The book, edited by Manoj Joshi, Nishtha Gautam and Praveen Swami, makes a case for a national security strategy for India for the hard times, one grounded in reality. It is an important collection that highlights the major challenges India confronts and the ways they can be tackled, especially in the light of the upheavals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its contributors include former military officers whose views have helped shape discussions on strategy, including Admiral Arun Prakash and Lt Gen. D.S. Hooda, as well as commentators like Dr Sanjaya Baru. Experience tells us that in war, it's often the smarter side that wins, not the stronger one, that wins. These essays seek to point us in that direction.