Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Stavridis Bounce

Navy Reads got a bounce this month when the Task & Purpose blog connected to a post we published in 2013: "Stavridis's Novel Approach to Summer," in which former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Adm. James Stavridis revealed top 20 works of fiction by authors ranging from Ian Fleming and Ian McEwan to Stephen King and Hilary Mantel, author of "Wolf Hall" (now a BBC/PBS series).

Luckily, Stavridis, as dean of The Fletcher School of Tufts University, is still recommending books, including several works of fiction, Ha Jin's "A Map of Betrayal," Emily St. John Mandel's "Station Eleven," and Phil Klay's "Redeployment," which Dean Stavridis calls "a very serious read" of "beautifully realized stories."

Two works of nonfiction he recommends from 2014 are "World Order" by Henry Kissinger and "In the Kingdom of Ice," by Hampton Sides.

On Task & Purpose U.S. Army Major Crispin Burke presents the six smart habits of the U.S. military's most successful commanders, and among those habits is reading.

"Not only does reading expose you to new ideas, but it improves concentration, helps your writing skills, and best of all, it’s a lot more productive than playing video games," Burke advises.

"Most importantly, reading will teach you that there’s very little you’ll live through that someone else hasn’t experienced already. That’s especially true in the profession of arms — after nearly 5,000 years of recorded military history, most armed conflicts differ little from the days of Sun Tzu, Thucydides, and Clausewitz," he adds.

Burke also examines the importance of sound mind and body, setting a battle rhythm, networking, getting ground truth (not relying on yes-people), and remembering humility – servant leadership. Burke offers great examples to back up his thesis. Learning through others' experiences is a task with a purpose, and reading, once embraced, becomes more joy than task.

See how then-Adm. Stavridis explained in 2012 on TED Talks how the U.S. military is delivering global security this century using more than the barrel of a gun.

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