2019 Coast Guard’s Professional Development Reading List

“As I visit Coast Guard units around the world, I am inspired by the passion and commitment of our Coast Guard women and men. To capitalize on that, this year we are transitioning from a Commandant’s Reading List to a Coast Guard Professional Development List with recommendations from across the workforce. This list offers a broad range of subject matter—from history to leadership to innovation—and represents the diverse ideas and perspectives that contribute to our greatest strength, our people. As shared in the Coast Guard Strategic Plan, professional development and continuous learning ensures we remain ready to confront our complex operating environment today and tomorrow.” -Adm. Karl Schultz, Commandant

No comments

Written by Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Karl Schultz


As I visit Coast Guard units around the world, I am inspired by the passion and commitment of our Coast Guard women and men. To capitalize on that, this year we are transitioning from a Commandant’s Reading List to a Coast Guard Professional Development List with recommendations from across the workforce. This list offers a broad range of subject matter—from history to leadership to innovation—and represents the diverse ideas and perspectives that contribute to our greatest strength, our people. As shared in the Coast Guard Strategic Plan, professional development and continuous learning ensures we remain ready to confront our complex operating environment today and tomorrow.

Free electronic access to many of these books can be found through the Navy Overdrive program.  To view this list and previous reading lists, visit: www.dcms.uscg.mil/leadership/reading-list

Multipliers by Liz Wiseman

From LCDR Macon:  “Liz Wiseman explores why some leaders (diminishers) drain capability and seem to lower productivity of their teams while other leaders (multipliers) seem to amplify and empower their teams to new levels of results and job satisfaction.  The examples and techniques that she uses to identify the five disciplines that effective leaders can cultivate are simple and effective tools that I have used and found great success with.”

Recommended by: Lt. Cmdr. Rhianna Macon, CG-OPM-2; Response Ashore Assignment Officer

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. The Hundred-Year Marathon is a wake-up call as we face the greatest national security challenge of the twenty-first century.

Recommended by: Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, Pacific Area Commander

Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet

David Marquet was a Naval Academy graduate selected for command of a submarine that was known for poor morale, poor performance, and the worst retention in the fleet.  Marquet was a submariner trained on a different class of sub, and quickly realized that his inexperience and his crew’s culture to do exactly what they were told was a potentially deadly combination.  This book looks at the need for leadership at every level and the powerful model of giving control to subordinates and creating leaders.

Recommended by: Lt. Jacob Urrutia, Ceremonial Honor Guard

Life 3.0; Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark

From RADM Thomas:  “Life 3.0 is a fascinating look at the impact of AI on our lives in the future told by a physicist that starts with the origins of intelligence itself and brings us to a world where AI exceeds human intelligence.  This may help spark conversation and innovation around the application of AI to CG missions.”

Recommended by: Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, Eighth District Commander

Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

From Mr. Cohoe:  “In Tribe of Mentors, each short chapter is composed of a subject’s responses to up to 11 of Ferriss’ questions. Each is filled with encouraging advice or recommendations. The subjects pick which questions they answer. I find reading 1-3 interviews a great way to get into a positive mindset before bed each night.  The book provides exposure to a wide variety of leaders & entrepreneurs, so readers are likely to find something that clicks.”

Recommended by: Mr. Dave Cohoe, Base Seattle

Into the Storm by Tristram Korten

From RADM Nadeau:  “We all know the tragic story of the EL FARO sinking and loss of the 33 women and men on board during hurricane Joaquin in 2015, which the Commandant stated was “a call to action for the entire maritime community.” The detailed report and insightful recommendations from the Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) sparked several initiatives to reform Coast Guard oversight or third parties entrusted to do work on our behalf, and improve commercial vessel safety standards.  The MINOUCHE was also lost during hurricane Joaquin, but was barely mentioned in the news because the crew made into liferafts and was rescued by the Coast Guard. This book contrasts the actions and decisions of the experienced captains on each of the two vessels, and provides important leadership lessons.”

Recommended by: Rear Adm. John Nadeau, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy

Making Yourself Indispensable:  The Power of Personal Accountability by Mark Samuel

Imagine waking up with enthusiasm every workday. Imagine being certain that you are highly valued by your boss and coworkers. Imagine feeling secure and in control because, even if jobs are being eliminated, you’re too valuable to let go. In other words, imagine being indispensable.  Sound too good to be true? Not according to Mark Samuel, who has helped thousands of people around the world get on the path to personal achievement and fulfillment. He shows why the key to becoming indispensable is to embrace accountability rather than run from it, in everything you do at work and in your personal life.

Recommended by: Chief Warrant Officer Chris Ramp, Sector Humboldt Bay

It Worked for Me:  In Life and Leadership by Colin Powell

From Adm. Ray:  “This is a tremendous book on leadership by one of my favorite American leaders of modern times.   This book provides practical lessons on leadership that are worth reading and re-reading by Coast Guard leaders at all levels.  The 13 rules are worth memorizing, or at least referring to regularly.”

Recommended by: Adm. Charles Ray,Vice Commandant

The Trident:  The Forging and Reforging of a Navy Seal Leader by Jason Redmon

Jason Redmon’s unvarnished reflection of his arrogant service as an enlisted Navy Seal who through the seaman to admiral program has several leadership teaching moments of self-reflection, family value, and overcoming short falls to triumph and thrive as a leader. His book reaches across a broad audience and captures the reader’s attention and keeps it from the first page top the last.

