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Old 02-17-2010   #10
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 3,682

Hi Mike,

Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
Another serious question to consider is "when in my career do I read certain books?"

This is a phenomena that is coming to fruition in the business world now- most undergrad students are highly recommended to go work for a couple of years before pursuing an MBA. The payoff of the advanced learning is much greater once someone has some experience under their belts. I think the same holds true for the military. To whit, as a cadet, Clausewitz and Sun Tzu were gibberish to me. As far as CT goes, to the experienced practisioner, academic, or the interested layman, I'd recommend anything by McCormick or Arquilla.
This is a really good point. One of my "complaints" with some of my colleagues is that they take an exclusionary version of this; the "Oh that's too hard for you to understand dear... Just read my book about it...". Mike, I'll make you a bet that even if Sun Tsu and Clausewitz were "gibberish" to you as a cadet, somewhere along the line you got hit with an "A ha!" experience and went "Damn! So THAT'S what he was talking about!!!". It may not make sense when you are reading it, but your brain stores it and, when a pattern gets matched, you already have an interpretive framework sitting in the back of your mind. "Evil", yeah, but useful, too .

I agree, the payoff in terms of time vs. actual "learning" is much greater after you have experience under your belt. Sometimes, however, that can backfire on you as well. For example, I've had some students who were in their 30's who got totally indignant over a reading not because they disagreed with it, but because they were truly mad that they had never seen it before! The "Why didn't anyone TELL me this?!?!" reaction.

Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
Marc, I imagine having you as a senior advisor is gruelling. Thanks. I'm sunk in deep depression over anything that I've ever written. Now, I know why your students drink so much . Damn anthropologists and their ubiquitous observations.
LOL - you wouldn't believe how much tea I drink with my students, either . Yeah, I can be gruelling as a senior advisor, mainly because I don't let my students get away with handing in Cole's Notes versions. The "drinking", and it's much more of a set up a safe space type thing which for many Canadians means a pub (drinking age in Ontario, BTW, is 19), is really all about encouraging people to play with ideas and not be afraid of doing that.
Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Senior Research Fellow,
The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
Carleton University
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