New book: Habits of Highly Effective Maritime Strategists

Habits of Highly Effective Maritime Strategists argues that strategy is a habit. Or rather, it is a bundle of habits that strategic leaders, uniformed or civilian, should cultivate in order to excel at the profession of arms. The book investigates the writings of Aristotle, Seneca, and many more deep thinkers along with maritime and military history, biography, and canonical works of strategic theory. This highly original work will help readers think about their profession and design their own lifelong self-education–achieving excellence for themselves and their institutions on a scale that would make Aristotle proud.

Habits of Highly Effective Maritime Strategists appeared through the Naval Institute Press, a charter member of the Association of University Presses. It is a nominee for the U.K. Maritime Foundation’s Mountbatten Award for Best Book of 2022.

Advance praise from Bruce Stubbs, SES, Director of Navy Strategy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations:

“James Holmes has written a brilliant synthesis of the habits of heart, mind, and deed necessary from classical antiquity to the modern era to excel at strategy. It is a thoughtful and thought-provoking book that brings fresh perspective to the development of strategists. This important book is filled with insights and judgments to help the reader ponder his or her pathway as a strategist. It is essential reading.”

From former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work:

So, you want to be a maritime strategist when you grow up. How best to reach your noble goal? Start by reading James Holmes’ superb little volume entitled Habits of Highly Effective Maritime Strategists. Weaving history and stories about those who became successful strategists with a keen understanding of the science and art of naval warfare, this insightful book lists the habits one must adopt to succeed. Get to it!

From Admiral John Richardson, former Chief of Naval Operations:

“The great strategist President Eisenhower once said that ‘Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.’ Now we have one of our premier maritime strategists echoing that same theme. Strategies themselves are fluid and must adapt to accommodate the changing circumstances. But sound strategic practices and experiences are everything because they help leaders recognize the need to continuously challenge their assumptions and assess progress against their aims. Professor Holmes has given us a lot to think about in shaping sound strategic habits. Be careful . . . if you develop and follow these habits, you might find that you’ve become a strategist yourself!”

And from Brigadier General Bill Bowers, former President, U.S. Marine Corps University:

“I’ve been reading everything Dr. Jim Holmes writes since devouring Red Star over the Pacific, which provided us a much-needed wake-up call about China’s rising military challenge in the Pacific. Now with his Habits of Highly Effective Strategists, Dr. Holmes again answers the mail at a critical time. Our national leadership seeks, with increasing urgency, strategic thinkers and leaders who can quickly make sense of our dynamic strategic environment and develop executable plans and policies for success. Dr. Holmes’ emphasis on cultivating maritime strategic thinkers makes this book particularly relevant, timely, and useful.”