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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2003
I chose to buy and read this book because one of its authors was a Navy SEAL, and it promised to highlight military leadership lessons from a SEAL perspective. I soon discovered an outstandingly balanced and informative organizational leadership book that took an honest military leadership perspective and effectively applied it directly and indirectly to civilian business environments. This real-world leadership book should appeal to any military-related person and anyone interested in better understanding the military and business leadership connection.

This book was written by a brother duo, one a successful corporate executive and the other an experienced SEAL officer. In their introduction, they accurately assessed what made the book stand apart from other leadership books I have read: "Be forewarned: This book does not pay homage to godlike CEOs, legendary generals, and other corporate cult figures. It is our view that masterful leadership and effective teams, not colorful mavericks, produce success...Every great leader has a great team above, around, and behind him or her...[The book is] a collection of lessons from SEAL training and SEAL operations that have been tested in the business world."

The book is broken down into six chapters (Setting Goals, Organization-Create Structure or Fight Alone, Leadership-The Hardest Easy Thing, The Thundering Herd, Building a Thundering Herd, and Now Maintain Your Momentum), with embedded lessons related to each chapter title. Each lesson starts with a SEAL mission (a SEAL team sea-story or experience) and ends with a suggested business take-away. The lessons stimulated thought and offered ideas for improving individual and organizational leadership. The authors left it to the readers to decide which lessons applied to their situations and then challenged them to apply those lessons.

The authors' candid perspectives and observations were refreshing and were reflected in their equally straightforward lessons. A sampling of the authors' colorful lessons includes:
*Avoid creating a capability and then looking for a mission to justify it
*Build boundaries to prevent infighting and cannibalism
*If you think no one else can replace you, you're an egotistical S.O.B. who's failed
*There are probably good reasons why your marching orders seem screwed up
*Identify your lead dogs, feed them well, and build a pack around them
*If you need to scream, you need to practice

The team-building and teamwork concepts emphasized in this book apply to military and business leaders and organizations. If you want time-tested ideas to improve your leadership, or your organization's effectiveness, then you should read this book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2007
I am a profession College Coach. I have read many books on so called "Leaders" in the sports World. Wooden, Knight, Bryant, Hayes, Lombardi, Coach K, Dean Smith, Patino could all learn something from this book. This book gets to the point and proves the correct and effective technique. I have read maybe 30-40 books on leadership and coaching and I will say that this book is the best book I have ever read. After reading this book I gave a copy of it to all of the Coaches in my Athletic Department, and my Assistant Coaches. I can tell you not one person has not thanked me for getting them this book.

If you are a professional business man or woman, a coach, a community leader, teacher, you need this book!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
If you are looking for a book on leadership this book will do more than you could imagine. If you could get a sneak peak into an elite group to see how they work together what would you pay? Better yet what would you learn? If you read this book you will find out. The book is written so it is easy to understand and follow. The book uses stories as ways to convey why something should be done as a leader. The biggest message that I got was doing something and moving is better than doing nothing and sitting, make a decision and go from there. You will not be dissapointed.

