Articles and Videos Mentioned In “Left of Bang”

June 17, 2014 in Books and Resources

If you’ve read “Left of Bang,” you know that we mention articles and videos for readers to take a look at.  We do this because we couldn’t fit everything into the book that we wanted to, but didn’t want to keep the reader from the information either.

If you have read the book, test your knowledge in “Left of Bang Quiz” in the Academy.

Here are those articles.

Part One: The War Lab

Part 2: Everywhere We Go, There Will Be People

Part 3: Detail

Part 4: Taking Action

Part 5: Applications


“Left of Bang” is out

June 16, 2014 in Books and Resources

I couldn’t be happier or more excited to announce that “Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life” is available for purchase.  It’s been quite the ride.  We’ve gotten to work with legendary writer Steven Pressfield, we’ve been honored to have our book by read by some of the most influential and respected thought leaders in their fields and can at long last, offer it to you.

Here is what former CENTCOM Commander and the driving force behind the creation of the Combat Hunter, General Mattis had to say about it:

“In an age when America’s technological edge has eroded in military matters, Van Horne and Riley have written a compelling and detailed outline for continued American adaptation through improved tactical cunning.   Using timeless and proven techniques that can put American troops above and beyond enemy capabilities, the tactical awareness they outline is stripped of mystery and presented in a compelling manner.    Throughout history we have seen skilled warriors defeat enemies who are more numerous or less trained.   At a time when we must adapt to the changing character of conflict, this is a serious book on a serious issue that can give us the edge we need.”

– General James Mattis, USMC Retired

To learn more about the book and to purchase, visit –

If you have already read the book, test your knowledge in “Left of Bang Quiz” in the Academy.

A Review of “It’s Not All About Me” by Robin Dreeke

February 5, 2014 in Books and Resources

Robin Dreeke is currently the head of the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit, a former Marine Corps Officer and his book, “It’s Not All About Me” is one that I highly recommend.  The book outlines techniques to establish rapport with people and after years of using the techniques in the field to recruit sources for the FBI, he is absolutely an authority on the subject.

The first reason why I recommend “It’s Not All About Me” is because of the causes that drove Robin Dreeke to improve his understanding of human behavior.  He opens up the book by stating that he was not a natural when it came to considering the comfort of the people around him and that there were a series of events in his life that led him to become more aware.  This is something I look for in people that I want to learn from.  Dreeke had to put in a lot of time and effort into learning how establish rapport and in the process picked up on the subtleties and intricacies of rapport building.  This mindful effort allows him to pass these lessons on throughout his book.  Through the process of seeing what works and what doesn’t work while establishing rapport, he was able to continuously refine the techniques that he has made available to the world. Continue reading »

Book Review: “Thinking Fast And Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

January 4, 2014 in Books and Resources

I first heard of Daniel Kahneman a few years ago while listening to a presentation about the Marines Corps’ Small Unit Decision Making (SUDM) program.  One of the pillars of the program is something referred to as meta-cognition, or thinking about thinking.  I realized that I had a lot to learn about the science of decision-making so I began reading Thinking Fast and Slow for the first time. Recently, I picked the book up again while doing some research and ended up re-reading most of it. Thinking Fast and Slow has been added to our Recommended Reading List and is absolutely a book that I recommend you add to your personal library.  This is a crucial read for those who are looking to be true professionals in their field because of the depth that Kahneman goes to in his research on decision-making.

There are a few reasons why I recommend Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow.  The first is because of how clearly he explains how our brain processes information, which is described in the first part of the book titled Two Systems.  The human brain has two distinct modes of thinking when presented with information, System 1 and System 2.  System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control.  System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations.  The operations of System 2 are often associated with the subjective experiences of agency, choice and concentration.  For readers who have either come through one of our Tactical Analysis seminars or have read our articles about how the brain controls behavior, you will see similarities between how Kahenman presents the functions of the two systems and how we have talked about the roles of the limbic system and the pre-frontal cortex. Essentially, you can think of System 1 as having the same roles as the limbic system and System 2 as having the same roles as the pre-frontal cortex.  Why are there different classifications for the same brain functions?  There are two different ways you can view the processes that occur within the brain and the researchers that have identified these classifications can be divided into two different “camps.” Continue reading »

Book Review – Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

June 13, 2013 in Books and Resources

It’s been a while since I’ve put up a book review, but I just finished Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It! Why NOW Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion, and I really want to pass it on.  I first heard of Gary after he spoke at the Westchester Digital Summit that I attended last month. (His presentation at this conference is embedded below.) I was captivated by the energy that he has when he speaks and I immediately bought his book.  One caveat though, I didn’t actually read the book; instead I bought the audio version so that I could listen to it while commuting.  While I don’t usually recommend the audio version of a book, in this case I do since he is able to break off from what is written and provide additional insight and thoughts. I found this feature to be very beneficial, as it allows Vaynerchuk to provide updates to the content from when the book was originally written.

Crush It! is about what it takes to create your personal brand and how you can take advantage of the opportunities that the Continue reading »

From The Bottom Up – Profiling Like Sherlock Holmes

May 24, 2013 in Books and Resources

There are two ways that people become aware of a threat.  The first, which is referred to as top-down processing, is when a person intuitively realizes that there is something wrong and makes a decision without needing to observe the details and cues that caused them to make that realization.  The second method, the bottom-up approach, is certainly the more difficult of the two, as it requires that a person can recognize a series of subtle anomalies before making a decision.  To identify patterns of behavior through intense attention to detail, focus, and strong deductive reasoning, are inherently more challenging than when an anomaly presents itself right in front of us.  As the challenge becomes greater, so does the reward for making an accurate and correct prediction.  It is the reward for continuous study and learning the subtle  details of crimes or attacks that have occurred in the past. This is where we can recognize the patterns that the less aware would have missed.

