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On War

By Carl Von Clausewitz

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This book has 2 recommendations

Ryan Holiday (Founder / Brass Check)

I know this will offend many strategy purists, but for most audiences I recommend these two books only with a pretty strong disclaimer. While both are clearly full of strategic wisdom, they are hard to separate from their respective eras and brands of warfare. As budding strategists in business and in life, most of us are really looking for advice that can help us with our own problems. The reality is that Napoleonic warfare does not exactly have its equivalents in today’s society. On the other hand, Sun-Tzu is so aphoristic that it’s hard to say what is concrete advice and what is just common sense. But the books are so convincing that you might still end up leaving thinking that they can be easily applied. So, again, check these books out if you’re really interested, but I think some of the other books are much better places to start.

Reid Hoffman (Founder / LinkedIn)

Reid read Carl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu as a boy, which informed his strategic thinking.

Amazon description

On War is one of the most important books ever written on the subject of war. Clausewitz, a Prussian officer who fought against the French during the Napoleonic Wars, sought to understand and analyse the phenomenon of war so that future leaders could conduct and win conflicts more effectively. He studied the human and social factors that affect outcomes, as well as the tactical and technological ones. He understood that war was a weapon of government, and that political purpose, chance, and enmity combine to shape its dynamics. On War continues to be read by military strategists, politicians, and others for its timeless insights.

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