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Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War Hardcover – December, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
On the theory of war, on the original contributions of John Boyd, the book renders a huge service to all military professionals by dramatically expanding what can be known and understood about the Energy-Maneuverability Theory and the nuances of the OODA Loop (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act--for the real Tigers, Observe-od-Act--a faster loop). Two things stuck out, apart from the heroic manner in which Boyd pursued the intellectual side of combat aviation: first, Boyd consistently had his priorities right: people first, ideas second, hardware last--this is the opposite of the existing Pentagon priorities; and second, truth matters--the book has some extraordinary examples of how both the Air Force and the Army falsified numbers, with disastrous results, while also selecting numbers (e.g. choosing to list an aircraft's weight without fuel or missiles, rather than fully loaded, a distortion that will kill aviators later when the aircraft fails under stress).Read more ›
John Boyd was apparently an arrogant, stubborn, and brilliant man. I'm not sure I would want to work for him or with him, and I certainly would not want to be one of his children, but America needs more like him.
Boyd struck me as a real life version of The Fountainhead's Howard Roark. I found his example to be inspirational. The explanation of his "To be or to do" speech is worth reading the entire book, and in his life he personified the message of this speech.
Strictly speaking Colonel Boyd wanted "to do" something for America and the Air Force, and chose to make sacrifices, endured much abuse, and repeatedly jeopardized his career with that goal in mind. He purposely chose "to do" something, rather than "to be" somebody, which he defined as one who gives up his integrity to get ahead in the system. This insight is one that applies not only to the military but to any organization. It is the fundamental choice that everyone has to make, and hearing of his successes against the system has encouraged me to follow his example, if only in some small measure.
Everyone in business, the government, or the military should read this book.
In reality, as Corum points out in page after page, the culture does not hold those like Boyd as the epitome of honor and selfless service. Instead, he retired a colonel (despite an incredible contribution to Air Force Fighter aviation and the theories of the art of war) and his family in poverty. But Boyd's greatest achievement of riches came not in the form of tangibles known greedily as money and property, but in the intangibles he achieved, a devoted following-the "Acolytes"-from talented men who are the true defenders of the Constitution; and who in the pursuit of truth, attempt to force the military establishment to provide our servicemen the leaders, doctrine and equipment they need to do their mission. Boyd set the heroic example for others to emulate as they desire to call themselves professionals against the tide of dishonesty; against those who are the worse when they say they speak of truth, yet practice something mendacious in promoting themselves.
In light of the great popularity that the defense establishment now holds in the eyes of a novice and ignorant public, this book is a warning, maybe belatedly late one at that, given the timing of the war with Iraq.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best books I have ever read. Not much of a family man, but this guy had an incredible legacy he left for the military.Published 3 days ago by Jack
Eye opening on strategy and fascinating biography in one book.Published 20 days ago by Bjørn Einar Bjartnes
This is an outstanding book about an outstanding patriot, his ideas, integrity and quest for waging the good fight and winning! He chose to contribute rather than to profit. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Richard Cz
Good book on leadership outsode the box, eapecially when going against institutional grain.Published 1 month ago by Doug
As a former MM2 USN, Mekong Delta Viet Nam, retired SSG ARNG, I lack the high level experience of many of the individuals who have commented. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sam Eaton
As background I read a lot of non-fiction, but typically shy away from biographies as I find them of limited value. Read morePublished 1 month ago by VaughanR
Simply put, this biography should be required reading for any professional military member. The striking similarities to the modern forces, the systematic return to the errors of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by G2