The Best Defense

One key to strategy: Hone your planning by considering what might lead to failure

One line that I've always hated is "Failure is not an option."

Rather, failure should always be considered carefully in strategic discussions. One question that needs to be asked is, "How could we lose this thing?" That helps sharpen the discussion and helps lead to distinctions between what is essential and what is merely important, as Eisenhower put it early in World War II.

I mention all this because Paul Kennedy mentions in The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery that early in the 7 Years' War (a.k.a. the French and Indian War), the British recognized early on that the only way they could totally lose was through a French invasion of England. So job one was to prevent that.  


The Best Defense

Signed copies of 'The Generals' available

Inspired by a request I got, I've decided to partner with Politics & Prose, a great local bookstore here in DC, to offer signed copies of The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today. The catch is that they are only available by the dozen. No onesies, twosies or such, and no special inscriptions, which just gets too damned complex. (But what better way to cover your Christmas list than with 12 signed copies of a fun narrative history?)

For $375, you can get a dozen signed copies, which includes shipping it to you. Just send the check and a good mailing address to me at:


Tom Ricks


1301 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Suite 403

Washington DC 20004