Weekend Reading: 7/24/15

July 24, 2015 in Books and Resources

Here are some articles that we’ve been reading and wanted to pass along:

1. “Billy Beane on Making Better Decisions, Challenging Entrenched Thinking, and Avoiding Biases.” A great article from “Farnam Street” about the answers that Billy Bean gave during a conference this past April.

2. “Why You Can’t Buy A Car On Nissan.com.” An article from “Now I Know,” about how Uzi Nissan, the owner of Nissan Computer, was sued by Nissan Motors over a website domain name and why you can’t buy a car on nissan.com.

3. “Don’t Try To Fake The Language.”  Talking in clichés and choosing words that you wouldn’t normally use doesn’t make you look like an insider, it causes you to look fake.  This article from Brad Feld is about the need to just be you when speaking.

4. “CEO Shadow For A Day.” An article posted on Brad Feld’s site from Zach Rosen, the CEO at Pantheon about his experience shadowing another CEO.  The takeaways are easily applicable to any field and learning from peers outside of your organization.

5. “Moving to where the price is right.” Having relocated the company from New York City to Boulder last year, this article on Urban Land about why people are leaving large cities and moving to smaller medium-sized cities caught our attention.


Rebalancing From The Middle East to China: A Look At Guerrilla Warfare

July 21, 2015 in Books and Resources

Being a Global War on Terror era Marine, I recently came to realize that my understanding of Asian military history has been limited primarily to studying the Marine battles on the island-hopping campaign during World War II. As the Department of Defense continues to shift focus and “rebalance” their efforts on China and North Korea, I decided to re-read Mao Tse-Tung’s book, On Guerrilla Warfare. While I believe that a full-scale war with China in the future is still a long shot, there are three lessons that Marines and soldiers can take away from Tse-Tung’s work as they prepare for a potential deployment to or war in Asia sometime in the future.

1. The Role of the Guerrilla

In the first few chapters of On Guerrilla Warfare, Mao Tse-Tung drives home his view that guerrilla warfare exists to Continue reading »

Weekend Reading: 7/3/15

July 3, 2015 in Books and Resources

Here are some articles we read this week that we thought were valuable and wanted to pass on for your 4th of July weekend:

  1. This past May, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing released a report with their recommendations for police officers and departments to improve the level trust between the public and law enforcement while effectively reducing crime.  While their six pillars are discussed from a strategic perspective, they are concepts that we feel officers should be aware of.  You can find the report here.
  2. The Matheny Manifesto, an open letter from a baseball coach to the parents of his athletes, has garnered a bit of a following lately as it lays out not only his expectations for his 10 and 11 year old players, but also the parents.
  3. A research article from “Risk Analysis,” about the behaviors and judgements of terrorists in choosing their targets. While many sources discuss the target selection process as a perfectly rational process where only the target that provides the biggest payoff at the lowest cost is chosen, the authors show the role that emotion plays in this process and how satisfactory targets are chosen over the best available option.  You can download the article from the journal here.
  4. Here are 10 things that James Altucher learned from Richard Branson.  Leading off with the premise that “all successful people started off knowing nothing,” he shows why he is learning how Branson built his business.
  5. Looking to start a career in private security?  Here are some tips from Ed Hinman, the director of recruitment, selection and training at Gavin de Becker and Associates.


“Left of Bang” Turns One

June 29, 2015 in Books and Resources

This month marked the one-year anniversary of the release of our book, Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life Through the end of June, the book has received over 150 reviews across various distributors (Amazon, Amazon’s international sites, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and iTunes amongst others), and has garnered the attention of many organizations that we are humbled to now consider partners in our endeavor to eliminate all violent acts from occurring. My coauthor, Jason Riley, and I can’t thank those who have taken the time after reading the book to go online and leave overwhelmingly positive comments and ratings enough.

The book would absolutely not have been as big of a success without the great support of our publisher, Black Irish Books. Steven Pressfield, Shawn Coyne and Callie Oettinger helped us turn an extremely rough manuscript into a book that we can truly be proud of.

While Black Irish has helped us get the book out the door, we wanted to take a moment to thank those who have helped us raise public awareness for Left of Bang. Below is a list of all of the websites that willingly reviewed the book for us or were gracious enough to interview us.  We also acknowledge people like Jeff Chudwin, Randy Meyers, Linda Langarek, Lou Hayes and numerous others have helped to spread the word.

There are three people I’d like to specifically highlight for conducting interviews with us about Left of Bang. They have generated a great deal of interest and buzz in not only the book but also our Tactical Analysis courses here at The CP Journal.

