The Red Teamer’s Bookshelf


I recently asked the RTJ team to recommend the influential books they think the well-informed red teamer should read. I intended to create a top-ten list, but with so many good suggestions, I decided to go with them all. I invite RTJ readers to comment, critique, and chime in. Do you agree or disagree? What are we missing?

So, without further introduction, here’s the list:

Allison and Zelikow (1971, 1999), Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (2nd Edition).

Ariely (2008), Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.

Cialdini (2006, revised edition), Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials).

Cohen and Gooch (1990, 2005), Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War.

Defense Science Board Task Force on the Role and Status of DoD Red Teaming Activities (2003), Final Report.

Dorner (1997), The Logic Of Failure: Recognizing And Avoiding Error In Complex Situations.

Fishbein and Treverton (2004), “Rethinking ‘Alternative Analysis’ to Address Transnational Threats,” Occasional Papers: Volume 3, Number 2, Sherman Kent Center.

Grabo (2004), Anticipating Surprise: Analysis for Strategic Warning.

Gladwell (2005), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.

Heuer (1999), Psychology of Intelligence Analysis.

Kam (1988), Surprise Attack: The Victim’s Perspective.

Klein (1999), Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions.

Klein (2002), The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut Feelings to Make Better Decisions at Work.

Luttwak (1968), Coup d’État: A Practical Handbook.

Luttwak (1987, 2002), Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace, Revised and Enlarged Edition.

Machiavelli (1532), The Prince.

Mitnick (2002), The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security.

Russell (1961), Wasp.

Sloan (1981), Simulating Terrorism.

Stoll (1990), The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage.

Sun Tzu (Sawyer translation, 1994), Sun Tzu: Art of War (History and Warfare).

The Honeynet Project (2004), Know Your Enemy: Learning about Security Threats (2nd Edition).

Weick and Sutcliffe (2001), Managing the Unexpected: Resilient Performance in an Age of Uncertainty.

Whaley (1969, 2007), Stratagem: Deception and Surprise in War (Artech House Information Warfare Library).

Wohlstetter (1962), Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision.

Young and Aitel (2003), The Hacker’s Handbook: The Strategy Behind Breaking into and Defending Networks.

Zsambok, Beach, and Klein (1992), A Literature Review of Analytical and Naturalistic Decision Making. San Diego: Naval Command, Control and Ocean Surveillance Center.


  • Try these:

    Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice by Col. C.E. Calwell.
    Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence.

  • For a research perspective: “Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment”, ed. T. Gilovich, D. Griffin and D. Kahneman (Cambridge 2002).

  • The Challenge for Africa; Wangri Maathai – Author
    ISBN: 978-0-307-37740-1 (0-307-37740-7)
    (Random House, Inc. 2009)

    Wangari Maathai illuminates the complex and dynamic nature of the continent, and offers “hardheaded hope” and “realistic options” for change and improvement. With clarity of expression, Maathai analyzes the most egregious “bottlenecks to development in Africa,” occurring at the international, national, and individual levels–cultural upheaval and enduring poverty among them–and deftly describes what Africans can and need to do for themselves, stressing all the while responsibility and accountability.


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