John Boyd (1927-1997) was a brilliant and blazingly eccentric person. He was a crackerjack jet fighter pilot, a visionary scholar and an innovative military strategist. Among other things, Boyd wrote the first manual on jet aerial combat, was primarily responsible for designing the F-15 and the F-16 jet fighters, was a leading voice in the post-Vietnam War military reform movement and shaped the smashingly successful U.S. military strategy in the Persian Gulf War. His writings and theories on military strategy remain influential today, particularly his concept of the "OODA (Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action) Loop," which all the military services-and many business strategists-use to this day. Boyd also was a brash, combative, iconoclastic man, not above insulting his superiors at the Pentagon (both military and civilian); he made enemies (and fiercely loyal acolytes) everywhere he went. His strange, mercurial personality did not mesh with a military career, making his 24 years in the Air Force (1951-1975) difficult professionally and causing serious emotional problems for Boyd's wife and children. Coram's worthy biography is deeply researched and detailed, down to describing the fine technical points of some of Boyd's theories. A Boyd advocate (he "contributed as much to fighter aviation as any man in the history of the Air Force," Coram notes), Coram does not shy away from Boyd's often self-defeating abrasiveness and the neglect and mistreatment of his long-suffering wife and children, and keeps the story of a unique life moving smoothly and engagingly.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The late Colonel John Boyd, United States Air Force, began his career as a supremely proficient fighter pilot in the Korean War, after which he went on to develop the concept of energy maneuvering that has been the basis for fighter tactics and designs for 30 years. He proceeded militantly to advocate simpler fighter designs and attracted a group of like-minded civilian and uniformed reformers, known as the Acolytes, who were mostly as unorthodox as he. After his retirement, he developed strategic concepts based on the velocity of attack, which, while they may not be as original as Coram claims, reminded the armed forces of velocity of attack at a time when they direly needed reminding. On the personal front, Boyd, the product of a dysfunctional family, generated another, which doesn't make pretty reading. The sheer mass of information Coram pumps out requires some military knowledge, if only not to be taken in by all of Coram's claims about Boyd, and such knowledgeable readers will most appreciate this study of an American military reformer. Roland Green
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Wow! Robert Coram is an AMAZING writer and researcher. Col Boyd's story should be a cautionary tale for all of the brown nosers who placate their own ego at the expense of results. Read morePublished 1 day ago by B. Lee
Excellent read. Boyd comes across as some kind of aviation genius - driven and focused. No idea if it's a fair reflection of the real man, but that's my impression after reading... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Kathleen Acosta Ekins
Really nice job covering the history of one of the USAF's unsung heroes. Also captures the story of the Air Force acquisition 'death spiral' of bigger, fast, higher, [heavier,... Read morePublished 8 days ago by John R. Fitzgerald
One of the great books I have read. I use the fighter pilot strategy every day in business. A must read!Published 11 days ago by CBGATOR
This is a book about one of America's greatest heroes, and you never knew he lived. Extremely well written and full of little known facts. Read morePublished 20 days ago by David McPherson
Long biography, touches about product design (strategic marketig), strategy, disgusting politics, history and search of knowledge. And a lot about miliyary airplanes too.Published 20 days ago by Rodrigo SEPULVEDA SCHULZ
Excellent book about a little known pilot who used thermodynamics to develop the science of flight and air combat.Published 24 days ago by Jessie Blake Clark
I stumbled upon the Boyd cycle when researching maneuver strategy for a book I'm writing. At first it was hard to imagine that an Air Force pilot could have written concepts that... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Jeffrey Phillips