Recommended by: Senior Chief Machinery Technician Frank Tatu Jr., Sector Ohio Valley

Longitude:  The Story of the Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel

Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest by John Harrison to solve the “Longitude Problem” by building the perfect timekeeper; known as the Chronometer today.

Recommended by: Chief Boatswains Mate Brian Mottel, ANT Mobile

Grit by Angela Duckworth

Pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”  Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research, Angela explains why talent does not guarantee success.  She has found that grit—a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal—is the hallmark of high achievers in every domain.

Recommended by: Cmdr. Cynthia Kane, Deputy Chaplain of the Coast Guard

Misbehaving; The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard Thaler

We do not work for or with robots (yet).  Traditional economics, however, presupposes that we do work for robots (rational, logistical optimizers).  But that’s not true.   We work with humans – who are emotional, fragile and are prone to irrationality.  Why not capitalize on that?  Misbehaving explores the history of the emerging Behavioral Economics field and gives tips and lessons to help nudge humans towards better behavior.  We all want to be better leaders.  This book is, in fact, a manual to help make leadership easier.  And thus, better leaders.

Recommended by: Capt. Pete Melnick, Deputy, Personnel Service Center

Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Dr. Beverly Tatum

From RADM Kelly:  Dr. Tatum did a great job of telling the story of racism in this country.  She was fair and balanced, supported by facts and data, and I would offer the book is life changing.  I marked it up front to back.  Strongly recommend it as a must read if we are going to truly address the challenges in our broader Service.

Recommended by: Rear Adm. William Kelly, Assistant Commandant for Human Resources

Back Channel to Cuba:  The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana by William LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh.

This book challenges the conventional wisdom of perpetual conflict and aggression between the United States and Havana.  It chronicles the surprising, untold history of bilateral efforts to improve relations with Havana and covers efforts by every president dating back to Eisenhower.

Recommended by: Cmdr. Derek Cromwell, The Interdiction Committee

China: As a Polar Great Power by Anne-Marie Brady

“I recently met with Dr. Anne-Marie Brady and enjoyed hearing from one of the world’s foremost experts on China’s strategic interests in the Polar Regions. The book’s title is based on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping’s use of the term, when he said due to ‘profound changes in the international system and China’s unprecedented level of economic development…China would soon be joining the ranks of the polar great powers.’ I look forward to reading this book and further exploring China’s long-term strategy in a part of the world where the Coast Guard is America’s visible surface presence.”-ADM Schultz

If you are looking for an alternate medium to learn more about Dr. Brady’s work on China’s political influence around the world, including the Polar Regions, you can listen to a recent podcast with the Center for Strategic Studies (CSIS).

Recommended by: Adm. Karl Schultz, Commandant

Multi-Media Content

TED Talk: How Diversity Makes Teams More Innovative

Fostering diversity has many workplace benefits. Off the top of your head, you may think of increased creativity and employee satisfaction. But the perks get even better: Diverse organizations generate more innovation revenue, according to a recent survey by diversity researcher Rocío Lorenzo. In a thoughtful, eye-opening talk, she explains how her team’s survey data converted her into a diversity advocate.

Recommended by: Personnel Readiness Task Force

Podcast – They Had to Go Out

Talks Coast Guard specific daring, dangerous, and epic sea stories with veterans. Lessons learned are discussed throughout each

Recommended by: Chief Boatswains Mate Jason Skipper, Training Center Yorktown, Boat Forces & Cutter Operations

TED Talk: What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?

A talk about what motivates people at work – contrary to conventional wisdom, it is not money.  Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, shares the outcome of his experiments and how people react to work.

Recommended by: Command Master Chief Charlie Salls, Personnel Service Center

Blog: Lee Cockerell

This blog is an excellent resource for leadership, time management, and career advice. Lee Cockerell has a vast career of leadership experience ranging from managing hotels to being the Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World Resort. He has won multiple awards for leadership and management.  He shares his insight on how to effectively run a company while creating a positive workforce.

Recommended by: Chief Health Services Technician Michael Gray, Sector Humboldt Bay

Podcast – Madison vs. the Mob

Social Media is an undeniable part of many of our lives; providing connectivity, news, family connections and global awareness “at the speed of information.” However, “Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms have accelerated public discourse to warp speed, creating virtual versions of the mob. Inflammatory posts based on passion travel farther and faster than arguments based on reason.” This essay, especially in context to the series recommended here, is important for our leaders, particularly in the values-based organization we serve in, and the communities we live in.

Recommended by: Capt. Samson Stevens, Deputy, Sector Hampton  Roads

TEDx Talk: Compassion and Kinship

This TED Talk by a catholic priest will change the way you view the people around you. His message is about creating and fostering a community, and about getting the individual to realize that he is a valuable, treasured part of that community. This is about helping all individuals, regardless of past mistakes, find a better way. And this is about each of us remembering that we can transcend our stereotypes, long-held beliefs, and circumstances to create a better world.

Recommended by: Marine Science Technician 1st Class Justin Hoffer, Sector Charleston

Article – Who’s Got the Monkey

A good article about how the burdens of subordinates often end up on management’s back and how to restore subordinate ownership.

Recommended by: Coast Guard Cutter JAMES

Talks at Google: Principles: Life and Work

Rather than thinking, “I’m right.”  I started to ask myself, “How do I know I’m right?”

Recommended by: Mr. Charlie Coiro, Coast Guard Academy

TED Talk: The Puzzle of Motivation

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

Recommended by: Master Chief Jason Vanderhaden, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard

Leave a Reply