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Professional Reading Program

A public neighborhood within called the "Fireline Leadership Reading Room" was established as a forum for students of fire to discuss books their local unit is reading and/or wants to share with other members of the fire service. Join today!

We have also developed a task, purpose, and end state for the reading program to make its intent clear.

The Professional Reading Program is tasked with providing a program and delivery system of literature designed to foster leadership development at all levels of the fire service. It is here as an additional tool to help develop current and future leaders using reading to expand the breadth and depth of their leadership skills. The end state of the PRP is a sustainable and adaptable program that is engaged by leaders of all levels to support a continued growth in leadership through reading.

WFLDP challenge

2015 Professional Reading Program Challenge

The WFDLP is issuing a reading challenge for 2015! The book chosen for this year is "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand. The book is focused on the story of Louis Zamperini during World War II, but also looks at his life before and after the war, and the tragedies, challenges and triumphs that he experienced.image of "Unbroken" book cover

The intent of the challenge is to promote the reading and discussion of the book throughout the spring and summer. Discussions are encouraged on the WFLDP Facebook page, the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center Fireline Leadership Reading Room, and ready rooms, engine bays, and fire caches across the land.

As a value-added feature, readers are encouraged to venture into the Leadership in Cinema realm and watch and discuss the film version currently in theaters and estimated to be released on Digital/DVD/Blu-ray later in 2015.

There are several themes in the book that carry over into our realm of leadership and wildland fire. Two in particular spring to mind: Resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity; and being a leader, even when you have nothing to lead but yourself. This theme, of leading oneself, ties in to the WFLDP's 2015 campaign of "Followership is Leadership." Even when we're not in command or even in control, we can still lead ourselves. To quote William Ernest Henley, "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."

Happy reading!

If you have questions regarding the Professional Reading Program, send an e-mail to

Articles and official documents that are on the Web, such as accident investigations, are linked here. Many can be downloaded and printed. Many of the books are available in libraries. Most books listed are currently available on the Web through various sources such as Amazon at or Barnes & Noble at or Books Price at

All branches of the United States military have professional reading programs and a key part of those programs is the recommendation that every leader read at least two books a year. Many corporations have required readings for their supervisors and managers. For several hundred dollars, a fire organization can put together a good library from the titles on this list and implement a reading program on their home unit. How many of our young firefighters know what happened at South Canyon? How many have read anything that discusses the principles of sound leadership? How many have read stories from other disciplines or endeavors that describe leaders in action?

This is not busy work; this is not drudgery. These readings will provoke reflection, discussion, and debate. The selected titles have been chosen for their intrinsic excitement as well as their content. Many of the books will be hard to put down. Let this be your roadmap to an enjoyable and rewarding reading program.

The NWCG Leadership Subcommittee is the sponsor for this resource.