zenpundit.com » John Boyd Roundtable

Archive for the ‘John Boyd Roundtable’ Category

Tsuen Takk !

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009


 I would like to say “thanks” to whomever is associated with the Royal Norwegian Navy that placed a bulk order for copies of The John Boyd Roundtable: Debating Science, Strategy, and War through The Norwegian Library House. Much appreciated!

Fallows on John Boyd and Boyd 2008

Friday, December 26th, 2008

James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly recently posted on Colonel John Boyd ( Hat tip to Fred Zimmerman) and I missed it in the pre-Holiday chaos:

First in a series of year end pensees: grand strategy

Could end up being a very brief series, but here is one to start:

As my wife and I near our third consecutive Christmas/New Year stretch outside the United States, mainly we feel lucky for all that we’ve been able to see and do and experience in China and its environs.

But of course there are costs. And while I wouldn’t exactly put this at the top of the list of things we regret missing out on (compared, say, with seeing our families and friends etc), I am in fact sorry not to have been around for the last few installments of the John Boyd Conferences, where people interested in Boyd’s theories of competition gather to apply them to topics ranging from financial meltdowns to handling Iraq. Much more about Boyd via links you can find here, here (second item), herehere, and here, for starters.

Read the rest here.

Review: Jeremy Young at Progressive Historians

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Jeremy Young, primus inter pares at Progressive Historians, posted up with compliments and constructive criticism in his review of  The John Boyd Roundtable :

Quick Thoughts on The John Boyd Roundtable

….First, let’s start with the obvious and most critical point: this book originated on a blog, more specifically as a blog roundtable. As such, the very fact that it’s made it into print is a significant leap forward for academic bloggers across boydbook.jpgthe net, and one we should cheer enthusiastically. Further, it’s clear from reading the book that the roundtable turned up considerable new insights….

….The only real problem I have with the book has to do with something that I think is only an issue because of the translation from blog to book. The John Boyd Roundtable is a book about another book by Frans Osinga, which is in turn a book about a military thinker, John Boyd. That’s a lot of moving parts to convey to a lay reader (which I most certainly am in the field of military history), and unlike on a blog, where you can simply link to Osinga’s book or to a Wikipedia profile of Boyd, all the connections need to be spelled out in the text itself. I didn’t get quite enough of this with regard to either Boyd or Osinga….

Read the rest here.

Review: Information Dissemination

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

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.


Friday, September 26th, 2008

Tom Barnett posted up on his foreword to  The John Boyd Roundtable: Debating Science, Strategy, and War:

…To truly think in grand strategic terms is hard because, in order to communicate concepts to the universe of relevant players, one needs a sort of “middleware” language able to traverse domains far and beyond the most obvious one of warfare. As America heads deeper into this age of globalization-a global order fundamentally of our creating-our need for such bridging lexicons skyrockets. In a networked age, everything connects to everything else, so most of what constitutes strategic thinking nowadays is really just the arbitraging of solid thinking regarding the dynamics of competition, leveraging the surplus of conceptual understanding in one realm to raise such understanding in others….

Read the rest here.

Barnett and Boyd shared a teaching modality, “the brief”. Here’s a head to head comparison:

Colonel John Boyd:

Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett:

Switch to our mobile site