Small Wars Journal

reading list

What Professional Reading Lists Should Be: A Book Review of Marine Maxims by Col. Thomas J. Gordon

Wed, 12/01/2021 - 5:29pm
Marine Maxims by Col. Thomas Gordon is an exceptional resource for military self-development. Its short insightful chapters are filled with valuable leadership lessons suitable for junior noncommissioned officers to field grade leaders. Col. Gordon shapes what may normally be considered as cliché leadership lessons and gives them new life by discussing how these lessons impacted his career and how these issues will continue to impact the military profession in the future. In many ways, the way Col. Gordon has structured this book is how I wish every professional reading list should be presented. He briefly discusses the 50 valuable leadership lessons and how each impacted his own career and why these lessons will be important in the future before giving the reader at least one future book or resource to further explore the topic. I would highly recommend this book for military leaders and will likely be giving copies of this work to my supervisors and subordinates to help further spread the important lessons within these pages.

About the Author(s)

Revision of the Commandant's Professional Reading Program

Tue, 10/20/2020 - 7:59pm


1. To ensure the Commandant's Professional Reading Program (CPRP) remains relevant, current, and promotes professional discussions amongst all Marines. The Commandant's Professional Reading List (CPRL) has removed the rank distinction and consolidated the list of publications into five categories.

2. The CPRL is arranged into five categories: Commandant's Choice, Profession of Arms, Innovation, Leadership, and Strategy. Each year, Marines shall read a minimum of five books from the CPRL.

2.a. In addition to the updated reading list, the Gray Research Center in coordination with the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity has added new content to the CPRP to include the current podcasts, articles, and discussion guides. The CPRL and related information can be found at https:(slant)(slant)

2.b. Previous CPRL book titles will remain available under the heading “Archive” along with a list of significant national and Marine Corps related titles listed under the heading “Foundational.”

2.c. Marines are highly encouraged to incorporate periodicals and podcasts into their reading regimens. Scholarly and professionally oriented articles published by independent magazines and journals foster innovation, professional military education (PME) development, critical study of the profession of arms, and serious discussion regarding topics of interest within the Marine Corps. Professional publications inform debate on current, topical issues of relevance to the Marine Corps and promote intellectual growth of the individual Marine.

2.d. Per the references, completion of the CPRL reading requirement shall be noted in the individual Marines fitness report or be taken into account when assigning proficiency/conduct marks. How a Marine demonstrates completion of the annual requirement is at the discretion of the commander.

3. Categories

3.a. Commandant's Choice: “The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare” by: C. Brose.

3.b. Profession of Arms
3.b.1. “After Action: The True Story of a Cobra Pilot's Journey” by: D. Sheehan.
3.b.2. “Black Hearts: One Platoon's Descent Into Madness in Iraq's Triangle of Death” by: J. Frederick.
3.b.3. “First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps” by: V. Krulak.
3.b.4. “Forgotten Warriors: The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, the Corps Ethos, and the Korean War” by: T.X. Hammes.
3.b.5. “Hesitation Kills: A Female Marine Officer's Combat Experience in Iraq” by: J. Blair.
3.b.6. “The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat” by: B. Drury and T. Clavin.
3.b.7. “The Marines of Montford Point: America's First Black Marines” by: M. McLaurin.
3.b.8. “Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills” by: C. Henderson.
3.b.9. “Neptunes Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal” by: J. Hornfischer.
3.b.10. “We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah” by: P. O'Donnell.
3.b.11. “Women at War: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Conflicts” by: S. Baron.

3.c. Innovation
3.c.1. “Assault from the Sea: Essays on the History of Amphibious Warfare” by: M. Bartlett.
3.c.2. “Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII” by: C. Nez and J. S. Avila.
3.c.3. “Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon” by: K. Zetter.
3.c.4. “Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It” by: I. Leslie.
3.c.5. “Issues on My Mind: Strategies for the Future” by: G. Schultz.
3.c.6. “Learning War: The Evolution of Fighting Doctrine in the U.S. Navy, 1898–1945” by: T. Hone.
3.c.7. “The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World” by: P. Domingos.
3.c.8. “Military Innovation in the Interwar Period” by: W. Murray.
3.c.9. “On Call in Hell: A Doctor's Iraq War Story” by: R. Jadick.
3.c.10. “Sgt Reckless: America's War Horse” by: R. Sutton.
3.c.11. “The White Donkey: Terminal Lance” by: M. Uriarte.
3.c.12. “Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century” by: P. W. Singer.

3.d. Leadership
3.d.1. “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead” by: J. Mattis and B. West.
3.d.2. “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.” by: B. Brown.
3.d.3. “It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership” by: C. Powell.
3.d.4. “The Leader's Bookshelf” by: J. Stavridis.
3.d.5. “Legacy: 15 Lessons in Leadership” by: J. Kerr.
3.d.6. “Resilience: Hard-won Wisdom for Living a Better Life” by: E. Greitens.
3.d.7. “Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productivein Life and Business” by: C. Duhigg.
3.d.8. “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by: S. Sinek.
3.d.9. “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging” by: S. Junger.
3.d.10. “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by: L. Hillenbrand.
3.d.11. “You Are Worth It: Building a Life Worth Fighting For” by: K. Carpenter.

3.e. Strategy
3.e.1. “Cybersecurity & Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know” by: P. W. Singer.
3.e.2. “Fleet Tactics & Naval Operations, 3rd ed.” by: W. Hughes.
3.e.3. “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Dont” by: J. Collins.
3.e.4. “Humility is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age” by: E. Hess and K. Ludwig.
3.e.5. “LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media” by: P. W. Singer.
3.e.6. “A New Conception of War: John Boyd, the U.S. Marines, and Maneuver Warfare” by: I. T. Brown.
3.e.7. “Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power” by: R. Kaplan.
3.e.8. “One Hundred Days: The Memoirs of the Falklands Battle Group Commander” by: S. Woodward.
3.e.9. “Red Star Over the Pacific: China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy” by: T. Yoshihara.
3.e.10. “Thinking Fast & Slow” by: D. Kahneman.
3.e.11. “The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds” by: M. Lewis.

4. Incorporate the new CPRL into command and unit PME programs. Recommendations to the CPRP can be submitted to:

5. Semper Fidelis, David H. Berger, General, U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps.