Lawrence Freedman, “Strategy: A History” | Authors at Google

Strategy: A History is a sweeping, magisterial account of this elemental force in human history. Since the beginning of civilization, humans have devised multi-step plans to achieve greater ends, and as history progressed plans became ever more elaborate. Short-term tactics evolved into longer-term strategies. Sir Lawrence Freedman, one of the English speaking world’s leading authorities on war and international politics, has synthesized the vast history of strategy’s evolution in this consistently engaging and surprising account of how it came to pervade every aspect of life. Prior to the 20th century, the concept was restricted primarily to military matters, but over the course of time virtually every sector of society came to employ it. Today, we regularly apply the concept to not just military affairs and modern business culture, where it is most pervasive, but even to our intimate relationships.

Bio: Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King’s College London since 1982, and Vice-Principal since 2003. Elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995 and awarded the CBE in 1996, he was appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997. He was awarded the KCMG in 2003. In June 2009 he was appointed to serve as a member of the official inquiry into Britain and the 2003 Iraq War. Professor Freedman has written extensively on nuclear strategy and the cold war, as well as commentating regularly on contemporary security issues. His most recent book, A Choice of Enemies: America Confronts the Middle East, won the 2009 Lionel Gelber Prize and Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature.

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This talk was hosted by Boris Debic.

12 thoughts on “Lawrence Freedman, “Strategy: A History” | Authors at Google”

  1. good takedown on all those business strategy books, and on Sun Tzu, they
    appeal to the readers’ belief that they are smarter and more virtuous than
    their enemies, but, their enemies can read too, can buy and read the same

  2. Disappointed: He mentions the David&Goliath story as an example, but you
    just MUST hear what Malcolm Gladwell found out about how that really went –
    David was NOT the underdog, quite the opposite, it’s just that the story
    tellers of the winner of that battle made it appear such in order to make
    their win look very glorious (“against all odds”) when that wasn’t true at
    all. You find that Gladwell talk right here AtGoogleTalks, by the way.

  3. Another example he discusses at length is how in WWII Churchill decided to
    lean on the USA,. When Germany declared war on the US how he said “we have
    won at last” (or something like that). I guess for strategy overall it’s an
    okay example, but it wasn”t exactly cunning: The entry of the US in WWI
    had already shown what happens when that happens. Overall an okay talk, but
    I wouldn’t call it “groundbreaking”. I hate to be the negative guy, with my
    name out and all, but so sorry, it’s my opinion.

  4. I’ve watch tons of google talks to the point that I can recognize half the
    staff. Espicially the guy that introduces this one, he’s forever in

  5. coalition, endurance, empathy are all emotional attributes and thus
    stratergy ( logic ) is one half of the story !

  6. The will to survive & win will destroy all enemies’s strengths, tactics &
    strategies. The side with the stronger will prevails.

  7. A sweeping account of an elemental force in human history: strategy.
    #strategy #history

  8. There certainly have been decisive victories – Dien Bien Phu, Battle of
    Yorktown, the Battle of Quebec, Waterloo, the battle of Amiens, etc. The
    issue is these huge battle wins happen late, often or usually ending the
    war. Given opposing generals knowledge of decisive battles, they’re hard to
    engineer. Only after wars have played out, after attrition and
    circumstance, can a decisive victory happen. 

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