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The Mission, The Men, and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander Hardcover – December 2, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 353 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''His thesis is that there aren't that many different situations in life, and there aren't that many different ways of dealing with them -- have a few, simple principles, and, when in doubt, refer to them. He'’s a stoic with a sense of humor, and I very much enjoyed his book.'' --David Mamet, Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and film director.

''A book about the complexities of combat that's just as applicable for dealing with the complexities of business and our personal lives.'' --Kevin Sharer, chairman and CEO, Amgen --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

About the Author

Pete Blaber commanded at every level of Delta Force, executing vital missions across the globe including destroying the largest pocket of Al Qaeda forces to date, and helping to hasten the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. He lives in Santa Monica, California. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; 1 edition (December 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425223728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425223727
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (353 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kevin P. Podlaski on December 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is fast moving and immediately draws the reader in with great anecdotes and chronicles of the enigmatic world of the "Unit", its members, and life "behind the fence" at Fort Bragg. Pete's principles about leadership and management are universal, transcendent, and are just pure commonsense. Moreover,they are eminently practical and stay with you long after you put the book down. He schools us in the Die Gestalt of leadership -- learn well.

Blaber's book should be on the "must read" list at the SOF University, Command and General Staff College and the War College. Make it essential reading for every officer basic course on the Nine Principles of War, in particular, in a study on "Mission". On second thought, the principles Blaber lays out here cover the eight remaining axioms with equal aplomb. Even Wharton's Business School and Havard's Kennedy School of Government would likewise, do well to make this book mandatory reading - it is that good!
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Format: Hardcover
When the dust has finally settled from our involvement in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the engagements that I believe will occupy the time of many prognosticators for generations to come will be "Operation Anaconda" that took place in the Shahi Khot Valley of Afghanistan in the winter of 2002.

Several fine books have already been written describing what happened during those fateful hours in the frigid February and March air high in the mountains near the Pakistan border. Sean Naylor gives a gripping account of his part of the story in "Not a Good Day to Die." (See below for the link to my review from February, 2007.)

Nate Self's recent book, "Two Wars" (to be reviewed here soon) adds another important perspective on what happened in Afghanistan and beyond.

Pete Blaber, the Delta Force commander who was in charge of the AFO (Advanced Force Operations) involved in Operation Anaconda, has written a compelling book that is a welcome addition to the ongoing dialogue about what we can all learn from the events of those days. Adding valuable insight into this engagement, Blaber's book also takes a broad look at lessons he has learned along the way that are practical and applicable not just to military operations but to any situations that presents leadership challenges.

The title of the book, "Mission, the Men, and Me - Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander ," refers to the three priorities and three questions that Blaber set for himself in making decisions in the heat of battle: "What is best for the Mission; what is best for my men; what is best for me?" Any leader would be well served to adapt these priorities at decisive moments in responding to challenges and opportunities.
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Format: Hardcover
This excellent book is really about how to thrive out on the edge of a high-risk, high-profile career. It's not a book for armchair experts or backseat drivers of whatever stripe, because one of Blaber's key teachings is how to circumvent the kibbutzers and second-guessers in positions of authority, ignore their distractions and overcome their interference, and accomplish the mission.

In fact, while it's a great title, the equation of the "mission", his "men" and himself "me" gives the misleading impression that Blaber may be a bit of a prima donna. In fact, the "Mission, Men and Me" framework is applied whenever Blaber is being pressured by a senior commander to take an action that Blaber is convinced will result in damage to the mission or needless harm to his men. When forced into these dilemmas, if the only consideration is his personal or career interests, than Blaber always puts "Me" at risk to assure the best outcome for the Mission and his Men.

The realism of the book can be conveyed by observing that Blaber needs to apply the Mission, Men and Me framework fairly frequently!

The book, which is officially divided into Parts One - Four, is thematically structured into three sections:

(1) The first section is a series of very helpful lessons and mental frameworks for handling intense, stressful and complex situations. Blaber has benefited from the kind of resources the US Government can afford to pour into its best and brightest, and an unbelievable amount of cutting edge cognitive, psychological, sociological, and other areas of research have been reduced to practical learnings and made available to the operators of Delta Force, and Blaber makes them available to readers of this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an extremely worthwhile book, especially if you are of a more cerebral type. All too many special operator memoirs suffer from an excess of rah-rah me-tough-guy braggadocio. Blaber's book is very different. Here is a professional warrior who can both fight and think, and then produce intelligent writing about it. His book is not just descriptive, but reflective. Now don't misunderstand: this is not some philosophical treatise. There are plenty of good, well told recountings of adventures and operations from his decades-long career in special ops, many of which, especially his perspectives on the battle of Sha-hi-Kot, I found very illuminating, having read the other books about it. But what sets this book apart from other memoirs is the fact that his stories always serve to illustrate a point, a broader principle that can be applied not just to military life, but life in general. Other reviewers have detailed those lessons, so I won't go into details, but I highly recommend this book. I guarantee that you will finish it with a feeling of not just having read an interesting story, but having learned some lessons that you will remember.
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