Ender's Shadow is worth it. A parallel novel to Ender's Game, Shadow follows Ender's right-hand man, Bean, the tiny yet brilliant street-rat-turned-commander who subtly orchestrates the conditions necessary for Ender's success. Not as good a read as Ender, and it wouldn't make my Commander's List, but it's worth it if you're getting in to the Ender series at all.
Whereas it would take me multiple posts to analyze the gems of Ender's Game, Shadow left me with this one:
"...the same commanders now praised Ender behind his back and studied his battles to try to learn how to win, never realizing that you had to study Ender's training, not his battles, to understand his victories."And this one:
“They were career military, all of them. Proven officers with real ability. But in the military you don’t get trusted positions just because of your ability. You also have to attract the notice of superior officers. You have to be liked. You have to fit in with the system. You have to look like what the officers above you think that officers should look like. You have to think in ways that they are comfortable with.
The result was that you ended up with a command structure that was top-heavy with guys who looked good in uniform and talked right and did well enough not to embarrass themselves, while the really good ones quietly did all the serious work and bailed out their superiors and got blamed for errors they had advised against until they eventually got out.”