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Red Team: How to Succeed By Thinking Like the Enemy Hardcover – November 3, 2015

4.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

War on the Rocks
"An excellent book.... There are few business or government officials who could not derive some insights from the wide breadth of examples Zenko exploits so effectively."

Soundview Executive Book Summaries
“A gripping, deeply informed overview of red teaming…Red Team is filled with harrowing stories of red-team failures but also successes in the domains of both national security and the private sector, where companies, for example, red team against hackers. These stories reinforce the crucially important strategies (e.g., red teams should inform, not decide) and best practices (e.g., red teams should be semi-independent but sensitive to the constraints of the organization) proposed by Zenko to help the world avoid another catastrophe such as 9/11.”

Small Wars Journal
“You will… come away with a comprehensive understanding of what a Red Team is and how best to use one…. For anyone interested in using a Red Team, developing one for their organization or have been tasked to participate on a Red Team this book is a must read.”

Lockboxx Blog
“An enlightening and warming book to read, as it codified many of the theories and beliefs red teamers have but have never put into any formal canon…. an enjoyable and educational book, both from the perspective of a professional penetration tester and the perspective of a CEO…Micah's six best red team practices are pretty spot on…”

Booklist
“An excellent book.”

Kirkus
“Zenko explains, in absorbing detail, the value of red teams, groups formed to act as devil’s advocates…Zenko offers readers much to consider and an effective way to take action.”

Washington Post, Book Party blog
“Zenko offers a compelling argument for forcing ourselves to think differently, which is ultimately the main purpose of a red team. Even if we won’t know exactly what to expect, we might be better equipped to respond when the unexpected strikes.”

Red Team Journal
“[An] important book… The time, intellectual effort, and monies allocated to the project were well spent, for the work is likely to become a significant milestone for the discipline. Red teaming is now poised to be widely introduced to mainstream American business and current affairs readership… an impressive accomplishment. It has allowed for a glimpse of the entire red teaming universe to be provided to the reader in one work. As a reviewer, and someone who knows something about this discipline, I admittedly found myself learning quite a bit about red teaming applications with which I have not been associated in the past. What Dr. Peter Perla’s book The Art of Wargaming did 25 years ago to help mainstream an understanding of military wargaming, we can only hope Dr. Zenko’s new work will now do for the red teaming community.”

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and deputy commanding general for future at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
“[Zenko's] valuable analysis and advice will be of particular interest to executives, and anyone charged with strategic planning.”

Carlos Lozada, editor of The Washington Post Book Party blog
“The most depressingly timely book on terrorism I read this year.”

Jami Miscik, former Deputy Director for Intelligence, CIA
“In today’s complex world, decision makers need smart, sophisticated, and insightful options. Red Team shows policymakers and CEOs alike that the way to make the best use of your organizational talent is to break down your organization.”

James Fallows, Correspondent for the Atlantic
"Everyone has heard the clichés about ‘playing devil’s advocate’ or ‘avoiding groupthink.’ Red Team is an impressively clear, convincing, and practical-minded study of how organizations can put in-house contrarians to the most valuable use."

Moises Naim, Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Endowment, author of The End of Power
“Complacency, groupthink, inertia, tunnel vision. These are the most common after-the-fact explanations of big failures in politics, government, war, and business. In these pages Micah Zenko offers a lucid analysis backed by many fun-to-read examples of common mistakes as well as a useful compendium of best practices. Red Team is must-read for decision makers everywhere.”

Mark Mateski, Director of the Watermark Institute and Vice President, Red Teaming and Strategic Analysis
“This is the book the red teaming community has long required to grow and reach a new generation of red teamers. It captures the domain’s founding experiences and stories, previously available only anecdotally to a small network of insiders. By writing this book, Micah Zenko has done a great service to both the current and future red teaming community.”

About the Author

Micah Zenko is a Senior Fellow in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations. He lives in New York.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (November 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465048943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465048946
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William Struse TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 19, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I realize that I’ll never be that four star general Red Teaming the possible choices a major world power might make when it realizes it has lost the race to singularity and its nuclear arsenal no longer provides the strategic projection of force it once did, nor will I be the CEO of a multinational internet sale behemoth Red Teaming Europe’s demographic chances into a comprehensive future cooperate sales strategy, nevertheless I did enjoy Micah Zenko’s new book Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy.

Despite the subtitle of the book How To Succeed By Thinking Like The Enemy, Mr. Zenko explains how Red Teaming is essentially, focused alternative analysis directed towards a real world problem so that it may be more clearly understood and then solved with the best possible outcome.

In reading this book an aspect of the subject which really stood out to me was that no matter your position of authority or social status, humility and critical thinking often go hand in hand, and that pride and its companion arrogance are often rewarded by a special kind of blindness.

Red Team offered many historical examples of effective and ineffective red teaming exercises and the lessons to be learned from both. The history enthusiast and those who follow the evolution of military/corporate thought and strategy are sure to find the book especially enlightening.

Though clearly Mr. Zenko is a proponent of Red Teaming and its many beneficial outcomes, he also acknowledged the weaknesses and limits of the endeavor. In an effort to address the weaknesses and increase the effectiveness of the concept Mr. Zenko provides six guiding principles for Red Teaming. There are as follows:

1. The Boss Must Buy In
2.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
A great book ! The author offers a comprehensive perspective on an important outside the box thinking process: Red Teaming, playing the other side. Zenko touches on the religious (!) sources of the process (devil’s advocate was truly, it turns out, the devils’ advocate), before moving on to its military, government, and business history and application. This is a must read to any manager – in business, NGOs, or government - who faces important decisions. At least as presented in the book through numerous effective anecdotes, I am convinced now that red teaming is crucial in scrutinizing and challenging everything in the organization including its vision and operations. I also liked the modesty of the argument. Zenko is compelling in selling the idea, but also realistic in what it can or cannot achieve. In short: Go buy!! but only after you conducted a small devil’s advocate process…
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Format: Kindle Edition
Micah Zenko's Red Team is a terrific read. It tackles the critically important topic of how organizations can avoid the pitfalls of groupthink by inviting out-of-the-box thinkers to probe for vulnerabilities. It is full of on-the-ground, first-hand accounts and case studies from the NYPD to Wall Street and fascinating historical tidbits, such as the origins of the phrase "devil's advocate." If you want a taste, check out his appearance on Morning Joe. https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=micah%20zenko%20morning%20joe
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
don't know if "I loved it" is a correct rating, but found it to be an excellent read, detailed and reminded me of a college text book. This author really knew his stuff and covered the analytical analysis "think outside the box" needed for many of our current challenges and how to anticipate and respond to them. I purchased another copy and sent it to a friend in the military, an Army Major (Ranger).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fascinating read if you work in the security world, are interested in military history, or just curious to learn about red teaming. Many of the organizational shortcomings the Zenko writes about will be familiar to anybody who works in a mid-size or large organization. Worth the purchase.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While the idea of a "red team" to test the assumptions, plans, designs, et.al. of important defense systems in an important and valid concept, I found the book boring. We probably do not spent enough time trying to think like our enemies or adversaries, but the book doesn't give us enough real-life stories to make us advocates for a revolution in our planning.
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Format: Hardcover
Micah Zenko captures perfectly and eloquently the enormous value of red teams. The best practices Zenko describes are far cheaper and far more effective than any amount of after-the-fact recrimination and retribution. If you're a strategist or decision-maker, you need this book. If you're a citizen, you want this book so you can know how your government can get things better... and might even be getting things right.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was perhaps one of the best reviews of red teaming that I have ever read. I've already recommended it to a number of people before I even finished reading it.
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