“Read Different”

T. X. Hammes

Armed Forces Journal, despite its committment to “Ideas. Vision. Leadership,” is usually a cliché ridden, institution-speak compilation of repackaged doctrine and processes passed off as new and inventive thinking. No surprise once you look at the magazine’s readership of field and flag grade officers as well people in government and corporate defense.

For example, Gen. Dempsey’s advice for “Building critical thinkers” is 1700 words of corporate cheerleading culminating in this insight:

“The challenges ahead of us in the 21st century security environment mandate that we reinvigorate our commitment to the development of strategic leaders.”


The reader might wonder why concern for future’s uncertainty suddenly begins on Dempsey’s watch.

T.X. Hammes’ article “Read Different,” however, doesn’t engage in institutional navel gazing but notes how new theories of how the world works in a connected, networked age are challenging our assumptions and processes, especially in the defense industry.

Of the twelve works Hammes recommends, only one is a military publication. In addition, I’d recommend “Six Degrees” by Duncan Watts, the work of Lotfi Zadeh, known as the “father of fuzzy logic,” and Malcolm Gladwell.


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