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Jocko Willink’s Handpicked 25 Books for Intellectual Warriors: Military/History/Resilience Part 2

Arm Yourself with Knowledge: Jocko Willink's Must-Reads for Intellectual Warriors

By NovelNest BooksPublished 11 months ago 6 min read

Source: Books Jocko recommended in his podcast — Jocko Podcast

In the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and personal growth, reading books plays a crucial role. For those seeking to cultivate a warrior mindset, Jocko Willink, a retired Navy SEAL officer and renowned leadership expert, has handpicked 25 exceptional books that delve into the realms of military history, resilience, and personal development. These books offer profound insights, valuable lessons, and inspiration to intellectual warriors looking to expand their understanding of war, leadership, and the human spirit. Let's explore this handpicked selection and discover the treasures they hold.

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1. "The Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader" by Jason Redman:

"The Trident" is an intimate and powerful memoir by Jason Redman, a decorated Navy SEAL leader. He shares his journey of overcoming severe injuries and rebuilding his life. Redman's story serves as a testament to resilience, determination, and the indomitable spirit of a warrior.

2. "Steel My Soldiers' Hearts: The Hopeless to Hardcore Transformation of U.S. Army, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry, Vietnam" by Col. David H. Hackworth:

Col. David H. Hackworth's gripping account takes readers to the heart of the Vietnam War, sharing his experiences and the transformation of his soldiers. "Steel My Soldiers' Hearts" offers valuable lessons in leadership, adaptability, and the true essence of a warrior.

3. "The Hundred Rules of War" by Tsukahara Bokuden:

In this classic martial arts manual, Tsukahara Bokuden imparts his wisdom on the art of war. "The Hundred Rules of War" provides insights into strategy, tactics, and the psychological aspects of combat. It serves as a timeless guide for warriors seeking to sharpen their skills.

4. "18 Platoon" by Jary:

"18 Platoon" provides a riveting account of soldiers in the Vietnam War, highlighting the bond between comrades and the challenges they faced. Jary's vivid storytelling captures the intensity of war and the resilience of the human spirit.

5. "Outlaw Platoon" by Sean Parnell:

Written by Sean Parnell, a former U.S. Army Ranger, "Outlaw Platoon" chronicles his experiences leading a platoon in Afghanistan. This firsthand account offers a gripping narrative of courage, sacrifice, and the bonds forged in the crucible of combat.

6. "Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief" by Jordan Peterson:

In "Maps of Meaning," renowned psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson explores the psychological and symbolic underpinnings of human behavior. Through an examination of myths, literature, and religious texts, Peterson delves into the depths of human consciousness, providing intellectual warriors with profound insights into the human psyche.

7. "The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II" by Iris Chang:

Iris Chang's groundbreaking work sheds light on one of the darkest chapters in history—the Nanking Massacre during World War II. "The Rape of Nanking" exposes the horrors of war, the resilience of survivors, and the importance of remembering and learning from such atrocities.

8. "True Believer (James Reece, Book 2)" by Jack Carr:

"True Believer" is a gripping novel by Jack Carr, a former Navy SEAL. In this sequel, protagonist James Reece embarks on a mission against a global conspiracy. Carr's intricate storytelling and deep understanding of military operations make this a thrilling read for intellectual warriors.

9. "The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond The Rape of Nanking" by Ying-Ying Chang:

Ying-Ying Chang, mother of the late author Iris Chang, shares her personal journey and reflects on her daughter's life in "The Woman Who Could Not Forget." This poignant memoir offers a unique perspective on the legacy of Iris Chang and the impact of her groundbreaking work.

10. "Man of War (An Eric Steele Novel)" by Sean Parnell:

Sean Parnell's "Man of War" introduces readers to Eric Steele, a covert operative on a mission to uncover a deadly conspiracy. Parnell's expertise and firsthand experience bring authenticity to the thrilling world of special operations and the complexities of modern warfare.

11. "Tough As They Come" by Travis Mills:

In "Tough As They Come," Travis Mills shares his inspiring story of survival and resilience after losing all four limbs in an IED explosion while serving in Afghanistan. Mills' indomitable spirit and unwavering determination serve as a testament to the power of the human will.

12. "Storm of Steel" by Ernst Jünger:

Ernst Jünger's "Storm of Steel" provides a visceral and unflinching account of his experiences as a German soldier during World War I. Jünger's poetic prose captures the brutal realities of war and the complexities of the human condition amidst chaos.

