Weekend Leadership Reading: 2/2/18

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Weekends are time when things slow down a little. Your weekend shouldn’t be two more regular work days. That’s a sure road to burnout. Take time to refresh yourself. Take time for something different. Take time for some of that reading you can’t find time for during the week. John Boyd’s legacy.

Here are choice articles on hot leadership topics culled from the business schools, the business press and major consulting firms. This week there are articles about the future of war, rapidly changing technology, staying well informed, why time management is ruining our lives, and John Boyd’s legacy.

From the Economist: The Future of War

“This special report will therefore offer its predictions with humility. It will also limit them to the next 20 years or so, because beyond that the uncertainties become overwhelming. And it will not speculate about the clear and present danger of war breaking out over North Korea’s nuclear weapons, which with luck can be contained. Instead, it will outline the long-term trends in warfare that can be identified with some confidence.”

From Thomas L. Friedman: While You Were Sleeping

“Two and half years ago I was researching a book that included a section on IBM’s cognitive computer, ‘Watson,’ which had perfected the use of artificial intelligence enough to defeat the two all-time ‘Jeopardy!’ champions. After my IBM hosts had shown me Watson at its Yorktown Heights, N.Y., lab, they took me through a room where a small group of IBM scientists were experimenting with something futuristic called ‘quantum computing.’ They left me thinking this was Star Wars stuff — a galaxy and many years far away. Last week I visited the same lab, where my hosts showed me the world’s first quantum computer that can handle 50 quantum bits, or qubits, which it unveiled in November. They still may need a decade to make this computer powerful enough and reliable enough for groundbreaking industrial applications, but clearly quantum computing has gone from science fiction to nonfiction faster than most anyone expected.”

From Bill Barnett: Think You’re Well Connected? Stop Fooling Yourself

“You read a lot. You’re informed daily through Twitter, various blogs, and a few subscriptions. Your network is very large, and is made up of people who also have large networks. With technology at your fingertips, you are extremely well informed. You’re fooling yourself.”

From Oliver Burkeman: Why time management is ruining our lives

“All of our efforts to be more productive backfire – and only make us feel even busier and more stressed.”

Thanks to Adam Grant for the pointer to this piece.

Book Suggestion: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Book suggestion: The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

From Shane Parrish: What You Can Learn from Fighter Pilots About Making Fast and Accurate Decisions

“What techniques do people use in the most extreme situations to make decisions? What can we learn from them to help us make more rational and quick decisions?”

Wally’s Comment: John Boyd is a fascinating character and powerful thinker who is relatively unknown among the general public, even though his ideas undergird the military doctrine of maneuver warfare. The reason is that Col. Boyd never wrote a book. The only ways we have today to judge his ideas or mine them for wisdom is either by reviewing the briefings he gave in a variety of settings or reading books and articles about him.

Briefings – Colonel John R. Boyd, USAF: A compendium of John Boyd’s pivotal work is a web site with links to various briefing documents. If you choose to follow the link and look at the documents, I suggest starting with “Patterns of Conflict” which is a briefing that Col. Boyd gave and refined for years.

Book Suggestion: Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram

Book Suggestion: Certain to Win: The Strategy of John Boyd, Applied to Business by Chet Richards

Boyd had a profound effect on the official doctrrine of the US Marine Corps. It’s described in  the Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication, Warfighting. The link is to a PDF of the most recent version.

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