Preliminaries: What is 30 pages?

How can we achieve innovative strategic thought combined with effective strategic leadership? Such an ability might be termed strategic genius: the capacity to see at once from the tactical to the strategic, orient to a situation from a number of diverse perspectives, design narratives that transform strengths in the system, and then see all of this through to fruition despite resistent individuals and organizations.

30 pages is a guided plan for ongoing study in pursuit of this strategic genius. The concept is simple: reading 30 pages (on average) a day across a highly diverse number of academic and professional disciplines to achieve broad perspectives in order to take effective action in the world. These 30 pages equate to one book every two weeks and six books as part of a focused block of study every three months. Each block focuses on six critical texts (or more in the case of journal articles) from a certain discipline and is led by an individual with expertise in that field. Fields of study include history, philosophy, political science, sociology, sinology, cognitive psychology and neuroscience, complexity science, design theory, morality, postmodernism, poetry, literature, economics, and many more.

Critical to this effort is avoiding the human tendency to only read within our profession or what interests us. The key to a diverse ability to orient to new problems lies in holding in mind a plethora of seemingly unrelated perspectives gained via broad study (more to follow on that point in a future post).

The 30 pages program of study begins on 1 July 2015 though late joiners are very welcome. The first block of study, “East is east and west is west…” runs from 1 July — 30 September and explores eastern perspectives in strategy, thought and action. Here’s the reading list for the first block with the first book, Jullien’s “A Treatise on Efficacy” running from 1–14 July:

A Treatise on Efficacy — Francois Julliene (1–14 July)

The Hundered-Year Marathon — Michael Pillsbury (15–31 July)

Detour and Access — Francois Julliene (1–14 August)

On China — Henry Kissinger (15–31 August)

The Propensity of Things — Francois Julliene (1–14 September)

China Goes Globa — David Shambaugh (15–30 September)

You can expect one post previewing every reading with the option to discuss the reading on the post throughout the two weeks. The current block study plan for the next two years follows in another post. If you are interested in leading a block of study, please email at or connect via twitter or Facebook (link on the right of the page).