Welcome to our book review series! Part of Business Fixer’s mission is to recommend only the best books to help you in a business turnaround. Check out the Resources page for more great books. Today, we’re doing the Extreme Ownership book review. Let’s dive straight in…
- Book: Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win
- Authors: Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
- Subject: Leadership
- *Score: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
*Score ratings out of 5
What are the main headlines of this book
Many great books have been written about leadership. This one can now join that pantheon. A well-deserved New York Times Bestseller, ‘Extreme Ownership’ is a book about leadership lessons learned from the battlefield. Which battlefield you ask? How about Iraq! That’s right. This book covers the real life or death situations that the authors faced and the leadership lessons they learned.
This is intense stuff. The stories are real, highly dangerous and adrenaline-fuelled. There is a sincere humility that comes with the author’s tone which really helps the authors obtain buy-in from the reader (one of the principles which they are teaching).
This is a unique book with a tonne of golden nugget on leadership principles and how they apply to business. Every principle starts off with a story from the battlefield. The authors then do a ‘business application’ section where they give real examples of how they have applied the aforementioned principle in the business world with their clients.
Key Highlights Of This Book
There is no such thing as a bad team, just bad leaders.
My opinion on this chapter is that if you disagree with it, then you’re one of those bad leaders. I this chapter the authors illustrate how much impact a great leader can have on a failing team. The best leaders bring out the best in their people. That’s it. There’s not much else to say on that. It does however, require us to think about this powerful principle and honestly assess ourselves.
Keep Things Simple
At Business Fixer, I have a mantra – ‘Clarity is King, Simplicity is Queen’. The authors beautifully illustrate the power of simplicity when creating plans. The best plans are simple. What is the litmus test as to whether a plan is simple? It needs to be so simple that the most junior member of the team understands it. But more than that, it needs to be simple so that the team buys into it.
This is a powerful concept. Decentralising command means that the mission is defined by the senior officers. However the details of how to execute that is left up to the troops on the ground. Everyone is crystal clear on the mission. Everyone is crystal clear on their role in executing that mission. These officers have the authority to make their own decisions as long as they operate within the parameters set by their senior officers.
Leading Downards AND Upwards
I had never of leading up the chain of command. The authors challenge traditional thinking about leadership (from a traditional context). Leading up the chain of command can massively improve communication and save a lot of time. Again, the authors use a brilliant example from their war days which shows how we in business should and can lead up the chain.
There you have it – the Extreme Ownership book review. I’ve read a lot of leadership books. Extreme Ownership provides a unique way to explain leadership principles with a humility that is refreshing. There are some new concepts in here which I have not personally seen in self development books. This is one book that we should have in our library.