Brett McKay from the Art of Manliness

Brett posted the podcast of our conversation in October of 2014 and used Left of Bang as a primary source for a great article that he wrote, titled, “How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne.” The combination of our podcast with Brett and his citing of Left of Bang in his article have caused the AoM to become the number one referring webpage to our site.

Scott Mann from The Stability Institute

There are few people who are more committed to supporting our nation’s military and ensuring our national security than Scott, which has made it a great honor to get to sit down with him for an interview about Left of Bang.

Chris Maloney from CauseEngine

I was lucky to sit down with Chris right as the book was coming out and get to explain the different sections of the book, why we felt the material was so important and talk about a number of issues that impact veterans. You can find the interview here.

We would also like to take a minute to recognize the writers and publications that took the time to review Left of Bang and let their readers and audiences know how to find a copy of the book. The people who have reviewed the book come from a wide variety of industries and fields and we couldn’t be more humbled to get to support their efforts to prevent violence. Here are the links to some of these reviews. We hope that you will visit the following sites to see the other great work that these writers post.

Ed Hinman from Gavin de Becker and Associates in a 2-part review

Tony Scotti at the International Security Driver’s Association and Vehicle Dynamics Institute

Fred Leland at LESC.net

The Force Science Journal

Protective Concepts

Uri from RedTeams.net

Chris Pendas at Staying Safe Self Defense

Jeff Mount from Krav Maga Maryland

Chris Kelley

Leanne from Grace For Elle

William Lind from The Traditional Right

The original goal of Left of Bang was to ensure that we could assist those who continue to volunteer, serve and willingly go into harms way. When we released the book, we gave away more than 10,000 copies to different military units across all of the branches as well as police departments around the country to show our support to their mission. To those of you defending our freedoms at home and abroad, thank you. While we hope that Left of Bang helps each of you get further and further left of bang, if there is anything we can ever do to better support you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or comments.

For those of you who haven’t yet read Left of Bang and are looking to pick up a copy for yourself or for a loved one, there are a few ways to order:

Black Irish Books




Weekend Reading: 6/26/15

June 26, 2015 in Books and Resources

Here are some articles we read this week that you might find interesting:

  1. So You Want To Be A PLA Expert?” An article from War On The Rocks with recommended reading to become an expert on China’s military.
  2. The Tension Created By Stretch Goals.” An article from Farnam Street about the impact that unattainable goals has on an organization, especially within sales team.
  3. Just Plane Awesome.” An article from Now I Know about how Southwest Airlines lost a copyright battle in an arm wrestling competition without a single lawyer involved.
  4. “Searching For Happiness.” An article from the Virtus Group about the role that repeated exposure to the negative situations faced by police officers plays on long term happiness.
  5. How To Impress An Interviewer.” A Medium article about how to demonstrate you are proactive and self-aware.

Weekend Reading: 6/19/2015

June 19, 2015 in Books and Resources

Here’s some links to what we’ve been reading this week:

  1. Here are some thoughts on Strategy that can help you evaluate, craft and realize when your strategy is really good or really bad.
  2. “7 Things Sales People Do to Make Prospects Dislike Them” – The topic of ‘feel’ comes up a lot in the work that we do.  Here are some things to consider while prospecting.
  3. “Playing Startup” – Here is what VC Lee Hower has observed about the companies that were founded because it was something cool and those that are trying to change the world.
  4.  “Bringing Depression Out of the Shadows in Startups”- Here’s a Q&A from Brad Feld that may resonate with many of our nation’s protectors.


Book Review: “Changing the Conversation: The 17 Principles of Conflict Resolution” by Dana Caspersen

May 21, 2015 in Books and Resources

Whether you are a warfighter, a private security professional, or work in law enforcement, your mission at its most distilled level is conflict resolution. How specifically you resolve conflict on a daily basis may be dictated by the uniform you wear, the environment in which you operate, and the tools you have at your disposal, but, in the end, your ultimate goal is stopping problems before they get out of hand. Dana Caspersen’s book, Changing the Conversation: The 17 Principles of Conflict Resolution, gives readers simple, easy-to-understand guidance on how to do just that. While Caspersen’s book is geared more towards personal conflict resolution and diverting arguments, the principles espoused in Changing the Conversation can be adapted by anyone interested in preventing, rather than recovering from, the effects of conflicts.

