Thoughts on John Boyd

I finished the biography of John Boyd yesterday. A few random selections I noted as I read. Highly recommended. The book is slow in parts for someone like me without a military or aviation background, but at the end it all gets pulled together. Increasingly to me the sign of a good book is how many other books it leads to me read. There are three books discovered by reading this book arriving at the office tomorrow.

there are few true warriors

In any organization, there are the equivalent of the careerists and the warriors. I like to think an organization of all warriors would be ideal. I am coming to realize there is an inevitability and a certain necessity to the careerists. The organization is in trouble not so much because of the tolerance of the careerist but when it becomes intolerant of the warrior.

You gotta challenge all assumptions.
you need more accidents

I toured a small factory earlier this year and as the owner of the business lead us around we came upon the person in charge of quality control. She told us how they had gotten their defect rate down to near zero for the last year. I asked if she thought that number was too low. She was stunned. I told her it was great what she had done, but had she considered the cost to prevent the defects as compared to just throwing out the defective widgets. If Boyd can call for a few lives to be lost during training for the sake of saving even more lives during combat, we can certainly optimize our defect rates when only a few widgets, and dollars, are at stake.

far too proud to simply agree

Make sure you have those around you that are willing to follow you into esoteric and arcane areas of knowledge but are also far too proud to simply agree with everything you say.

the destructive side of creativity

The best knowledge is at the intersection of multiple domains. Physics, philosophy, economics, and military strategy.

whoever can handle the quickest rate of change is the one who survives
It is the only theoretical book on war that Boyd did not find fundamentally flawed.

Up next I finally catchup to Daryl and read The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Then into The Book of Five Rings and The Path of Aloneness by Miyamoto Musashi.