Strategy: A History

Strategy: A History - Lawrence Freedman, Michael Butler Murray The author quotes John von Neumann (a developer of game theory among many other things) in the beginning of the book to the effect that the Game of Chess doesn't require a strategy because there is an exact mathematically correct move for every situation but for most other areas a correct strategy is not determinable. This book covers all those different areas in an encyclopedic fashion.

The book is a long read, but who among us can't devote thirty hours or more to such an interesting topic. The book is thematically arranged by area (war, politics, social sciences, business, and so on). He'll talk about the different strategies and almost always shows that they work until they don't.

The book illustrates how dangerous it is to just have intuition with a good narrative when developing a strategy while ignoring the empirical and reality. Reality is complex. Most of the time narratives will only get you so far.

Overall a long read, but worth it. There is a central narrative in the book, but sometimes the author didn't understand how to tie his stories together coherently.