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

Commandant’s 2018 Reading List

This year offers opportunities for every component to reinforce a culture of excellence and highlight the importance of leadership at all levels. I reflected on my own Leadership Philosophy and selected books to inspire and challenge you to help lead the Coast Guard through this world of accelerating change.

2017 reading list

2017 Commandant’s Reading List

This year’s reading list includes both books I selected and books that were shared with me throughout the year – from discussions with cadets at the Coast Guard Academy to sessions with my leadership team to meetings with key stakeholders. My hope is you will use these selections to remain dedicated to the mission today, while considering what it means to meet the mission into the future.

Commandant’s Reading List – Team of Teams

Team of Teams, authored by retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is an outstanding resource that examines the managerial style utilized by Joint Special Operations Command and follows the transformation from a rigid command structure to a cooperative team comprised of smaller specialized teams.


Commandant’s Reading List – World Order

At the start of the year, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft shared his reading list on All Hands. As part of a continued discussion on leadership, the Commandant has invited members from across the fleet to review the selections […]

Commandant’s Reading List – The Truth About Employee Engagement

Assuming the role as a Chief was a significant leadership step and I routinely reflected on my prior experiences searching for the traits of a good leader and Chief. As leaders, we always need to introspectively examine our leadership styles and traits. I found one common theme: when shipmates positively impacted each other’s lives, both members walked away feeling valued and engaged.

Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell transits Stephens Passage in southeast Alaska. U.S Coast Guard photo by Lt. James "Bobby" Miller.

Commandant’s Reading List – Highliners

When one reads or hears about the Alaskan fishing industry, thoughts go to the reality television programs that show the dangers on the high seas. Visually, the viewer may experience treacherous conditions, frigid waters and killer seas. That’s probably the only way they relate to this industry. William B. McCloskey, Jr. has presented another approach to experience the action, adventure and terror that Mother Nature can unleash at a moment’s notice.

Commandant’s Reading List Review – Unbroken

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, is an exemplary book about World War II which will immediately captivate the interest of any reader, history buff or not. This great generation of heroes is now passing on, and with them passes the wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience that comes only from true sacrifice.

Admiral Woodward commanded flagship HMS Hermes leaving for the war April 5, 1982.

Commandant’s Reading List – One Hundred Days: The Memoirs of the Falklands Battle Group Commander

One Hundred Days covers the British response to Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands on April 2,1982. Many in the Coast Guard today have only a vague recollection of these events as they occurred before their time, in another hemisphere and primarily involved other countries. Despite this, the book provides an absorbing look at a major world event that unfolded with U.S. support. And while the book provides an overview of Sandy Woodward’s rise through the Royal Navy from a young cadet to Admiral, the focus is very much on his role as the Commander Task Group for Operation Corporate in the south Atlantic. Adm. Woodward brings you along with him, demonstrating leadership throughout those one hundred days with excerpts and sketches from his diary.