"Monday Musings” are designed to get quick, insightful thoughts based around three questions from those interested in strategy, from the most experienced and lauded, to our newest thinkers/writers.
1 — Who had the greatest impact on you intellectually (whether through writing, mentorship, etc.)?
LTG H.R. McMaster. I wrote an article a few years ago on Third Generation Leadership that described his indirect influence on my intellectual development. When he was a Lieutenant Colonel, he invested a lot of time and energy in the development of his lieutenants. One of those lieutenants, Louis Netherland, became my first company commander, and he passed that passion for leader and self-development onto me. And since 2012, LTG McMaster has served as a direct catalyst for my intellectual growth. We worked together on the Maneuver Leader Self-Study Program while I was at Fort Benning, and that project fueled my passion to read, reflect, and write. I am still working through the reading list that came out of our weekly conversations on war and warfare.
2 — What book (fiction, history, or academic) do you think best explains strategy?
Hands down, Thucydides and the The Peloponnesian War. This book is the greatest-hits album of strategy: competition for power, war, deterrence, coercion, leadership, passion, unforeseen events, screw-ups, victories…Thucydides has it all. He reminds us strategy is a human problem, and since we have not changed much in the last few thousand years, if we want to better understand strategy we need to better understand people.
3 — What do you want your legacy to be?
I want my legacy to reflect a Third Generation Leadership mindset. I hope those in whom I have invested time through leader development at work, and those I have been able to reach through writing, are better equipped to lead and develop the next generation of military professionals.
Joe Byerly is an armor officer in the U.S. Army . He frequently writes about leadership and leader development on his blog, From the Green Notebook. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's alone and do not reflect those of the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
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