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29 May 2007

The pleasure and the burden of the reading stack

A holiday weekend (for some few lucky souls at least) and a bit of travel has scattered our small skunkworks even further to the wind, and has meant coordinating an answer to our colleagues’ requests for a glimpse at our reading list has taken longer than anticipated.

However, we can report a few titles that have been stacked on various nightstands and desks. As always, there is never enough time for the reading we wish to be doing versus the reading we find ourselves needing to get through. Thus will ever be the lot of the intelligence professional, we fear.

In fact, we feel there is little else so fundamental to the practice of the art and science than one’s choices in accumulating new information, the vast majority of which remains written (and likely will for some time to come, even if supplemented by graphical elements, simply due to the levels of information density in text versus other mediums.) But that is a debate for another day.

We are also not sure what value our current reading list has for our fellows – versus what we might choose to recommend or assign to a new analyst or student - but for what it’s worth….

Hizbullah: The Story from Within by Naim Qassem

Hezbollah: A Short History by Augustus Richard Norton

The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War by Thaddeus Holt

The Tao of Deception: Unorthodox Warfare in Historic and Modern China by Ralph D. Sawyer

The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future by Vali Nasr

The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World by General Sir Rupert Smith

Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth by John Garth

Terrorism Law: Cases, and Materials, Fourth Edition by Jeffrey F. Addicott

SOE: The Scientific Secrets by Fredric Boyce

Cyber Adversary Characterization: Auditing the Hacker Mind by Tom Parker, Marcus Sachs, Eric Shaw, Ed Stroz, Matthew G. Devost

Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization by John Robb

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A Short Course in the Secret War, 4th Edition by Christopher Felix

Plus the usual stack of periodicals that are routinely delivered, or that we haven’t quite gotten to – Economist, Defense Intelligence Journal, Intelligencer, Journal of International Affairs, Small Arms Review, and as always the latest issue of Studies…

Perhaps we can tag a few others with the meme, including Messrs. Tanji, Martin, and Former Spook. These gentlemen should likewise make for an interesting list to add to the extant offerings at Coming Anarchy (who it looks like started the viral idea for these posts), Soob, Hidden Unities, and Simulated Laughter.