The second half of this book was very strong, the first couple of chapters didn’t offer much apart from military stories (not for me), and an introduction to scientific management’s rise, fall, and lasting influence on management theory and business structure through the 20th century.
Nothing in the book was new information, but, like all good synthesis works, it pulled together existing theory and practice, and packaged the existing information into a consumable, well-written package.
Underlying the entire book was a discussion of the struggle between US forces and Al-Qaeda in Iraq, in the early days of the Iraq war. At one point early in the book, McChrystal assigns the blame for the decline of Iraq from “medium development” according to the UN into a “living hell” to AQI. Not mentioned in the discussion is that, perhaps, the invasion of Iraq by the United States might have been the root cause of the devastation of Iraq and opened the space for AQI to rise into the power vacuum created by our invasion.
The book is a business book first, and that’s how I read it and evaluated it, but it is worth keeping in mind that the lessons the book draws from are lessons learned in a war zone, by an occupying army in a war that shouldn’t have been fought in the first place.