13. "Fortunate Son: The Healing of a Vietnam Vet" by Lewis B. Puller Jr.:

In this deeply personal memoir, Lewis B. Puller Jr. recounts his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the challenges of returning to civilian life after serving in Vietnam. "Fortunate Son" sheds light on the mental and emotional toll of war and the process of healing.

14. "The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11" by Anthony Summers:

"The Eleventh Day" offers a comprehensive account of the events leading up to and the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Anthony Summers meticulously examines the evidence and provides a thought-provoking analysis of this transformative moment in history.

15. "Unit 731 - Laboratory of the Devil: Auschwitz of the East" by Yan-jun Yang:

"Unit 731 - Laboratory of the Devil" uncovers the dark secrets of Japan's covert biological warfare unit during World War II. Yan-jun Yang's meticulous research exposes the atrocities committed and raises questions about accountability and the pursuit of justice.

16. "A Soldier's Journal" by James Bollich:

"A Soldier's Journal" offers a firsthand account of the realities and challenges faced by soldiers in the Vietnam War. James Bollich's poignant reflections provide an intimate glimpse into the daily life, camaraderie, and sacrifices of those who served.

17. "Excursion to Hell: Mount Longdon - A Universal Story of Battle" by Vincent Bramley:

Vincent Bramley's "Excursion to Hell" recounts the Battle of Mount Longdon during the Falklands War. Through personal narratives and vivid descriptions, Bramley captures the chaos, heroism, and human resilience amidst the horrors of combat.

18. "Battle Studies: Ancient and Modern Battle" by Ardant du Picq:

In "Battle Studies," Ardant du Picq, a French army officer, explores the psychology and dynamics of warfare. Drawing on historical examples and his own experiences, du Picq provides valuable insights into the nature of battle and the factors that shape its outcome.

19. "Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War" by Dakota Meyer:

Dakota Meyer's "Into the Fire" recounts his heroic actions during the Battle of Ganjigal in Afghanistan. This gripping memoir reveals the harrowing realities of combat and the selfless bravery displayed by Meyer and his fellow soldiers.

20. "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu:

"The Art of War" is a timeless classic that delves into the principles of strategy and tactics. Sun Tzu's ancient wisdom continues to be relevant, offering valuable insights into leadership, conflict resolution, and the art of achieving victory without engaging in unnecessary battles.

21. "Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters" by Dick Winters:

Dick Winters, a highly respected World War II veteran, shares his memoirs in "Beyond Band of Brothers." Winters' account offers an insider's perspective on leadership, courage, and the bonds forged in the crucible of war.

22. "Stalingrad: Memories of Hell" by Joachim Wieder:

"Stalingrad" presents firsthand accounts of the brutal Battle of Stalingrad during World War II. Joachim Wieder's collection of testimonies from soldiers on both sides of the conflict offers a harrowing glimpse into the horrors and triumphs of this pivotal engagement.

23. "Instructions for His Generals: Frederick the Great" by Frederick the Great:

Frederick the Great, a renowned military strategist and King of Prussia, imparts his wisdom in "Instructions for His Generals." This treatise provides insights into leadership, tactics, and the challenges of commanding an army.

24. "Hal Moore on Leadership: Winning when Outgunned and Outmanned" by Harold G. Moore:

In "Hal Moore on Leadership," General Harold G. Moore shares his experiences and lessons learned from his distinguished military career. Moore's insights into leadership, decision-making, and adapting to challenging circumstances make this book a valuable resource for aspiring leaders.

25. "Unflinching: The Making of a Canadian Sniper" by Jody Mitic:

Jody Mitic's "Unflinching" offers a gripping account of his journey from serving as a Canadian sniper in Afghanistan to overcoming life-changing injuries. Mitic's story of resilience, determination, and adapting to new circumstances inspires readers to confront challenges head-on.


Jocko Willink's handpicked collection of 25 books for intellectual warriors provides a diverse and profound exploration of military history, resilience, and personal development. From memoirs and historical accounts to psychological insights and leadership principles, each book offers unique perspectives and invaluable lessons. By immersing oneself in the pages of these books, intellectual warriors can gain a deeper understanding of war, leadership, and the indomitable human spirit. Let these books ignite your curiosity, challenge your perspectives, and empower you on your own journey of intellectual and personal growth.

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