Seriously Questioning…David Kilcullen

Written by House of SpeakEasy

Posted on October 13, 2017

Filed Under: Blog

David Kilcullen is the Chairman of Caerus Associates. Before founding Caerus, he was Special Advisor to the Secretary of State from 2007-2009 and Senior Advisor to General David Petraeus in Iraq in 2007. He is the author of bestselling books The Accidental Guerrilla, Counterinsurgency and Out of the Mountains. His most recent book is The Blood Year: The Unraveling of Western Counterterrorism.

On November 1, he will be speaking at House of SpeakEasy’s Seriously Entertaining show, Fear Itself alongside Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Julie Scelfo, and Lev Grossman (tickets). We spoke to David ahead of the show…


Name: David Kilcullen

What is your favorite first line of a novel? “He lay flat on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees.” –For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway, 1941

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Write what you know, what you see first hand, and what people tell you, directly, in their own words.

What writer, past or present, do you wish you could eat dinner with? William Gibson

What are you reading right now? I always have a lot of books on the go at once, and always a mix of fiction and non-fiction.  Right now, I’m reading:

James Kirchick, The End of Europe

Jean Larteguy, The Centurions

Richard Condon, The Manchurian Candidate

Benjamin Friedman, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth

Are there any quotes you use to inspire you? “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is not left to take away.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery


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