"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.)?
I would have to say the famous martial artist and actor Bruce Lee. This may seem an odd answer for this forum; however Lee continually applied critical thinking to improve his own skills and his approach to training others. He was also a voracious reader; through his example I came to read books such as The Art of War by Sun Tzu and The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi.
2. What book (fiction, history, or academic) do you think best explains strategy?
It will not surprise those who know me that my first answer to this is On War by Carl von Clausewitz. It remains the exemplar on how to study strategy and war from a philosophical viewpoint. I also recommend The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien as an illumination of the practical application of strategy that highlights the benefits of the indirect approach, great power politics, and alliance fragility.
3. What do you want your legacy to be?
I want to leave all those with whom I make contact with a sense of the importance of intellectual debate and critical analysis of the decisions made regarding war. Military professionals and civilian policy makers have a responsibility to make ethical decisions when it involves the application of military force. I hope my work helps in developing an intellectual foundation for those decisions.
Mick Cook is an officer in the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery and hosts The Dead Prussian podcast. He is passionate about encouraging critical thought on war amongst military professionals and policy makers. He is the Director of Communications and Marketing for DEF Australia. Views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Australian Defence Force.
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