SMA Weimer’s Reading List

SMA Weimer’s Reading List


“Legacy,” by James Kerr is about the principles behind the extraordinary success of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team. If you have ever wondered where the phrase, “sweep the shed,” came from, this is it and it should not be surprising to any leader just how important this mentality is to them. With humility at its core, the teams shared values serve as their north star and their relentless enforcement of these values has undoubtedly led to their success. Comparable to most sports teams, the platoon and company level NCOs are the senior players that many will go to for advice and counsel. Legacy shows us where the rubber meets the road to build a cohesive and high performing team.



Team of Teams

"Team of Teams" by General Stanley McChrystal offers his personal insights from his experiences leading the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq as he endeavored to shift the traditional model of Command and Control to meet an unconventional adversary. The concept of "Team of Teams" reinforces the need to break down information silos, foster a culture of shared information and decentralized decision-making, and move from traditional hierarchical structures to agile and interconnected teams. The book highlights the importance of empowering subordinates and leaders urging soldiers to take initiative and contribute ideas at all levels.  In a rapidly changing world, "Team of Teams" offers crucial lessons in agility and innovation guiding soldiers to a mindset of constant adaptation and learning. Overall, McChrystal's is a blueprint for a dynamic and collective approach to overcome contemporary warfare. As new generations of Soldiers continue to join the ranks of the Army, “Team of Teams” serves as a strategic compass for leaders and Soldiers to succeed in the ever-evolving landscape of the Army and excel in the complex problem solving which comes with it.



A Message to Garcia

"A Message to Garcia" by Elbert Hubbard provides insights into leadership and duty. Its message is timeless and remains relevant as a guide for Soldiers in all levels of the Army, emphasizing the importance of self-motivation, communication, and unwavering commitment to duty. It highlights the necessity of executing orders efficiently and under minimal supervision, reflecting the Army's need for disciplined and motivated soldiers in a high-optempo environment. The story reinforces the critical need of flat, fast, and accurate communication, demonstrating the need for soldiers to seek clarity when unsure and for leaders to ensure information flows seamlessly through the chain of command. Additionally, it highlights loyalty, dedication, adaptability, and resilience, indispensable qualities desirable in Soldiers. The Army values of loyalty, duty, and selfless service can be seen in Lieutenant Rowan's example. In conclusion, "A Message to Garcia" is a story Soldiers should embrace as the principles are timeless and will help foster a successful warfighting culture: leadership, initiative, communication, loyalty, adaptability, and resilience.



The Tipping Point

“The Tipping point: How little things can make a big difference,” by Malcom Gladwell, introduces a concept called the “tipping point,” the moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold and begins its sweep across a particular population. In this book Gladwell walks us through three principles necessary to reach this point. First, the Law of the Few. Here we learn about what types of people are in our formation and how crucial their roles are in the adoption of change. Second, the Stickiness Factor. Leaders, the content of what we are doing has to stick the landing with those we serve, our soldiers. We should not do something just to do it, we must ensure there is a moral and logical purpose within it. Third, the Power of Context. This principle reminds us that the conditions of the immediate environment, who and what, is directly responsible for influencing our soldiers’ behaviors.



The Talent Code

“The Talent Code,” by Daniel Coyle, teaches the fundamentals of developing skills effectively and presents a compelling argument that nurture can often be more reliant than nature. Don’t practice endlessly for the sake of repetition. Home in on the specific deficiencies that make huge impacts. We want our Soldiers to become lethal warriors, athletes, and scholars. “The Talent Code,” dives in the right amount of depth to better understand how skill development works at a practical and actionable level, the level where Non-commissioned Officers live and thrive at.



The Culture Code

In Daniel Coyle’s, “The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups,” we learn what it means to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and accomplish the mission from some of the best, kindergarteners. The necessity of purpose, feeling safe within the ranks, and the ability to put our egos aside, are all lesson’s learned from Coyle’s many applicable examples of how to sustain a high performing culture. Know why you are doing anything, feel comfortable saying anything to anyone, and remember that lifelong learners aren’t afraid to say “I don’t know,” because they want to find out. Consider this and “Culture Play Book,” also by Daniel Coyle, your “how-to” guides for building cohesive and effective teams.