Recommended Reading

The Navy publishes a recommended reading list here:

and NDU has a list of recommended reading lists here:

Some of the books are really good. However, I see a lot of "old" history and not a lot written on modern topics. So, I'm building my own list on this page. Everything here is something I have personally read, and I will be constantly updating as I read more.


One Hundred Days. Author: Sandy Woodward
The BEST book on modern naval warfare, written from the commander's perspective. Should be required reading for all naval officers. 

When Soldiers Quit: Studies in Military Disintegration. Author: Bruce A. Watson
This book is old, I found it at the library on base. Instead of studying victories, this one studies defeat and the breakdown of command. It looks at the breakdown of command in four different cases, including the My Lai massacre, but instead of sensationalizing it, it really digs into the reasons, background and personalities that all clashed to ultimately break apart in those events. Good reading for leaders as to what to watch for to prevent this in their own organizations.

Castles, Battles and Bombs. Author: Jurgen Brauer and Hubert Van Tuyll
A bit of history and a bit of economics mixed into one. This book shows all levels of war and how economics drive war. Why did Europeans build these huge castles? Simple: it was cheaper than maintaining an army. The authors do a good job of finding the details and turning it into a story instead of merely facts.

Blind Man's Bluff. Author: Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew
The classic modern submarine story. Cold war submarine operations at their finest. I had to report reading this book to the SSO, so obviously it's good!

Escape From Laos. Author: Dieter Dengler
Dieter is revered at SERE school as a master of survival. His story shows how the will to survive can ultimately prevail, despite all odds. A good book to read before you go to SERE school.

Deception In War. Author: Jon Latimer
A lot of people talk about deception, but most are completely clueless. This book analyzes war deception from all conflicts. It gives a much better description of Normandy than any other book I've read, and it goes into the deception operations that don't get nearly as much press.

Learning To Eat Soup With A Knife. Author: John A. Nagl
How did we lose Vietnam yet the British were able to win in Malaysia in a similar conflict 10 years earlier? This book analyzes both conflicts and shows the similarities and differences. Great read before you sit targeting boards so that you remember that war is not just a targeting problem.

The Generals. Author: Tom Ricks
I bought this in the airport and couldn't put it down. Although I don't always agree with Mr. Ricks, he does a great job in this book analyzing why we had successful generals in World War 2 and how that changed over the years. This should be mandatory reading for anyone becoming a reporting senior.

Death By Meeting. Author: Patrick Lencioni
Recommended personally to me by Admiral (at the time Rear Admiral) Cecil Haney, a short read that talks about why meetings suck and how to improve them. A great read and a great present to bosses that hold long meetings.

Good to Great: Why some companies make the leap...and others don't. Author: Jim Collins
Great by Choice. Author: Jim Collins
Good to Great and the Social Sectors. Author: Jim Collins
Obviously I'm a Jim Collins fan. These books are hard to put down. They analyze how lasting companies are built, and have so many parallels to the military I don't see why you wouldn't read them.

Ataturk. Author: Andrew Mango
A lot of people don't understand Turkey. Considering how central Turkey is to both Europe and Asia, this book gives a great analysis of recent Turkish history and why Turkey is the way it is today.


The Caine Mutiny

Down Periscope

Top Gun


Carrier, the PBS Series