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Book recommendation: The Gamble

By May 11, 2009culture

Picture 1 I recently enjoyed The Gamble (author: Thomas Ricks), a fascinating book about why 'the surge' campaign in Iraq was successful. (hint: it completely shifted the focus of military operations to helping civilians, rather than attempting to hold ground).  The most amazing thing, however, was how David Patraeus managed to convince top decision-makers to adopt the strategy.  I wasn't a fan of 'The Surge' when it was first proposed (or even after it became successful), but I'm glad I read this book because I know understand a lot more about why it's so easy to make poor military strategy decisions.  

The Iraq War wasn't well thought out to being with, and the political winds did not favor the surge strategy.  So how did it succeed? Read Ricks' book and you'll find out.  It's a well written book, and you won't want to put it down. After you read the book, check out this innovative presentation that summarizes the key points (and provides additional illumination into how Patraeus succeeded).

I know that there are some people who think that David Patraeus is some kind of awful person, but a few of those people might change their minds if they read this book.  Anyone with an open mind and a healthy curiosity about how social groups work (or don't work) will thoroughly enjoy The Gamble.


P.S. If you appreciate my observations, you might want to join my inner circle.
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