A PhD insight: study the leading scholars in your domain and read books from the imprints of leading university presses. This month I’m looking at new titles of the Stanford Security Studies series from Stanford University Press. Thomas Mahnken‘s anthology Competitive Strategies for the 21st Century provides an overview of the geopolitical landscape centered on United States-China rivalry. Meir Finkel‘s On Flexibility examines how doctrinal and strategic surprise affects politico-military actors and institutions: a study that might fit within the so-called fourth generation of strategic culture. Sheldon M. Stern‘s The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory re-evaluates the ‘memoir’ tradition about ExComm’s crisis decision-making under uncertainty, and the leadership and political myths that have grown up around the 13 day confrontation. Collectively, these books provide benchmarks and examples of security studies research that will inform my in-progress PhD chapters.