I love reading books. I especially love reading books that are specifically written to make me a better person. That was the goal Louise Rasmussen and Winston Sieck had when they wrote Save Your Ammo: Working Across Cultures for National Security.
The two doctors founded Global Cognition together where they strive to advance cultural competence in demanding environments through research, training, and assessment.
Basically, it’s two doctors that help other people understand different cultures.
Save Your Ammo is an introduction to what their work is and offers some explanation and concepts to help you in your own life. It takes the lessons and concepts that the United States military uses when doing their international missions and distills them into messages that anyone can digest. These can then be applied to almost any career pursuit.
One example of this is the idea that you should always try to understand other people’s perspectives. The scenario that Rasmussen and Sieck use for this is a general working on finding specific people in Al-Qaeda. The general and his team try to use aerial surveillance to pinpoint locations, but those that claimed they could find the Al-Qaeda members couldn’t find anything from an aerial perspective because they had never seen their hometown from that perspective. They could only pinpoint the street view. Then the general and his team could zoom out on the camera and find the coordinates to plan their missions.
Save Your Ammo is a quick read that gives me some mixed feelings.
It has some really good advice, and it gives great examples of how the same thing is important for national security as well as for getting along at the office.
What I don’t like about this book is the fact it was written.
I know that sounds a bit counterintuitive but hear me out. I think that a lot of this information is really good. I think a lot of it is useful. I think that most of it can be summed up by saying, “don’t be a douche.”
A lot of the information given in the book could easily be distilled to realizing that every person has a unique perspective on life. They will bring their own strengths and weaknesses to the table. Their experiences and knowledge will give a totally different view than what you have. If they have the same general background as you, then maybe you will think similarly, but still not the same.
If you simply take into account that everyone is an individual and you don’t bring any preconceived notions of people, then you don’t really need to read this book.
All in all, the book has good information that can be used. I guess I’m not dissing the book or the information in it. I’m just really mad that it does exist. It’s mildly depressing that people don’t think this way, to begin with. The fact there is a market for this book is what I don’t like. The information itself is really good and useful, but I don’t like that it is because I wish people thought that way, to begin with.
Good information and an interesting way to relate the intensity of national security to everyday jobs, but the info shouldn’t have to be taught.