Business Is Combat: A Fighter Pilot's Guide to Winning in Modern Business Warfare


Your pulse quickens...your mind focuses...the mission is clear, the maneuvers rehearsed, and there are no second chances. Entering a corporate sales battle today requires the cool calculation of a four-star general and the hot-blooded nerve of a combat pilot, argues top jet fighter James Murphy.

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Business Is Combat: A Fighter Pilot's Guide to Winning in Modern Business Warfare

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Your pulse quickens...your mind focuses...the mission is clear, the maneuvers rehearsed, and there are no second chances. Entering a corporate sales battle today requires the cool calculation of a four-star general and the hot-blooded nerve of a combat pilot, argues top jet fighter James Murphy.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Murphy, a former military officer and salesman, has turned his military experiences into a successful business. The founder (in 1996) and president of Afterburner Seminars, he uses his expertise and that of other military pilots to create a unique training program, to which both large and small firms have sent employees to improve their personal and business skills. This book is essentially a manual to help individuals and companies improve business and communications skills. The author explains how each step in planning and executing a combat mission can be adapted to the business world and includes his "six steps to combat mission planning," which is a very useful tool. The text is quite readable, and the combat anecdotes and real-life scenarios should speak to most readers. Enjoyable if just for its combat stories, this book is recommended for public libraries. (Readers may even consider taking the seminar.)-David M. Alperstein, Queens Borough P.L., Valley Stream, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781470890094
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

James D. Murphy is the CEO of Afterburner, Inc., a consulting firm he founded in 1996 after four years in sales management and eight years as an F-15 fighter pilot. Murphy is also the author of Business Is Combat, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

From Farm Boy to Fighter Pilot

It's midnight in Panama. I'm lying in my cot, trying to catch some sleep, but I can't do it. My mind is going a mile a minute and my body is restless. I toss and turn and stare up at the roof of my cinderblock bunker; my uniform is drenched in sweat. The birds and animals that were invisible during the day are alive now, calling one another in the dark. Though the sun is long gone, it's 95 degrees. I can feel the humidity with my hand.

I'm in Central America, an F-15 pilot with the 116th Fighter Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard. We're here on an antinarcotics mission. We've been tasked with intercepting unannounced intruders into Panamanian airspace, the assumption being that they're bad guys-drug smugglers. To, do this, we're sitting five-minute strip alert, which means that if we're called suddenly, we have to be airborne in five minutes. That's why I'm lying awake in the middle of the night in a steaming jungle. It's my turn to fly the alert. I'm too excited. Adrenaline is coursing through my body. My jet is sitting 100 feet away on the ramp of our jungle airstrip, fueled, armed, and ready to go. Cocked, as we say: The radios are even pretuned to the right frequencies.

Now all I have to do is get some sleep.

To put this in perspective, let me explain that this is my first real mission. Until now, it's been all practice, training hops and basic fighter maneuvers (BFM). Realistic for sure, but not the real thing. Well, tonight it's the real thing. Tonight I'll be flying in a hostile environment with a fully armed F-15 for the United States Air Force. This timelives are hanging in the balance.

Gradually I surrender to bone-deep fatigue and fall asleep. My body has crashed from days of overexcitement, and it's absolute bliss. But then, just as soon as I'm locked into deep REM sleep, the klaxon blasts through the ready room and the call goes out to scramble the jets! My eyes shoot open, but I have no idea where I am. What is this noise, this heat, these pools of sweat? Intruder!

As my mind comes swimming up slowly from the bottom of the ocean, I react. I recognize the outline of two F-15s ahead of me in the dark and run in the general direction of mine. I hit the ladder with my right foot, scramble up, and take my seat in the cockpit. I take a deep breath and look at the panel. I'm racing the clock, I think; I've got to get a move on. I've got about four minutes to get this bird in the air.

But I'm not with it. I'm groggy. It's totally dark. The blacknessin the cockpit is confusing. Now, on an F-15 there are dozens ofbuttons to push and switches to flip before you can start theengines and get airborne. If you had all the time in the world, itwouldn't be a problem. But doing it quickly is another story. Youhave to activate all the proper switches in the proper sequence,starting on the left side of the cockpit and working your wayaround to the right. When I first started flying, the fastest time Iever ' had-dead engine to airborne--was twenty minutes. Afterhundreds of repetitions, I whittled the time down to fifteen minutes. Then to ten, then to five. I can still hear my instructorsyelling, "Murph, move it! You've ' got to do better than that!"

Well, right then on the ramp in Panama I needed to do better than that. I looked sideways over at my flight lead, to see how he was doing. I looked back at my panel. I started feeling my way around the cockpit. I began to recognize things, instruments, handles, parts of the jet. And then the whole training scenario came flooding over me like a cool spring rain. Wham! I went on automatic. I reached down and pulled the JFS (jet fuel starter) handle, which initiates the start sequence in the F-15. I heard the familiar sound of the central gearbox engaging and the slow rotation of the engine's compressorblades. My engines came to life, the lights on the panel started to glow. Suddenly things started to happen. My hands started to move with authority, my motions became precise and efficient. I worked over the switches. I read indicator lights. The jet's systems started to align. The INS (inertial navigation system) came up to speed. All weapons tested, tuned, ready to roll. Engines normal. In two and one-half minutes I was taxiing, and thirty seconds later I was pushing up the throttles on 42,000 pounds of pure thrust, thundering down the runway with the long lick of afterburner flames trailing behind me. My heart was racing. I leaned forward in my shoulder harness. It was time to engage the enemy.

I'd been a fighter pilot since the hot July day in 1990 when I reported for duty to the 116th Fighter Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard. I got to fly the hottest jet in the hangar: the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, a twin afterburning beast of a jet that can routinely cruise at 1,200 miles per hour. But six years earlier, if you'd told me that's what I'd be doing, no one would have been more surprised than I. My plan was to be a professional baseball player. Four years of college, a few years in the minors, then join my father's company--that was it. Sure, I'd loved airplanes as a child. But F-15s? Never occurred to me. I didn't even have a pilot's license. I was just an ordinary guy from a small country town in Kentucky, with no interest in the military whatsoever. Things do change.

Foul Ball

All through my school years, my real passion was sports. I picked up any kind of ball I could get my hands on: You couldn't keep me busy enough. Fortunately I was good enough to make the teams, and by the. time I was in high school I was playing every season football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring.

Business is Combat. Copyright © by James Murphy. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2001

    Best ROI in 2000!

    I purchased James Murphy's book in 2000, we just completed our financials and I am pleased to report that we doubled our revenues. We contribute this increase to a single statement we found in the book, Business is Combat. 'All of our resources in the Air Force are aligned like a shaft of a spear, pushing the 'pointy end forward'. We did that in our business and the results were dramatic. We have become great planners, we execute efficiently and we now debrief, all of this we learned from Mr. Murphy's book. I keep it on my desk and refer to it often because it makes us money.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2000

    A Book with REAL TAKE Home Value...

    There are many motivational books on the market right now, and working in an entrepreneurial mode, I see or get told about many of them. Jim Murphy's book is one of the only ones I have read that I can place into work the day after you read it. Thanks to Mr. Murphy.

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