That challenge is why I always enjoy reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about Sherlock Holmes when I need a break from reading anything scientific and am looking for something with a narrative.  Sherlock is the ultimate bottom-up processor as he sees the subtle cues in people, their clothing, their statements, and their behaviors, and then ties those indicators together to recognize patterns that no one else in the story can see.  He uses his deductive reasoning to identify Continue reading »

Rework – A Review

October 29, 2012 in Books and Resources

Whenever someone who is looking to start a business asks me if there was anything I recommend before they set out on their own, my response is quick and never changes – before you do anything else read Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

The reason is simple; Rework is not your standard business book.  Instead of getting bloated chapters of unproven theories and untested concepts, you’ll get a step-by-step guide to how 37signals questioned the status quo and created a smarter approach to growing a small business.  The chapters are short, to the point and written to make you question the reason behind everything your company is (or is not) doing.

Success today isn’t defined the same way that it was in the past and there will always be people resistant to change, but the success that 37signals has experienced speaks for itself.  They changed the way the game is played, they’ve reached an audience that most companies only dream of, and they tell you exactly how they did it.  Continue reading »

What Is A Professional?

September 30, 2012 in Books and Resources, Veterans, Business, and Security

In his recent book Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield listed the habits and qualities that the professional possesses that the amateur doesn’t:

  1. The professional shows up every day
  2. The professional stays on the job all day
  3. The professional is committed over the long haul
  4. For the professional, the stakes a high and real
  5. The professional is patient
  6. The professional seeks order
  7. The professional demystifies
  8. The professional acts in the face of fear Continue reading »

You Say More Than You Think by Janine Driver – Book Review

June 26, 2012 in Books and Resources

You Say More Than You Think by Janine Driver is a new addition to our reading list.  I picked it up after having it recommended to me and immediately saw the value that it can provide to the readers here looking to take their ability to observe body language to a higher level.

Janine Driver’s approach in this book is unique because her observation of body language isn’t completely focused on other people, but turns the lens around to focus on your use of nonverbal communication.  It is for this reason that it has become the top book under the Kinesics section for follow on reading.  Continue reading »

Book Review – “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

March 5, 2012 in Books and Resources

Imagine you are a Marine on patrol through a busy market place in Afghanistan, or a police officer chasing a criminal through the side streets in New York City.  The countless split second decisions you make in these situations can be the difference between making it through the experience with your life, or the life of an innocent civilian.  Was that a gun he was pulling out of his pocket or was it a black wallet?  Do you chase an insurgent blindly into an alley, or do you slow down and proceed more cautiously?  How you make that decision is the topic of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink.

Continue reading »

Book Review – Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman

February 14, 2012 in Books and Resources

Paul Ekman’s book, Emotions Revealed, is in the first five books to read because of Paul Ekman’s his impact on the field of behavioral analysis and the vast amount of information he encompasses in this book.  The book goes well beyond just reading facial expressions as Ekman also takes the time to talk about feelings, emotions, and moods, as they are what drive the expressions we can observe on a person’s face.

The final two thirds of the book are dedicated to the descriptions of the facial expressions associated with the seven universal emotions, and provide an extremely thorough description of what indicators may be present with each emotion.  Continue reading »

Book Review – Silent Messages by Albert Mehrabian

February 7, 2012 in Books and Resources

Once you’ve finished the first five books on the recommended reading list, Albert Mehrabian’s book, Silent Messages: Implicit Communication of Emotions and Attitudes, should be at the top of the list for those interested to learn more about Proxemics and how much information this domain can offer the profiler.

The reason this book gets such a strong “buy” recommendation from us is because of Mehrabian’s continuous drive to educate his readers.  Practical ways to apply the lessons he is teaching in everyday situations at the home and office are sprinkled throughout the entire book as well as an entire chapter dedicated to applying these concepts at the end.

The book is written from a Proxemics vantage point, and is mostly related to what we call the Proxemic Pull and Proxemic Push.  Continue reading »

Book Review – Nonverbal Communication In Human Interaction

December 11, 2011 in Books and Resources

Of the “Must Read” books listed on the recommended reading list, Nonverbal Communication in Human Interaction, 7th Edition, by Mark Knapp and Judith Hall is at the bottom for a reason, but not because it is a bad read or without great information.  It is there for the exact opposite reason; it is absolutely full of incredibly well researched content that directly applies to Combat Profiling.

It is at the bottom of the list because when you read it, we want you to have already read What Every Body Is Saying, we want you to have read Lie Spotting, we want you to be comfortable with the content here on the site and we want you to have already gone out in town and observed all 6 domains of Combat Profiling in unscripted scenarios before you read it.
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What Every Body Is Saying by Joe Navarro – Book Review

November 2, 2011 in Books and Resources

There is a reason that Joe Navarro’s book on body language, What Every Body Is Saying,  is at the top of our reading list.  It is as close to a one stop shop for Combat Profiling material that exists right now and should serve as the starting point for those that want to enhance their profiling ability.  Here is a breakdown on why:

His Approach

His approach to the book is straightforward.  He is honest in his guidance on body language development and thorough on the content.  It is an easy read and should you want to come back to the book to review a specific section or a specific area of the body, Continue reading »

The Warrior Ethos by Stephen Pressfield – Book Review

October 27, 2011 in Books and Resources

If you read The Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield and are not inspired, this book was not written for you in the first place.  This well written explanation of the mentality behind history’s greatest fighting cultures teaches about the warrior lifestyle and also urges the reader to embrace it.  However, for those out there that have answered the call and chosen a life of sacrifice in pursuit of a higher purpose, every page, every chapter, and every story offers motivation and understanding.
Continue reading »