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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hands down one of the best books on strategy
I'm a former Marine who studied FMFM-1 "Warfighting" back in the early 1990's during my service in the Infantry. It is one of the best books out there on strategy and is directly applicable to the business world.

One thing I'd like to point out is this book (like most non-confidential documents published by the US Govt) is freely available on the Internet...
Published on July 8, 2005 by Rich J

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting or looking for. The ...
Not what I was expecting or looking for. The reviews did not live up to expectations. Look elsewhere for detailed advice on the particulars of argument.
Published 7 months ago by RobsterMobster


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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hands down one of the best books on strategy, July 8, 2005
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This review is from: Warfighting (Paperback)
I'm a former Marine who studied FMFM-1 "Warfighting" back in the early 1990's during my service in the Infantry. It is one of the best books out there on strategy and is directly applicable to the business world.

One thing I'd like to point out is this book (like most non-confidential documents published by the US Govt) is freely available on the Internet. Search under FMFM-1 (the first edition) or MCDP-1 (the 1997 re-write) on Google for the PDFs. This printed version does have a small introduction by F. Lee Bailey and a few other famous people who are also Marines.

Also, unlike a previous reviewer, don't discount the philosophy of Sun Tzu. "Warfighting" is a derivative of Clausewitz and Tzu. By reading these older philosophies you will become a better strategic thinker -- in all ways of life, not just war or business.

Semper Fi.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Key Classic for All, August 21, 2000
This review is from: Warfighting (Paperback)
A veritable classic book about discipline, teamwork and leadership. Clear, concise and to the point, the book boldly explains the code of conduct and moral quality of a Marine. Whether you are in the military, a business person, project manager or a mother of three, this book will help you achieve your goals without toiling more than necessary. No recipes, just attitude. The message delivered, if taken as a how-to-book, empowers the reader to plan, fearlessly expect the unexpected and, finally, "get things done". It views man (here meaning the "human being") as the most valuable element and views "mistakes or imperfections" as virtues when properly harnessed. It is a book of strategy and one that will point out the value of each and every one of us. Not a book to be read once, but to be cherished and re-read many times and to be passed on to generations to come.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Pamphlet, But Not a Manual, November 19, 2006
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Unmoved Mover (Anywhere & Everywhere) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Warfighting (Paperback)
Warfighting was written for the Marine unfamiliar with maneuver warfare to pick up, flip through, memorize the axioms, and apply in battle. As such, like most other field manuals issued to soldiers, it is a distillation of a large swath of ideas from Sun Tzu to Liddell-Hart. That said, it packs a good punch for such a small work. If, however, you're looking for a more detailed illustration of the principles outlined here, you might take a look at B.H. Liddell-Hart's "Strategy" as well as Thomas Cleary's translation of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War."

Additionally, those westerners who enjoy axioms focusing on the flux of life, war, or what have you might also like to take a look at Heraclitus' "Fragments." The basic tenets of Taoism that permeate Sun Tzu (and, by proxy, "Warfighting") can be equally well found in Heraclitus. His primary "thesis" if you will, "nothing is stationary, life is flux," is the axiom upon which maneuver warfare strategy is founded.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought processes for victory, December 11, 2003
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This review is from: Warfighting (Paperback)
This is not a how to manual; it isn't even a doctrine guideline. Instead it is a philosophy book. This book lays out simple, fundamental and critical facts about any conflict situation. The value of flexibility, of planning, of taking advantage of opportunities and maintaining the initiative are layout in a quick and easy read.
These truths are valid for the warfighting philosophy of the Marine Corp just as they are for meetings, debates, or presentations or critical reviews. The value of acting on a good plan quickly instead of waiting for the perfect plan later rang especially true. How many times are businesses caught flatfooted by competitors not because they didn't see the trend coming but because they were frozen by indecision?
I highly recommend this book to anybody who is curious about attack, defense, feint, and parry in any situation. The best defense is said to be a good offense, but perhaps the best offense is simply understanding and acting according to the simple principles in Warfighting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manual for Victory, November 18, 2001
This review is from: Warfighting (Paperback)
While speaking from a military perspective, this book is essentially a manual for victory in campaigns of all kinds, whether military, commercial, or political. The core philosophy of "ruthless opportunism" is supported through a diligent exposition of the nature, theory, training, and conduct of war. Gray's approach is unremittingly demanding in every dimension of human capacity, and nothing less could be the price of triumph.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the Art of War, June 2, 2005
This review is from: Warfighting (Paperback)
I don't know how many books there are on strategy, but there must be thousands. There are books that will tell you the latest fad in business strategy and strategic planning. There are textbooks on strategy written for students in graduate management programs.

