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The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  84 ratings  ·  7 reviews
The ideas of US Air Force Colonel John Boyd have transformed American military policy and practice. A first-rate fighter pilot and a self-taught scholar, he wrote the first manual on jet aerial combat; spearheaded the design of both of the Air Force's premier fighters, the F-15 and the F-16; and shaped the tactics that saved lives during the Vietnam War and the strategies ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published August 17th 2004 by Smithsonian Books (first published 2001)
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Mike Hankins
This is mostly a hagiography of John Boyd, a pilot who developed "Energy Maneuverability Theory" as a way of measuring fighter plane effectiveness. He is more famous for the creation of his OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) which was first developed for air-to-air combat, but has since been adapted to all sorts of activities and become popular in the business world. Boyd also became one of the forces behind the design of the F-15 Eagle, which he felt was a bad translation of his ideas. Hi ...more
Rich
A very detailed biography of a vastly misunderstood man. Where Coram's description is mostly of the man himself, rather than his ideas; Hammond spends most of his time digging into Boyd's ideas. Boyd was an extremely flawed husband, father, and yes even officer. But despite his lumps he was a morally courageous officer and brilliant thinker.

Where Coram only gives you a basic overview of his theories (of which his minor theory is the oft-quoted mostly misunderstood OODA loop), but really this is
...more
Ryan Holiday
John Boyd is one of the most underappreciated military thinkers in history. Of the last half-century, it's probably also fair to say that he was one of the only strategic thinkers of any position of power in the United States.

When it comes to this book, there are two problems. 1) Boyd didn't do himself justice. He hardly wrote anything down, he shunned attention and was highly combative. 2) Hammond hardly does Boyd justice either. This book is dry, dull and uninspired.

I'm sure the first problem
...more
Dave
Worth reading alongside of complimentary book by Coram (also on Boyd). A tough subject to research and lay out in terms of the impact of this military genius whose impact was felt initially at Fighter Weapons School before moving to develop breakthrough process of describing air combat and aircraft capability (Energy Maneuverability) after which he could have still been credited with a singular achievement with far reaching impact without peer, but he then implemented it into influencing design ...more
Josh
Very disappointing. I am a Boyd enthusiast and have read several books about him ("Boyd", "Science, Strategy and War: The Strategic Theory of John Boyd", "Pentagon Wars", "Pentagon Paradox", and most of his papers), but I have tried to read this book twice and haven't been able to make it through. Instead of outlining Boyd's life and his contributions and demonstrating that he is a modern Sun Tzu, he simply states that he is a modern Sun Tzu and then quotes other people saying he is a modern Sun ...more
Kurt
This guy fought the military bureaucracy to create better training systems for pilots and better strategic thinking. The beginning of the book is mostly history (US, military, and John Boyd). Looking forward to more about what he did...
Suz
Excellent.
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