Recommended reading list.
Photo Caption & Credits


Jan. 21, 2022

Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman created the CSAF Professional Reading Program in 1996 to develop a common frame of reference among Airmen, including officers, the enlisted force, and civilians. Each Air Force Chief of Staff since then has enhanced and continued the reading program. Featuring books, podcasts, documentaries, movies, and more, this list is added to on a regular basis and can be found at

Message From the Chief

Welcome to the CSAF Leadership Library. This is a new way of looking at the traditional reading list—a fluid set of media that I have personally explored—that changes and evolves as novel ideas are published, recorded, and debated.

The Leadership Library will have periodic additions as I come across media and ideas I’d like to share to generate dialogue. My aim is that this Leadership Library sparks conversations for you with fellow Airmen, with your family, and with your friends.

Charles Q. Brown Jr.
General, USAF
Chief of Staff

All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard—Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy

by Phil Keith, Tom Clavin

A thought-provoking chronicle of the 20th century and a portrait of a man who came from nothing and by courage, determination, gumption, intelligence and luck forged a legendary life. 

Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times

by Donald T. Phillips

The first book to examine Abraham Lincoln’s diverse leadership abilities and how they can be applied to today’s complex world. 

Think Again

by Adam Grant

We don’t have to believe everything we think or internalize everything we feel. An invitation to let go of views that are no longer serving us well and prize mental flexibility, humility, and curiosity over foolish consistency.

The Long Game

by Rush Doshi

What does China want, does it have a grand strategy to achieve it, and what should the U.S. do about it? An analysis of China’s conduct, to provide a history of China’s grand strategy since the end of the Cold War.

A Short History of Russia: How the World’s Largest Country Invented Itself, from the Pagans to Putin

by Mark Galeotti

Russian history through two intertwined issues: influences from beyond its borders and how Russians came to terms with this influence, writing and rewriting their past to understand their present and future.

The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State

by Elizabeth C. Economy

A look at the transformative changes underway in China today. A wide-ranging exploration of Xi Jinping’s top political, economic, and foreign policy priorities. 

The Infinite Game

by Simon Sinek

Leaders who embrace an infinite mindset, in stark contrast, build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organizations. They have the resilience to thrive in an ever-changing world, while their competitors fall by the wayside.

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

by Caroline Criado Perez

Built on hundreds of studies in the U.S., the U.K., and around the world, this is a groundbreaking, unforgettable exposé that will change the way you look at the world.


Competition with China: Laying the Foundation

videos by A1C Anthony Clingerman

A series of videos that explore China’s interests at home and abroad and relationship with the United States, Asia, and international institutions in the area of strategic competition.


Red Tail Angels: The Story & Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen

Produced by Air Force Television Pentagon

A three-part documentary series on the formation, early years, contributions, and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. Featuring interviews with historians, pilots, and many of the Tuskegee Airmen.

The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life

A Netflix original series

Profiles of legendary coaches as they share the rules they live by to achieve success in sports and in life. 


The Final Flight

A Netflix original documentary series

Engineers, officials and the crew members’ families provide their perspective on the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and its aftermath.

The Social Dilemma

A Netflix video 


How social media is deliberately designed to nurture addiction, manipulate people and governments, and spread conspiracy theories. 


Cautionary Tales: How Britain Invented, Then Ignored, Blitzkrieg

by Tim Harford

It was not a German invention. In 1917 a brilliant English officer developed a revolutionary way to use the latest development in military technology—the tank. The British army squandered the idea, but two decades later later Hitler’s tanks thundered acrossEurope, achieving the kind of rapid victories that had been predicted back in 1917.

Choiceology: Knew it All Along

Host Katy Milkman shares stories of irrational decision-making—from historical blunders to the kinds of everyday errors that could affect your future. 

Message From the Chief Master Sergeant

It is no secret that we are at an inflection point in our Air Force. As Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, says, “Good enough today will fail tomorrow.”

We need leaders at all levels who can think strategically, and execute tactically. To that end, I’m bringing you a reading list that will flex and evolve as we build the Air Force we need to compete, deter, and win across all domains.

As a lifelong learner, I am constantly adding to my reading list—looking for new ideas that can challenge my assumptions and help me grow beyond my own limitations. As your 19th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, I am committed to sharing this information with you, in the hope that you will apply it and eventually grow beyond us all.

We are the best Air Force in the world because of our people. I encourage each of you to take up the mantle of a learning leader, who continues to challenge the status quo and take us to new heights.

I am honored to serve alongside you, and I look forward to seeing you all out in our Air Force.

JoAnne S. Bass
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

The Kill Chain:

Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare

by Christian Brose

America’s traditional sources of power are eroding amid the emergence of new technologies and the growing military threat posed by rivals such as China. America is at grave risk of losing a future war. 

The Heart-Led Leader: How Living and Leading from the Heart Will Change your Organization and Your Life

by Tommy Spaulding

Authentic leaders, Spaulding says, live and lead from the heart. To effect true transformational change, heart-led leaders draw on the qualities of humility, vulnerability, transparency, empathy and love. 

No Time For Spectators: The Lessons That Mattered Most From West Point To The West Wing

by Martin E. Dempsey

The limits of loyalty, the necessity of sensible skepticism, and the value of responsible rebelliousness, … why we actually should sweat the small stuff.

Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ 

by Daniel Goleman

Startling new insight into our “two minds”—the rational and the emotional—and how they together shape our destiny.

Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes

by Margaret Heffernan

How organizations can build ideal workplace cultures and create 

seismic shifts by making deceptively small changes.

Outliers: The Story of Success

by Malcolm Gladwell

An journey through the world of “outliers”—the best and the brightest, the most famous, and the most successful. What makes high-achievers different? Do we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and upbringing?

The New Rules of War

Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder

by Sean McFate

Some of the principles of warfare are ancient, others are new, but all will permanently shape war now and in the future. If we do not follow them, terrorists, rogue states, and others who do not fight conventionally will succeed—and rule the world.

Mindset: The New 

Psychology of Success

by Carol S. Dweck

People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. How great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment. 

LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media

by P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking

Two defense experts explore the collision of war, politics, and social media where the most important battles are only a click away. Through the weaponization of social media, the internet is changing war and politics, just as war and politics are changing the internet.

The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower

by Michael Pillsbury

One of the U.S. Government’s leading China experts reveals the hidden strategy fueling that country’s rise—and how Americans have been seduced into helping China overtake us as the world’s leading superpower.

Stillness Is the Key
by Ryan Holiday

This book draws on timeless Stoic and Buddhist philosophy to show why slowing down is the secret weapon for those charging ahead.


A Bit of Optimism

Podcast by Simon Sinek

So many politicians say our children are our future, so why do so few nations have a Cabinet-level position to represent their youth? Insights about fostering a nation’s youth, the power of listening, and how hope empowers.

Simple Life Habits

Podcast by Jonathan Milligan

Work Less. Do More. Live with Greater Focus. How to develop habits that will enrich your life, focus your mind, and make you more successful.

Kwik Brain

Podcast by Jim Kwik

The world’s top brain coach says knowing “your dominant question,” and gives lessons on how to expand your mind, find your inner genius, and unleash your mental superpowers.