navy leadership

Leadership Lessons from Annapolis

My favorite leadership & warfare books

I’m in avid reader, I love to read a great book over the weekend. Helped me decompress and best of all I love to learn or detach. I was introduced to a great set of books as a young impressionable 18-year-old at the US Naval Academy. They have an amazing leadership library written by distinguished graduates, war veterans and commentaries on war by legendary figures. Nothing tests a leader’s skills like the stress and trauma of warfare. It’s a true depiction of how humans behave in the harshest of conditions, and there’s many direct correlations to the day-to-day management of people in stress, and all different types of situations.  These are some of my favorites, hopefully you can find one you enjoy (but I would read them all). A quick intro to each to give you my view on the value of the book.

In Love and War, by Admiral James Stockdale: Admiral Stockdale is a legendary figure in the military.  As an Airwing Commander in his late 40’s, he was shot down while flying in his A4J Skyhawk jet over Vietnam and was the senior ranking officer in the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison.   In Love and War,  Stockdale and his wife recount the courage, self-discipline and determination which enabled him to survive the harsh conditions of captivity. He also reflects upon the strong bonds of loyalty and friendship which sustained him through the ordeal. The book is a compelling story of heroism and resilience in the face of adversity. It is a must-read for anyone interested in leadership, the Vietnam War and the courage of those who served in it.

The U.S. Naval Institute Leadership Primer by James Stockdale: the foundation of leadership training at the Naval Academy, this is a great book for anyone aspiring to lead people.  In this book, Admiral Stockdale provides an overview on the fundamentals of leadership and how they apply to the naval environment. He stresses the importance of leading by example and making sure that one’s actions are consistent with their words.  

A Sense of Honor: A Chronicle of One Family’s Journey Through the U.S. Naval Academy by James Webb: this book is required reading at the Naval Academy, and is written by James Webb former Vietnam marine and later Secretary of Defense.  He has several books that are fantastic about leaders and the men they lead.  In this book, Webb provides a vivid account of the highs and lows of being a student at the U.S. Naval Academy. He follows several generations of the Webb family, who have been part of the Academy for decades, and provides a unique insight into the culture and traditions of the Naval Academy.

One More Mission: Oliver North Returns to Vietnam by Oliver North: Lieutenant Colonel north is a leadership figure, and a controversial personality in U.S. History.  he was a decorated marine commander in the Vietnam War, and later the subject of controversy in his dealings with the CIA.  Here, Oliver North recounts his experiences returning to Vietnam with a group of veterans. He reflects on his own experiences as a soldier and shares the stories of the other veterans who he meets along the way.

On War by Carl von Clausewitz: this book is essentially required reading at all the nations academies and gives insight into warfare tactics and strategy that can be applied to everyday lifeIn this book, Clausewitz provides an in-depth look at the art of war and its application to military strategy. He covers topics such as the nature of war, the use of force, and the importance of understanding the enemy’s strategy.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu: Sun Tzu was not only a general, but a philosopher warrior.  you follow me, you’ll see that I routinely tweet his insights into the world of warfare, which are easily translatable to the world of business.  This book is one of the most influential books on military strategy ever written. Sun Tzu provides a comprehensive overview of the principles of warfare and how they can be applied to the battlefield. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the enemy’s strengths, weaknesses, and tactics to achieve victory.

You can find an amazing library of leadership and warfare books at

sales leadership from military, recommended reading fro the naval academy

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