The foundational tenant of Caspersen’s book states that, “You can’t change how other people act in a conflict, and often you can’t change your situation. But you can change what you do.” By making this statement at the very beginning of the book, Caspersen puts the onus of conflict resolution on, and therefore gives control of the potentially uncontrollable situation to, the reader. Once the reader learns that, by stepping “away from cycles of attack and counterattack” that we are all drawn into during highly charged situations, the reader can then guide the discussion, argument, or situation in question toward a peaceful, or at least favorable, resolution.

Caspersen’s overarching philosophy is about changing Continue reading »

Weekend Reads – 3/14/15

March 14, 2015 in Books and Resources

Here are 5 weekend reads that we wanted to pass on:

  1. Choose Yourself!” – The kindle edition is only 99 cents and if you want one or want to give a copy to someone who can’t afford it, James will send you a copy for free.  Worth it either way.
  2. Finding Your Passion” – A story from Fred Wilson that comes full circle.
  3. Act Like a Leader Before You Are One” – Advice for those with career path on the mind.
  4. The Art of Stillness” – Something to serve as reminder that faster isn’t always better.
  5. Bridge Group 2015 SaaS Inside Sales Survey Report” – Intended mostly for our friends running sales desks in Finance to get a glimpse at inside sales teams in another sector.
Have a great weekend.

How I Break Down A Video

March 11, 2015 in Books and Resources

This video analysis is part of our recently released training center content.


Video Transcript

*** The following is a transcription of a video that was done by Speechpad.  We recommend that you watch the video, but if you prefer to read a transcription, please understand the difficulty in transcribing an unscripted presentation and ignore any grammatical errors that are unavoidable during such a transcription.

After I shoot a video that I’m going to use on either the journal’s practice pages for  Continue reading »

Weekend Reading: 2/13/15

February 13, 2015 in Books and Resources

Here is what we’re reading and felt was worth passing on to you for some weekend reading.

From Patrick

From Jonathan

In Review and In Practice: “How To Argue” by Jonathan Herring

January 25, 2015 in Books and Resources

I’ve been waiting to post a review for Jonathan Herring’s book, How To Argue: Powerfully, Persuasively and Positively, for a few weeks now. I wanted to not only provide you with a recommendation to buy it, but since the content is so valuable, I also wanted to provide an example showing how I have applied the lessons learned from the book in my life. I would absolutely recommend that you add this title to your bookshelf, as it is rare that you read a book that completely reframes the way you think about something that you probably do every single day. That is exactly what this book did for me. Herring takes the ability to influence through debate and breaks it down into its component parts. The number of times that I have found myself referring back to his “10 Golden Rules of Argument” in everyday conversation has been well beyond any expectations that I had before reading the book.

One of the biggest reasons why I recommend this book is because of Herring’s perspective on arguing and influence. It isn’t about “experts” screaming at each other on a cable news network or politicians avoiding the issue in a debate before an election. Herring doesn’t expect you to ever walk away from an argument and have the other person say, “Ah, now I see how right you are and how wrong I was.” While that would be great for the ego, it isn’t realistic and it isn’t the goal. As the philosopher Karl Popper has stated, “The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.” Success is moving the person you are talking with along a path to better understand your point of view.

To help you form better arguments, Herring crafted the “10 Golden Rules of Argument.” These rules look at debate from a variety of perspectives and take into account the attitude of the person you are trying to influence while considering your own preparation for the conversation as well. The rules are:

  1. Be Prepared: Before starting an argument think carefully about what it is you are arguing about and what it is you want to accomplish in the argument.
  2. When to argue, when to walk away: What specific conditions you are looking for before deciding to enter into or avoid a debate.
  3. What you say and how you say it: How to present an argument and who has to overcome the burden of proof.
  4. Listen and listen again: Knowing what the other person’s view and perspective are is the only way you can argue successfully.
  5. Excel at responding to arguments: How to counter someone else’s argument effectively.
  6. Watch out for crafty tricks: What tricks someone else might use against you to cause you to back down or undermine your argument.
  7. Develop the skills for arguing in public: In this chapter, Herring lists the things you should consider when you are debating with people in public settings.
  8. Be able to argue in writing: Taking debate from conversation into the written word.
  9. Be great at resolving deadlock: How to overcome the inevitable friction that will present itself and cause arguments to stall.
  10. Maintain relationships: What you need to consider before arguing with someone you will have an ongoing relationship with after the debate is over.

Each of these rules is the subject of its own chapter in Herring’s book. Within each chapter are numerous examples, topics, and applications that fall underneath the highlighted rule. While on the surface, some of the rules seem obvious; the level of detail that Herring goes into is extremely in depth.

