Intelligence can mean many things.  It can be just raw intellect or it can be the methodical gathering of insights or it can be an accumulation of knowledge by an individual that results in a perspective that is unique to our world.

The books I read this quarter focused on clandestine intelligence, our universe and the laws of physics and the individual minds of Dr. Henry Kissinger and our past Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia.

Here is my summary.

The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a life in the CIA’s clandestine service by Henry A. Crumpton – this is a great book that discusses the work of our CIA and how intelligence is gathered.  Many of us have read The Art of War by Sun Tzu.  This is worth adding to your reading list.

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews – Jason is a 33-year veteran of the CIA.  His book, now a movie, is a highly interesting page-turner.  I put it in the Tom Clancy category for his combination of fiction and technical accuracy.  Will be reading his other books.

Agents of Innocence by David Ignatius – I was told that David Ignatius of The Washington Post is one of the best writers of fiction related to the Middle East.  The book is exceptional.  Will be reading all of his other books.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli – this is a brief book that explores quantum mechanics, black holes, gravity and more.  It is not a “simple” book to read, but it does help you think about our universe.  As an example, I had not really thought of black holes as a sort of Rosetta stone to uncover what has occurred before us.  Thought provoking.

World Order by Henry Kissinger – this is Dr. Kissinger’s book that, essentially, takes us for a tour of the world and his brain as it relates to how he sees our world evolving, how world order could be achieved (or not) and why it is just not that easy to achieve harmony anywhere in the world for a sustained period of time.  We humans sure are complicated.  No one better to give this guided tour.

Scalia Speaks by Christopher J. Scalia – Antonin’s son collected the speeches of his father and organized them into a flow that illustrates the thinking of this important US Supreme Court Justice over time.  I found it illuminating to understand his deep respect for the constitution.  Anytime we can understand the mindset of an important figure, it becomes so much easier to see how they think, why they view certain topics as sacrosanct and how we can better view those who are pro or con in the future.  The foreword from his dear friend, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, is a great touch.

This summer I am continuing on the “Intelligence” path.  Current read is the Leonardo da Vinci biography by Walter Isaacson followed by First In about how we entered Afghanistan after 9/11.

Thanks, as always, for sharing your ideas on what to read. Enjoy the summer!

Best, Bob