After I read this book I bought the cds and put them on my ipod. I listen to this book at least once a month. The voice of the reader is compelling. I look forward to traffic.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2004
I liked the book. I think it hit the mark for it's intended audience. The lessons learned from the school of hard knocks are clear, simple, direct; very military at the front lines. Each point is illustraged with a war story from both the civilian and military perspective. Being ex-military I liked the war stories.
The lessons are very useful, but like many books of its ilk, not new. The key lessons were learned and documented many years ago by the Greeks and Romans. I think the thing to keep in mind is that communication has not ocurred until both sides understand the message. In that line, I think this book does a very good job of describing key leadership traits and tools and introducing them to a new audience.
The book is organized by chapters, and key points and illustrations within each. There are contradictions in the points that are not brought up or discussed. I think this is true due to the nature of human interaction and its complexities, that a tool or technique works until it doesn't. The key is for the leader to recognized the difference. The book is weak here, but I also think that is something better learned from experience.
Some major take aways for me was the dicussion on organizational structure, the need to follow SOP, until there is a greater need to not, good leadership demands good followership, followers have major responsibilities towards their leaders (how and when to tell the boss the path we are following is wrong).
For me this is not new, but it is great to be reminded of these things. This book is not the best I have read on the topic, but very useful for the key insights form practical life and death experience.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2010
I am a career firefighter and have seen far too many examples of weak leadership. I figured the seals were a rather successful organization to look into. Although our jobs are different, there are many parallels. This is a great book for anyone who works in a team enviroment and wants to make their organization more successful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
If you've declared war on your company's lackluster performance, this book will help you launch an all-out assault. Leadership Lessons of the Navy Seals demonstrates through the experiences of this elite military unit of Sea, Air and Land commandos that combat lessons can apply to the corporate world. The book provides examples of SEAL tactics and missions, along with their corporate applications, particularly in strong team building. Authors Jeff Cannon and Lt. Cmdr. Jon Cannon combine their experience in business and the U.S. Navy in a no-nonsense, practical guide. They zero in on setting goals and commanding your troops with deadly accuracy. While their problem-solving text gets straight to the point, it isn't novel and they repeat lessons under different titles. The book is a laundry list, a useful approach in allowing you to choose what you need. We found that the Cannons fire off a good how-to book for corporate strategists who want to develop battle plans for improving their teams and organizations.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This stuff is all pretty obvious and can be learned anywhere, not just in the environment of a SEAL team. We could have called this "Leadership Lessons of the Plastic Injection Molding Production Supervisors" or "Leadership Lessons of the Rental Car Management Trainees." Seriously. The SEAL stories were nice, but I was expecting some powerful lessons learned under the stressful conditions of special operations combat. The "how many officers does it take to put up a tent" example wasn't exactly the impactful example that I was looking for. I, too, was a naval officer and could generate better illustrations of these leadership and management skills from my mundane times on a surface ship. No need to slap the SEAL trident on the cover, though I guess it would sell more books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2012
Yes I know Jon Cannon personally, and he does make some good points in his book, but they are mostly hindsight lessons learned. I don't believe his book to represent his personal or professional leadership qualities. One has to remember the Navy SEALS are a fraternal order. If you are one of the boys your "in" and if not your career will be short.
I served with Cannon, and when the chips were down, he didn't stand up for me, so I don't see how his book could be anything but a regurgitation of Navy Leadership classes and Human Resource doctrine.
The concept of the book is "Creating Successful Organizations" but I don't see how (and I could be mislead) Cannon can claim this accolade as he never really created an organization. He was merely assigned to lead a task element and may have been allowed to occasionally select his team members from those that were available. I don't see where he ever created a new organization and recruited raw unqualified individuals and then trained them to readiness and mission completeness. He did as most military service elements do. He choose from among a handful of qualified personnel who already had a history of success and basically hoped for the best.
One could derive most of these lessons from Aesop's Fables.
Yes, Jon is a great guy, but his book is basically a "carrot or stick' leadership.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2005
This book is the most accessible leadership book i've read recently. It is presented as a case by case basis (The Misson) with lessons learned from it (The Take Away), albeit in a corny way.

Those who are military buffs will surely enjoy this book, however, the corporate world is a far different outfit. The best example from the book would be the case where the officers of the same rank were placed together to pitch a tent in the dark. Due to that, everyone was barking orders to each other in order to stand out and appear superior.

It is almost impossible to reprimand your subordinates without risking a resignation and the balance between enforcing your right as a superior and eliciting favours is a fine line. My philosophy of leadership is fairly simple. Lay down the expectations from day one, and hire those who can accept those expectations, never force someone to do something that they are not willing to do (Chapter 4, Lesson 1). You cannot trim down your troops through attrition in the corporate organization (no boot camps here) by piling so much work that your employees quit and only the best remain. There's just not enough time and not enough people to complete any project implementation. Only a handful of organizations can do that ie. Nordstrom via psychological preasure rather than physical.

Chapter 3 focuses on building leadership, while chapter 4 focuses on being a grunt. 2 sides of the coin which are highly important. In summary, a must read. (Highly recommend, Built to Last)
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
If you've declared war on your company's lackluster performance, this book will help you launch an all-out assault. Leadership Lessons of the Navy Seals demonstrates through the experiences of this elite military unit of Sea, Air and Land commandos that combat lessons can apply to the corporate world. The book provides examples of SEAL tactics and missions, along with their corporate applications, particularly in strong team building. Authors Jeff Cannon and Lt. Cmdr. Jon Cannon combine their experience in business and the U.S. Navy in a no-nonsense, practical guide. They zero in on setting goals and commanding your troops with deadly accuracy. While their problem-solving text gets straight to the point, it isn't novel and they repeat lessons under different titles. The book is a laundry list, a useful approach in allowing you to choose what you need. We from getAbstract found that the Cannons fire off a good how-to book for corporate strategists who want to develop battle plans for improving their teams and organizations.
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