There are innumerable memoirs, and books purporting to connect military strategy to business strategy. There are books about strategy that are actually historical studies of one kind or another. There are great philosophical tomes like Von Clausewitz's masterpiece On War. But there are very few books that are short, well written, and filled with enough wisdom that you keep going back to them. Two of those books are Sun Tzu's classic The Art of War and Warfighting: The U. S. Marine Corps Book of Strategy.

Both are very short. Both are packed with wisdom that you can apply in a variety of situations. Of the two, though, I'd pick Warfighting as the book you "must have" if you're going to make sense of strategy.

Warfighting is the contents of FMF-1, the manual of U. S. Marine Corps doctrine which is distributed to all Marine officers. Rumor has it that it was personally penned by General Al Gray, the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps and a significant figure in Marine Corps history.

Unlike most commandants since the early 20th Century, Gray enlisted in the Marines and rose to the rank of Sergeant before being commissioned in 1952. He was commandant from 1987 to 1991. The first thing he changed was how the commandant dressed.

Most commandants, before and since, wore the Marine dress uniform as their working attire. Gray wore utilities, the working attire of the vast majority of Marines. He drank from a canteen cup emblazoned with four stars.

He not only changed the way the commandant looked, he changed what was expected of Marines. He started by creating a required reading list for both commissioned and non-commissioned officers, the only such list in any of the services.

He made changes in Marine leadership training, increasing the emphasis on training in how to think, not what to do. And he created the doctrine of the Marines that you will read in this book. Whether he actually put down the words or not, this is his book and it's excellent.

Warfighting is extremely well written and develops in a logical progression, yet it's still a book that you can dip into for a nugget of wisdom here and there. You can also read it through in a single sitting.

Warfighting is a book that's easy to adapt, whether you're studying ancient military campaigns in a class in history or thinking about business strategy. It's also a book written by a modern Westerner and, therefore it has a more straightforward and less elliptical style than the Sun Tzu classic.

Both books are good. I have both. I use them with clients. I find that my clients spend time puzzling over Sun Tzu, trying to tease meaning from the translation of a text written in a different language, hundreds of years ago. When they read Warfighting, they spend their time adapting what they've read to their business situations.

The best recommendation I can give you on this book is to tell you that I usually have several copies around. I keep them to give to clients and friends because what they read in Warfighting helps them do a better job of creating strategies for their businesses.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Classic of Military Strategy, August 5, 2000
This review is from: Warfighting (Paperback)
Although there have been far too many books of the military/business leadership genre - usually with such silly titles as "Leadership Secrets of Ghengis Khan" or somesuch nonesense, this is a wonderful exception in quality. In a brief 100 pages or so, the author lays out the basis for fast, flexible, and focused modern Marine Corps military doctrine. Well worth a read - and a re-read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant, Simple and Profound, April 17, 2007
This review is from: Warfighting (Paperback)
This is the best book that I've ever read regarding military doctrine-- it elegantly sums up the most relevant points of Clausewitz and Boyd's OODA Loop to come to sound military principle in less than 100 pages. It also includes a number of references to the Eastern military philosophy (think Art of War and the Book of Five Rings, both required reading for the Japanese businessman) and ties them to our Western military philosophy quite elegantly.

If you aren't familiar with Clausewitz then I'd recommend picking up On Strategy by Summers; Warfighting will not give you all of the elements necessary to understand concepts like Friction.

This book travels with me wherever I go-- it is relevant to business and even personal development and is more than worth the price being charged for it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sun Tzu and Clausewitz distilled for the MTV generation, October 14, 2005
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This review is from: Warfighting (Paperback)
Great book that takes elements of traditional knowledge about war making (Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, etc) and combines it with the know-how of war as gathered by the United States Marine Corps in the modern era.

Stacking this book up against the likes of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz, it is probably better than both when it comes to a straightforward, contemporary appreciation of the elements of war.

As other reviewers have observed, there is a tendency for people to get mired in the meaning of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz is probably too complex and heavy-going for most readers.

This book is short, to the point, but has great value. I also like the language and style of the book. Great stuff.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Realistic Look at Success, November 3, 2001
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ajm1205 (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Warfighting (Paperback)
Warfighting was written with the intent of informing Marine Officers about the Commandant's vision of what Marines should think about combat. This manual is about more than just conducting military operations; it sets forth the framework for success in all endeavors. Completely lacking in detail, this manual puts forth ideas that encourages the reader to fill in the details themselves. Whether you are fighting a war of mobility or planning an upgrade for your company's IT infrastructure, Warfighting suggests the mindset that you should have to create success. If you are looking for a step-by-step tutorial on success, please buy a book written by a consultant. Warfighting is meant for people who value adaptability, creativity, personal initiative, and the ability to improvise to overcome obstacles as they present themselves, not people who fear uncertainty.
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Warfighting
Warfighting by U. S. Marine Corps Staff (Paperback - May 1, 1995)
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