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Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win Hardcover – October 20, 2015
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The book is structured in a very basic and clear way. The authors convey one main point per chapter by sharing a story from their battlefield experiences, then highlighting the main principle of that story, and finally giving a concrete example of how this principle applies in business settings.
Their main points can be summarized as follows:
(*) The leader is always responsible. (This is what they call "extreme ownership." Basically, leaders must always "own" the mistakes and shortcomings of their teams.)
(*) Everyone on the team must believe in the mission.
(*) Work with other teams to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
(*) Keep plans simple, clear, and concise.
(*) Check your ego.
(*) Figure out your priorities, and then act on them one at a time.
(*) Clarify your mission (i.e., your plan).
(*) Engage with your higher-ups; keep them in the loop--especially when they frustrate you.
(*) Act decisively, even when things are chaotic.
(*) And the last chapter is a summary of the seemingly contradictory qualities of a leader.
In my opinion, the simplicity, clarity, and structure of this book are it's greatest strengths. I knew exactly where the authors were going with their points, and I understood exactly the message they were trying to communicate. The book is incredibly easy to follow.
I do have two minor complaints. First, the book is really repetitive at parts. There are several moments when the authors share a complete story or personal thought--and then share the story again, but this time in the context of telling it to either their SEAL teams or to a group of business executives. It became a little tedious. If I hear the story once, I don't need another play-by-play, no matter how interesting it was the first time around.
Second, while this book is very descriptive--especially with the battle scenes--it is also incredibly restrained, almost cold. There is basically no emotion in this book--which feels weird, because even though it's a book about leadership, it's also a book about war, too. If you are going to aim to teach me something through your intense and sometimes tragic experiences, well then let's get into it. I'm not looking for manufactured drama, but you don't have to scrub it all clean for me, either. Ultimately, I ended up feeling like the authors didn't trust me enough with the whole story. And I wanted more than that.
Still, I appreciated what Willink and Babin had to share. Their lessons are insightful and thought-provoking, and I can definitely see how their experiences will help guide leaders in the business world. Extreme Ownership is a worthwhile read, yes--but also a somewhat muted one. Take it for what it is.
This isn't a self-help book from some "gurus", nor does it provide an ideology or set of steps for how to approach specific problems. Extreme Ownership is a mindset which applies to everything you do. Authors Jocko Willink and Leif Babin have crafted a guidebook for success in all ventures of life. They explain hard-learned principles of leadership, which they experienced first-hand as US Navy SEALs, specifically in and around their 2006 deployment to Ramadi, Iraq, one of the most dangerous places and times in the war. These principles can be applied to any relationships or walks of life; they are simple enough for anyone to understand, and broad enough to use in any situation.
The book is separated into 12 chapters, each which highlights a principle of leadership. Each chapter is then broken into 3 seconds. The first section is an anecdote providing an example of how US Navy SEALs use their military experience to demonstrate each principle. The second section is how & why the principle works. The third section is an example of how that principle transforms from the battlefield, into world of businesses of all types & sizes, as experienced by the authors and their customers. It is very easy to read and understand, despite the regular use of military jargon (which is either footnoted or explained so even non-military readers can comprehend).
Military recruits & officers, parents, corporate executives, students, low-level management, spouses, shop foremen, independent contractors, and sole proprietors will all benefit from the lessons of Extreme Ownership.
If you feel you're stuck in a rut, lacking self-discipline, or perhaps know someone who simply needs to improve their lot, this book is an excellent starting point.
I have personally read & completed this book, but I will never be done with the concept of "Extreme Ownership". Being able to take ownership and be accountable for the things around me has truly changed my life for the better.
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1. Extreme Ownership
○ The leader bears full responsibility for the failure of the mission.Read more