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Ranger Reading List


HedgeMage

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There aren't many qualities common to all rangers.  As a matter of fact, I can only think of one: the drive to constantly be improving at something.  This thread is an attempt to collect a list of books, web-based references, and other learning materials about any topic of rangerly interest.  There are just three rules:

 

1) Please include enough information (e.g. Title+author, Title+ISBN, a link) for another person to both locate the item, and be confident that what they found is the version referred to in this thread.

 

2) Please provide a description of what the resource covers, its intended audience, and what you think it is good/bad for.

 

3) Please don't repeat a previous mention, unless you have additions in terms of suggested uses or description (or you disagree with the description and would like to provide another point of view).

 

Have at it!  I'll post a few of mine soon.

 

EDIT: There's also a Ranger Goodreads group.  However, I'm continuing to maintain this thread as 1) the GR group requires separate registration and 2) the GR interface isn't very helpful for including non-book resources such as blogs and web pages.

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"What's the goal here?  What's the lesson here?  What's the best use of my time right now?" <-- Rory Miller's "three sacred questions"

"Lacking in humility?  Don't worry, the bar will give you some." <-- Me.

 

HedgeMage, Orc Ranger

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HedgeMage's Ranger Reads

 

Anything written by Rory Miller

 

Rory is one of my favorite minds in martial arts and beyond.  I just love how this guy thinks.  He's made me re-evaluate things I've done and things I'm doing, explore new areas, and most importantly provided the impetus to double-down and take my training seriously even when I was afloat with no clear reason to need to do what I am driven to do.  Below are some of my favorites of the resources he's got out:

 

Meditations On Violence is probably Rory's best-known work.  It's a treatise on the disconnects between typical martial arts practice and real violence, but it offers a lot more.  This book talks about ways to narrow that gap, mental models for how to think about violence and training for it, and more.  Perhaps my favorite part is an anecdote he shares about how he thought he'd never been in a knife fight because none of the things he'd done quite looked like an archetypal knife fight.  It made me re-evaluate how I'd been underselling my own experience for years, and made me re-think what I do and don't know, and trust my own experience more.

 

Chiron Training is Rory's blog, full of great free content and insight.

 

Scaling Force is a book on training for, making, and articulating use-of-force decisions.

 

Talking Them Through (ebook only, but available on all the major ebook stores) is an amazing work on crisis communication -- that is, the art of talking down people in crisis or who have psychological problems when things are bad or about to turn bad.

 

Drills: Training For Sudden Violence (also ebook only) is a great catalog of drills, and also contains information on the principles behind various types of drills, their weaknesses, and things to think about when designing training programs.

 

Chiron Training Manual is a "blank book" in that there's a lot there for you to fill in.  However, the format is great for teaching new students how to think about and get the most out of their training sessions (martial arts or otherwise) and life lessons.  There are exercises and mental models there that will make even the most senior students think.  Highly recommended...as a matter of fact, it will be required for all my new adult students in the future.

 

I haven't yet read Conflict Communication, but it's on my to-read list.  It's based off of an awesome training that Rory does about how conflict plays out from a communication standpoint, what escalates it, what diffuses it, what deters it, and much more.

 

I'll admit to not having finished Facing Violence, as I wasn't the target audience, but what I read was very well done.  This provides guidance for someone who doesn't have nontrivial real-world experiences of violence, or didn't grow up with it and then had a traumatic one, and needs to adapt and possibly study martial arts effectively.

 

More Crisis Communication

 

In Stalling For Time, Gary Noesner details his life as one of the generative forces of the FBI's Crisis Negotiation Team.  This book contains amazing insight about the dynamics between CNT negotiators and more traditional, force-focused operatives in the FBI over time, the mechanics and emotional ups and downs of crisis negotiation, and so much more.

 

More Training Manuals

 

Solo Training, by Loren W. Christenson, is a great manual of conditioning drills that will benefit your martial arts practice even when you have no uke available, regardless of your martial art.

