Boyd – The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War

up:: Books





  • [status:: read]
  • [rating:: 5]
  • [added:: 2021-04-07]
  • [started:: 2023-10-19]
  • [read:: 2023-11-05]

Recommended by General Mattis in Call Sign Chaos – Learning to Lead.


This was really great read. It wasn’t a short book, but the author did so well at riding a thrilling biography. It also didn’t fall into the trap of presenting Boyd as a “Great Man” without any failures, but took nuance to the person. It was outraging to see the waste of the pentagon and the military defence complex. The ideas that were presented of Boy were also interesting Not always really relevant to me, but interesting nonetheless, and it’s always curious to get an insight into the military.

I really like the writing style. He kept you interested and was able to change the tone depending on what he was fighting about. It was good and, actually inspiring read.


  • A-10 “warthog” - ground support bomber built for durability
    • Designed by Sprey
  • The Mind of War - Book on Boyd’s ideas
  • Boyd was very likely involved in Operation Desert Storm
  • The Toyota management system has the same underlying ideas as “Patterns of Conflict”
    • Harmony, flow, the manipulation of time as a production tool
      • “Manipulation of time as a production tool” - there is something here related to Company of One. Time until response is a crucial metric. Smaland also kept us nimble and agile.
    • Related: Thriving on Chaos (influenced by Boyd’s ideas)
    • Lean Production == Maneuver conflict
  • Sun Tzu: the best commander is the one who wins while avoiding the battle
    • This is what Germany practiced in WW1 and then culminated in blitzkrieg in WW2. Instead of prolonged attrition battles, they found the weak points and pushed into them
    • Von Clausewitz, and the “Reformers”, were influential in that strategical shift after Prussia’s losses to Napoleon