Galrahn, the master of all things maritime, penned a very positive review of of The John Boyd Roundtable over at Information Dissemination :
Disciples of Strategy and Disciples of a Strategist
I am not an expert on John Boyd, but as a JCL on the subject, I intend to catch up. There is a small group of thinkers whom, since I began blogging, I visit daily to learn from. I call these bloggers mentors, and although I can find myself in disagreement as I browse daily, I also always find myself thinking on the subject matter. Can’t beat that!
Four of these mentors (Thomas Wade, Daniel Abbott, Mark Safranski, and Dr. Thomas Barnett who wrote the foreword) recently published a book with Nimble Books called The John Boyd Roundtable: Debating Science, Strategy, and War. A book about a roundtable? Yep, and after I purchased the book from Amazon.com this evening I decided to go ahead and blog on the subject.
I find John Boyd interesting, and I’ve read enough of the general information to know that I should do research, but it wasn’t until I sat down and read all the way through this conversation over at the Small Wars Journal that I decided to give in and buy the book. In particular, this comment from a less than enthusiastic commenter is what sucked me in.
Indeed, the most irritating thing about Boyd’s work is that he left us next to nothing. Those briefs are hollow shells without his verbiage (“speaker notes”) behind it. Or even the man behind it, as he could handle questions quite well. There’s no body of work that he’s written. So we rely on “the disciples” to interpret him and expand upon what he said. Christ wrote not a single book of the Bible and we know of him through his disciples and the interpreters ever since. Yup, the religious aspects really do appear to apply here.
People’s frustration (“What’s the big deal?”) is certainly relevant and germane because–to those well-read in the art of war–we read Boyd’s interpreters and shrug our shoulders. So what? Don’t we all know that? Didn’t we all know that? Like I said, if you don’t have the kind of itch that Boyd’s ideas were meant to scratch, he doesn’t do much for you.
A military strategist who has published briefs I can read? Am I really supposed to believe the Air Force has had a modern strategist? Oh, you mean they ignored him? Now you have my attention… j/k.
Much thanks to Galrahn for his kind words! Read the rest here.