Monday, December 13, 2010

The Desperate Person's Guide To Gifts For Intelligence Analysts (Link List)

So, you have an intelligence analyst in your life and you want to buy him or her a gift.  I fully understand your horror at this prospect.  

They either already have it ("Picked it up from the second or third most obscure site on the Internet...") or it is impossible to find ("All I want is that Flemish-Urdu dictionary I keep asking for...").

SAM is here to help.  All of the gifts below have been rigorously tested using real analysts and are guaranteed to be better than a pair of socks.
Cover of "A Guide to the Good Life: The A...Cover via Amazon
A Guide To The Good Life:  The Ancient Art Of Stoic Joy.  I just finished this book and I can heartily recommend it to the analyst in your life.  William Irvine, the author, has done an admirable job of dissecting the various strains of ancient stoic thought and re-mixing them for the modern world.  

Want a taste of stoic thinking?  From Marcus Aurelius (Emperor and noted stoic):  "If you work at that which is before you, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract you, but keeping your divine part pure, as if you were bound to give it back immediately; if you hold to this, expecting nothing, but satisfied to live now according to nature, speaking heroic truth in every word which you utter, you will live happy. And there is no man able to prevent this." Even if you don't see why that is such an awesome quote, take it from me, your analyst will.

DMZ:  The Next Korean War.  This is an old-school, table-top, war game published by Decision Games that depicts a near-future war in the Korean Peninsula.  While the game is not based on any of the recent tensions between North and South Korea, your analyst will appreciate the care that has gone into this simulation as well as the opportunity to examine the terrain and orders of battle in detail.  If they can find another grognard, they may even be able to test out a few strategies they have been kicking around inside their heads.

Anything From Wondermark.  Wondermark is the strange and amazing online comic by David Malki.  Some of his best stuff he has compiled into books or put on t-shirts.  You may think that your analyst is too sophisticated for a ninja riding a unicycle t-shirt or a "The Revolution Will Not Be Telegraphed!" t-shirt, but, believe me, you're wrong (See below...)

(By the way, you can find more like this at

Do you have any other ideas about what to get an analyst?  Leave 'em in the comments!
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