Get the key ideas from

Red Team

How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy

By Micah Zenko
12-minute read
Audio available
Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy by Micah Zenko

Red Team (2015) gives insight into the military and security strategies that try to anticipate the adversary’s next move. Covering events from the capture of Osama bin Laden to mysterious break-ins operated through warehouse skylights, this book is a reminder of everyday vulnerability and what to do about it.

  • Anyone interested in military tactics or history
  • People who want to learn how to think like their enemies in order to defeat them
  • Company leaders who want strong arguments for increasing cyber and facility security

Micah Zenko is an expert on conflict prevention, US national security and military strategy. He works as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2010, he published his first book, Between Threats and War.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

Red Team

How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy

By Micah Zenko
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy by Micah Zenko
Synopsis

Red Team (2015) gives insight into the military and security strategies that try to anticipate the adversary’s next move. Covering events from the capture of Osama bin Laden to mysterious break-ins operated through warehouse skylights, this book is a reminder of everyday vulnerability and what to do about it.

Key idea 1 of 7

Organizations can use red teams to uncover hidden problems, but only if they’re willing.

As humans, we’ve got a rather peculiar blind spot for our own mistakes. This is why, for example, we get friends to proofread our essays in university. And it’s also why organizations hire red teams, groups of experts whose job it is to work out the weaknesses in a company’s strategies, structures and security measures.

Though red teams can be incredibly effective, many leaders are reluctant to accept their help. Authoritarian figures or personalities don’t enjoy being contradicted and often refuse to enlist red teams in the first place. This was the case with the head of Federal Aviation Administration. It took a terrorist attack on a Pan-American Airway plane in 1988 with 270 fatalities before he decided to bring a red team into his regular operations to uncover security weaknesses.

Red teams also require the right members in order to be effective. Red teamers are those who can think outside the box, and there are fewer of those people around than you might think. Psychologist Scott Eidelman demonstrated how we often fall victim to existence bias by assuming things are fine just the way they are.

An excellent red teamer does not have this bias. Instead, they have an incredible eye for detail when it comes to working out what could be done better. Red teamers must, of course, be able to think like the enemy.

CIA analyst Rodney Faraon even likens sharp red teamers to method actors capable of immersing themselves in the minds and identities of someone else. In the case of a red teamer, they’re becoming one with the enemy.

Finally, organizations must ensure that red teams play an appropriate role in day-to-day life. Being assessed is stressful for both leaders and employees, so don’t let your red team run rife! Restrict them to where their expertise is needed to keep staff from feeling like they’re under constant surveillance.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.