experience, provides practical frameworks and real-life stories that readers can apply to their organizations and teams. The core message is that effective leadership is personal, focusing on understanding, valuing, and empowering individuals, ultimately creating a people-centric environment that leads to improved productivity and engagement.

Military in the Rear View Mirror

By: D. K. L. France (2019)

“Military in the Rear View Mirror” explores the unique cultural and psychological aspects of transitioning from military life to civilian life. The book, authored by Duane France, a retired Army Noncommissioned Officer and clinical mental health counselor, offers insights into the challenges faced by service members leaving the military, such as adjusting to a different way of life, processing past experiences, and defining their future selves. It serves as a valuable resource for service members, veterans, their families, and anyone supporting them through this significant life transition.

Beyond the Military

By: J. Roncoroni & S. Springer, PhD (2019)

“Beyond the Military” is a comprehensive guide designed to assist military leaders as they navigate the challenging transition from military life to civilian life. Written by Jason Roncoroni, an executive coach, and Dr. Shauna Springer, a licensed psychologist, this book introduces an Integrative Program of Transition, focusing on various critical aspects of transition. With over 30 exercises aimed at optimizing well-being, social reintegration, economic stability, and more, the book provides practical guidance and support for military leaders looking to find happiness and fulfillment in their post-military life.

Down Range: Career Guide to Life’s Next Phase

By: J. D. Murphy & W. M. Duke (2013)

“Down Range” offers career planning guidance to U.S. military veterans transitioning to civilian life, emphasizing the development of a post-military career that extends throughout their working lives. The book introduces a Career High Definition Destination (HDD) planning process, which has been successfully taught to over a million business executives worldwide. Author James Murphy, the founder of Afterburner Inc., helps veterans understand the differences between military service and the civilian business world, providing insights on how to identify resources, develop strategic plans, and execute their career goals effectively.

Military Professional Spotlight: Brian O’Connor

In this Ted Talk, Brian O’Connor, former Marine Corps Noncommissioned Officer, describes steps any transitioning service member can take to help make their transition back into civilian life easier. His tips and tricks focus on shifting your identity and creating your own personal purpose statement.

Source: Tedx Talks

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