The reason I waited a few weeks before posting this review is because I wanted to provide a concrete and real example to show the depth of Herring’s content. I wanted to wait for an opportunity where I could pull from his “Golden Rule #5 – How To Respond To Arguments,” since this chapter left such an impact on me. A couple of weeks ago, a website posted a very positive review of Left of Bang, which elicited a very negative comment from a poster who I will refer to as “Anonymous” since he didn’t leave his real name in his comment. Here is the comment from “Anonymous” referencing my co-author, Jason Riley, and myself:

“This is the influence on the Marine Corps of Obama and Clinton. Marines are created to kill people and break things. We should not be using our military as we have for the last few years. These officers are the type who do not understand that one drop of an Americans blood is worth more than the crap holes we have sent our Marines into. When it is time to turn loose the Marines everyone but the Marines should run or hide or die! Chesty Puller would spit on these officers, the rear echelon M****F****’s stay in the rear for a reason.

I do believe in situational awareness, but when the Marines attack there should only be targets, keep them off the streets of cities unless we are going to take that city. This is the type of PC crap that has gotten people wasted, use our armed forces for war and to protect this country.

If you have not learned combat situational awareness by the time you graduate from boot camp you will not live long in combat.”

The following breakdown is how we could use the lessons taught in Herring’s book to plan a response to the above comment. I learned from Herring’s book that there are two Continue reading »

Interview with Scott Mann from the Stability Institute

September 22, 2014 in Books and Resources

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Scott Mann, the Founder of the Stability Institute, to talk about my book, “Left of Bang.” I got introduced to Scott through Steven Pressfield, who is on the Institute’s Board of Advisors, and had the opportunity to teach with him during a recent academic week delivered to members from Special Operations Command. Since learning about the group and their mission, I have been absolutely blown away by the work that they are doing. As a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel, Scott was (and still is) involved in the strategic implementation of Village Stability Operations (VSO) in Afghanistan and has transitioned that experience into connecting the wide range of professionals dealing with complex stability issues around the globe. I recommend that you take a look at the video interviews he has posted on their site of which I am humbled to now be a part of.


“Startup Communities” by Brad Feld – A Review

June 17, 2014 in Books and Resources

Brad Feld’s book, Startup Communities: Building An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City, surprised me.  This wasn’t because of the content in the pages, as I’ve been a long time reader of his blog and a consistent fan, but because I don’t think that deploying members of the military are reading his book.  Yet they absolutely should be.  Here is a book that isn’t on any military counterinsurgency (COIN) reading lists and might be a little off the beaten path of “pre-deployment reading,” but I recommend that military professionals looking to better understand how insurgencies operate read it before they deploy.  You can buy it on Amazon here.

I know that some members of the military will look at a book written about how Brad Feld’s “Boulder Thesis” can be used to create a startup community and wonder how that is going to prepare them to fight an insurgency overseas.  But before you do that, I’d encourage you to look at the book from a different perspective.  Using General Mattis’ Small Unit Leader’s Guide to Counterinsurgency as an example, one of the military’s primary goals is to mobilize the public in support of their cause.  This community not only furthers our mission, but also makes it difficult for the insurgent to build and operate in a community that opposes ours.  In order to keep this article from becoming too long, I’ll use one concept from Feld’s book to show how it can impact the difference between successful and unsuccessful counter-insurgency campaigns.

The Concept

One element of a startup community that Feld discusses in the book is the need for clearly defined roles for the different participants.  He divides everyone involved in the community into two groups: leaders and feeders.  As the names implies, leaders are those who should be tirelessly engaged in growing the group, setting the example for the rest of the community and they must be involved for the long-term in order to keep the group moving forward.  In an entrepreneurial community, the leaders have to be entrepreneurs themselves.  The second group, Feeders, encompass everyone other than the leaders.  Their role is to use whatever assets they have – access to government funding, academic programs, investment dollars, subject matter expertise, etc. – and support the group in whatever way they can.  The distinction between Leaders and Feeders, as Feld explains, is crucial to the long-term success of a community.

In chapter 6 of Startup Communities, Feld talks about the danger that exists to a community when a feeder tries to assume a leadership role.  He explains why communities fail when a government appointee for economic development, an academic institution or a venture capitalist tries to be the face and the leader of the group, even if they have the best of intentions.  Feeders will always struggle to get a sustainable community started because they rarely have experience as an entrepreneur, are focused on short-term gains that can be used in the next election cycle and are balancing the responsibilities of the community with a wealth of other initiatives that require their attention.  The concept of leaders and feeders, and their associated roles, can likewise be considered when planning to deploy as part of a COIN campaign.  Continue reading »