I have recently realized it may be better to read some books over and over rather than try everything/anything that comes out. I am making a timeless list of the stuff you should read over and over.Any suggestions are welcome.
Fooled by Randomness probably better than Black Swan. I met a sell side analyst once that told me he re-reads that every year. I just moved by books to a pile in the basement in preparation for some remodeling or I’d probably have some good recs for you.
I don’t know, I read the art of war and thought it sucked. I’d go for the Marine corps Warfighting manual Chapter 1: Nature of War over that any day. It’s free and a very short and to the point, yet interesting read.
I’ve read the art of war, listened to it on audiobook a few times, and watched a documentary on it. I don’t get it. To me, it seemed like most of it is common sense and state of mind type things. When things go right, no matter what it is, there are things in the book that applied (if you ignore other parts). When things go wrong, you didn’t follow the principles (if you ignore the other parts that contradict those principles). Really wanted to like it.
Haven’t read drunkard’s walk it’s on my list as a good read, but pretty far down there just because I’ve read a good amount of the randomness type books already. I’d imagine they’re pretty similar but I’ve always enjoyed Taleb’s work.
Regarding The Art of War, and Thirty-Six Stratagems…
The underlying text is the Tao Te Ching, which you really need to understand first. There are some crappy translations of all this stuff, dumbed down to the Western mindset. Personally I just use the old Giles 1910 translation of Art of War, but I never thought it was a great book. If you want a practical Taoist manual to kicking people’s butts use Thirty-Six Stratagems. The usefulness of this stuff in the West, is that it’s not the Western mindset, and so people don’t really see it coming (I’ve tried this stuff in Asia, but people intuitively know what you are up to). Trumpism is running wild with this stuff, the libs just don’t get it.
Also, after a decade of mocking Taleb on here, I’m actually skimming thru his book Antifragile.
This is my issue with The Art of War. It’s simplistic and just stupid. People go around saying, “oh, it predicted x would lose because of y” but it’s basically a horoscope that can be applied retroactively to any scenario and is full of simplified platitudes.
Team A has better trained troops.
Team A is lighter and better at adapting.
Team B is fighting to defend its homeland.
Team B manages to occupy a stronger position.
Regardless of which team wins, The Art of War will say it predicted the outcome because either team could win (and the result could be totally random). You never hear a modern general talking about Sun Tzu but you’ll hear some D-Bag I whitie ibanker who wears a kimono around his flat go on and on to make himself seem edgy.
It’s like in chess, what Bobby Fischer called “prearrangement”. A lot of games are over before they start because someone has arranged themselves before hand, calculated various moves and outcomes (probabilities)…while some other dimwit has found themselves in a battle and THEN decided to try to win (good luck!). Sure, in an even battle it’s luck, but the whole point is not to find yourself in that situation (back to prearrangement).
It’s just not a very well understood book by the people in the West, who then go around talking about how they are ninjas (yes, lots of d-bags).
That’s basically it. I hear a lot of military people read it, and business types.
In case anyone’s interested in the marine corps recommended reading list looks like. Graded by rank. The art of war is on there, but its recommended reading for O1/O2 (lieutenants). The list goes well beyond that. For a book that I enjoyed, which took some of the lessons of the art of war, and other old time books that are more foundational (and ambiguous), I’d recommend War: Ends and Means, by angelo codevilla. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and it goes over examples from a lot of other prominent historical military thinkers.
You misunderstood my post. Worth re-reading probably. I clearly said AOW can attribute victory to either side given its weak and simplistic points that can often contradict from one side to the other. The “randomness” point was a side point applying only in some cases (not the majority), not central point.