 

Tactical Barbell by K. Black (ebook only) is a strength training manual that I read just a couple of days ago and fell in love with, because it's designed specifically around the needs of ranger types:

  • We need simplicity, efficiency (in terms of time used), and flexibility, because we all have dozens of things going on in our lives besides our strength training programs.
  • We need to not completely knock ourselves out to the point that we can't do other things, like conditioning workouts, skills training, parenting, responding to emergency callouts, etc.
  • The guys among us probably want to avoid bulking too much while gaining strength, because many of them do things like climbing, running, military service, martial arts, etc where too much bulk can become a liability.  (The book does have a mass template for those who'd like to do a block of bulking now and again, e.g. if you're a breacher who needs some mass to throw at doors/barricades).
  • We care primarily about functional strength, and much less about the appearance of our muscles.  We have stuff to do.

This book not only contains a practical approach, but some good case studies for those who aren't quite sure which variations suit them best.  I'm using TB to run my strength training program this challenge.  There's a second book that just came out, but hasn't hit my preferred ebook store yet (expected in ~2 weeks), simply titled "Tactical Barbell II" which is the companion conditioning manual.  I can't wait to read it!

 

Martial Miscellany

 

On The Warrior's Path by Daniele Bolelli (2nd ed.) is an interesting but meandering read on archetypes of warriorship, traditions throughout history, modern contexts and more.  It's a translation of an originally Italian work, but I found the quality of the English prose to be good.  It was a very easy read that gave me a few things to think about.

 

I won't link or ISBN Morihei Ueshiba's The Art of Peace, because there are so many translations out, both free and un-free.  This is a classic by the founder of Aikido.

 

Ethics From the Barrel of a Gun is an essay by Eric S. Raymond (yes, hackers, that ESR) about the relationship between the ability to use force and ethical maturity.  Thoughtful piece.

 

On Combat and On Killing by Dave Grossman are definitely considered classics, but read with a skeptical eye.  IMO, Grossman goes way overboard in pushing a couple of his own biases or agendas to the point of compromising the work overall.

 

The Art Of War by Sun Tzu is another classic with countless translations out there.  It's a manual of strategy, and as such can be applied to almost any endeavor.

 

Mindfulness

 

The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner is a book on mindfulness by a guy who did piano repair.  It was good enough that I actually sat down and read the whole thing, which is saying something.

 

Currently Seeking

 

I'd love to find a copy of Marc Macyoung's Becoming a Complete Martial Artist: Error Detection in Self-Defense and the Martial Arts, but I haven't yet been successful.  If you have one you'd like to sell, please let me know!

"What's the goal here?  What's the lesson here?  What's the best use of my time right now?" <-- Rory Miller's "three sacred questions"

"Lacking in humility?  Don't worry, the bar will give you some." <-- Me.

 

HedgeMage, Orc Ranger

Battle Log | IRL Info

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These were significant for me in my 20's when I was finding my feet after Uni. 

 

Finances:

Money for Life by Alvin Hall

The richest man in Babylon by George Clason

 

Work Ethic:

The Pursuit of Wow by Tom Peters

         Endor, LVL 40 Half-Elf Ranger 

PR and Motivation Log | Current Battle Log 

      

      Current Challenge (Jan 2021)

   

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I'm currently reading two books about mindfulness.

Mindfulness - A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.

I'm currently at week three of the seven week course. The exercises are intresting and it has an audio CD. But I didn't like the introduction part. I'm using the tracks until I've got a hang of the meditation practice, because I found it a little distracting sometimes to listen to the voice of the guide.

And

Wherever you go there you are by jon kabat-zinn

I enjoy that it's explaining the things behind mindfulness and I like his style. Especially enjoyable to read in a bath tube. There are also small exercises, but they are less detailed than the first book and give room for interpretation.

level 12 Hobbit Monk (respawned September 2016)
STR 4 | DEX 15 | CON 16 | STA 15 | WIS 33 | CHA 24 | Halfling | Newbie | Fencer and Bookworm

Introduction | Character | Daily Battle Log | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 67 | 8 | | 10 | 11 | 12# | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | #### | 17 | Current Challenge

Spoiler

 I'm exercising, because I want to get my stamina and strength. I enjoy medieevil swordmanship,  Tai Chi, yoga, aikido and fire spinning. I'm also a roleplaying nerd and a book worm. Let's fight the procrastination dragon!

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