There is a great respect for the U.S. Military and the great leaders that have risen from those ranks. Jocko and Leif represent the best of what we have to offer and have committed to teaching others how to give the best of what they can offer. This is a great book told through real life scenarios with real life implications. The fact that they can relate their service experiences to everyday activities in the business world amazes me. The book was captivating, well laid out and engaging.
52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week #19 – Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win – by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
First, this book was extremely entertaining. I read some books that are tedious and I feel like the content is great, but I need to write everything down, listen or read the book 10 times and then maybe I’ll catch all the nuances. The best part about this book is that they take their own advice and keep it simple. I felt like they took the principal of “Tell them what you are going to tell them, Tell them, the Tell them what you just told them” and executed on it perfectly. This type of style can feel a bit repetitive to anyone who reads a lot and has a decent attention span, especially if you read the way I do and consume the entire book in a day or two. The recent chapters and preface are all still fresh in my memory. I would imagine that despite the great story telling and the compelling momentum of the book, most people will take a few weeks to finish the book and so the frequent reminders are good for most.
These guys manage to take a couple of principals and like the books says, completely own them. This stuff isn’t new per se, Larry Winget says that success is your own damn fault and if you get into a car crash it’s your fault too! Grant Cardone talks about ownership and how you have to take complete ownership for yourself and your life, but these guys come at it with the military perspective which is a whole new ball game. They analyze what this means to them and break it down into very clear, concise steps and then give examples and then more examples and then move on.
The book is laid out into 3 segments with a few chapters each. Each chapter lets you know what the principal is and then dives into a real world combat or military scenario that describes how these gentlemen came to realize the importance of that particular principal. This is easily the best part of the book, the stories are compelling and I actually forgot each and every time that this was a business/leadership book, instead I was just reading a biography that was great. The next portion of the chapter talks about the principle again in slightly more detail and then puts this same principle into an equally engaging business setting where these guys talk about a particular incident that easily could have taken place at any mid to large level corporation.
The examples were great stories and illustrations of very specific steps to extreme ownership. I was a little skeptical about drawing such heavy comparisons between battle hardened military experience and white collar America, but it works. There are a few spots where the language is a little crude and a few times I wanted them to use outside examples to better use. The examples provided all come from direct experiences that the authors had, but I would have liked them to use a well known example or situation to illustrate their point. They could have use the classic example of how Tylenol responded to the Tylenol Murder Crisis of 1982 or recently how Steve Harvey completely owned his mistake on the Miss Universe announcement. He owned it so much that other companies hired him to make fun of himself while pitching their product. He turned a weakness into an asset.
I bet this isn’t the only book that these 2 put out together. I like the collaboration and the way they share stories and split chapters while maintaining a cohesive brand and message. Carry on.