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The Mission, the Men, and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander Paperback – September 7, 2010
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“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
“Blaber presents his hard-won principles of leadership and illustrates them with intense personal stories and accounts of leadership amidst chaotic modern warfare. The leadership principles ring true and have a commonsense appeal. Also, the ‘peek behind the curtain’ look at Delta should please fans of special operations.”—Small Wars Journal
“Should be required reading for all flag-rank officers. Required, because it codifies in simple, accessible language the concepts that will allow us to adapt, overcome and prevail in 21st-century warfare, whether it be asymmetric in nature and unconventional in approach, or along the classical Land-War models. And required because Lt. Col. Blaber demonstrates through multiple empirical examples why flexibility, audacity, situational awareness and preparation are superior to rigid, formulaic doctrine-influenced operational planning.”—The Washington Times
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.
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Top customer reviews
Leadership textbooks, particularly the top-selling Leadership by Peter Northouse, point out how leadership functions can be reduced to two basic buckets: getting the task done, and taking care of people and relationships. Taking responsibility for the mission, and taking care of the men: in a crunch, we have to choose prioritizing one or the other.
In psychology, at the core of personality development, is how the self evolves its posture towards the outside world, especially from its early trust experiences with primary caregivers. Taking charge, or taking care of others? Ambition and competition, or nurture and cooperation?
Pete has given us the perfect bookend to those leadership and psychology textbooks: principles for decision and action, derived from personal experiences in the reality of war with all its immediate, personal, irreversible risks to life and limb. It’s a great case book for brilliant insights into patterns of decisions and consequences.
Bring leadership and developmental psychology together, and you have Pete’s Delta leadership totem pole: a clear hierarchy of the mission, the men, and me. In everyday life, it’s more of a triangle whose three points may rotate, depending on circumstance, but it forces clarity in our fundamental ethical outlook.
Cognitive scientists propose that true capital “I” intuition is not just lazy, seat-of-the-pants ambiguities. True intuition is how our brain purposely seeks patterns, and reduces all the knowledge and experiences into models that it keeps ready on the right-brain shelf. Jet fighter pilots, firefighters and emergency responders apparently rely on this pattern recognition - not on the mathematical optimization constructs, because MBA textbooks are rarely packed into field rucksacks. Sometimes, life just does not allow us to engineer situations.
Outstanding leaders can pull the right model out of the backpocket, adapting it real-time to current context and specifics.
Pete brings us into specific situations. A fascinating narrative in real-world language, and with humorous irony glinting here and there out of the fog and din of war.
Can’t wait for the next book, Mr. Blaber.