Even the United States military thinks reading for professional development is important. I recently discovered a plethora of official reading lists from all four branches of the U.S. armed forces, as well as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Coast Guard, and the Military Officers Association of America.
- Pentagon Library’s Military Reading List Guide
- U.S. Army Chief of Staff’s Professional Reading List
- U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program
- U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Reading List
- U.S. Marine Corps Commandant’s Professional Reading List
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Professional Reading List
- U.S. Coast Guard Reading List
- Military Officers Association of America Professional Reading List
- Defense Intelligence Agency Director’s Professional Reading List
As you might expect, the lists are heavy on military-themed books — especially war, history, and military operations — but they also include some with non-military appeal as well, including books on leadership, workplace politics, and change.
Military reading lists may at first seem to have little to do with those of us in non-military careers. But think about how much military metaphors permeate the language of our workplace: terms such as “rally the troops” and “guerrilla marketing,” for example. And Sun Tzu’s 6th Century military classic The Art of War is regularly included on lists of the best business books as well. Maybe military reading lists have crossover value in the civilian workplace after all.