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Reading Lists and the Wit of Joseph Fouche

A gem at Fear, Honor and Interest by Joseph Fouche:

The Really Alternative U.S. Army Reading List

Everyone, even CNASistas, is making fun of new U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey’s 26 volume attempt at a “professional reading list“. This Committee, ever eager to jump on the newest, hippest trend out of the Pentagon, is as willing to dogpile on Gen. Dempsey’s list as anyone else.

Any list that includes one, let alone two, books by the Mustache of Understanding, is instantly marked “self-parody” in the Committee’s collective INBOX and deleted. After touching any field of human inquiry, the Mustache of Understanding leaves PowerPoint in his wake and calls it wisdom. The Mustache of Understanding’s works may be of interest to future historians looking back on our age. But that sort of interest will be the same sort of forensic interest that epidemiologists summon when examining smallpox under a microscope in a cleanroom.

In the spirit of fairness to the good general, the Committee here offers up its own twenty-six books for the aspiring strategic professional…

And it is a good reading list too.

A line in there qualifies for Dave Schuler’s Imaginative Polemic collection.

9 Responses to “Reading Lists and the Wit of Joseph Fouche”

  1. joey Says:

    The Generals reading list is not the worst in the world.  Like picking the 10 greatest rock songs of all time, your not going to make everyone happy.#The two Friedman books, indefensible.Perhaps he could replace them with "Globalization and its discontents" by Stiglitz,  and "False dawn the delusions of global capitalism" by John Gray,  which to my mind do a better Job of highlighting the Unknown Unknowns of our brave new world.

  2. Dave Schuler Says:

    I’m still looking for examples.  I may make a special page for it.

  3. While you were away…MORE READING LIST MADNESS!!! | The Committee of Public Safety Says:

    […] time courtesy of Adam Elkus of Fear, Honor, and Interest fame. This madness may draw other idle commentators into the […]

  4. zen Says:

    "The two Friedman books, indefensible"
    Agreed. joey speaks for a very broad consensus 🙂
    Stiglitz would be a good add

  5. Chris Says:

    Let’s not forget that Friedman’s counterpart in the sciences, Malcolm Gladwell, is also included in the reading list.  Perhaps "the Invisible Gorilla:  How Our Intuitions Deceive Us" by Chabris and Simons instead?  Do any of the other readers have additional science popularizations to recommend?

  6. J.ScottShipman Says:

    Hi Chris,
    The fellas who wrote Invisible Gorilla should have stuck with an essay…the book form seemed to lose steam at around chapter 3 or 4.
    Gladwell is amusing, he either has lots of patience or a good staff—for all the academic papers he sources.
    Howard Bloom’s books should be on a must read list—particularly Genius of the Beast. James Gleick’s CHAOS and GENIUS are also very well done.
    Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map is good, too.

  7. zen Says:

    I need to write a pithy, short, plausible sounding but evidence-free management book. Perhaps, following the starfish/animal metaphor/Pop science trend…."NARWHALS & NEUROMANCERS: Leveraging Personal Idiosyncracies and Brain Science for Competitive Advantage" by Zen

  8. Chris Says:

    Speaking of amusing, Steven Pinker eviscerated Malcolm Gladwell in a New York Times review.  There might still be offal on my computer screen.  Re:  Gleick, I strongly recommend Gleick’s "The Information."  It focuses more on information in the Claude Shannon sense than in the colloquial sense, but it is a fascinating read.  Interestingly enough, I listened to an interview with Gleick, and his original plan was to write a book dealing with information and the military (which would have gotten around to Boyd soon enough, I’d guess).   

  9. Chris Says:

    Heh! Zen, there are probably publishing houses that would cut you a check right now for that book.  By the way, there is also a book on education in that reading list…what are your thoughts on that selection?  I know from your twitter feed that education policy is one of your interests. 

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