Book – Extreme Ownership

Author – Jocko Willink

Sent to the most violent battlefield in Iraq, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s SEAL task unit faced a seemingly impossible mission: help U.S. forces secure Ramadi, a city deemed “all but lost.” In gripping firsthand accounts of heroism, tragic loss, and hard-won victories in SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, they learned that leadership—at every level—is the most important factor in whether a team succeeds or fails.Willink and Babin returned home from deployment and instituted SEAL leadership training that helped forge the next generation of SEAL leaders. After departing the SEAL Teams, they launched Echelon Front, a company that teaches these same leadership principles to businesses and organizations. From promising startups to Fortune 500 companies, Babin and Willink have helped scores of clients across a broad range of industries build their own high-performance teams and dominate their battlefields.

Now, detailing the mind-set and principles that enable SEAL units to accomplish the most difficult missions in combat, Extreme Ownership shows how to apply them to any team, family or organization. Each chapter focuses on a specific topic such as Cover and Move, Decentralized Command, and Leading Up the Chain, explaining what they are, why they are important, and how to implement them in any leadership environment.

A compelling narrative with powerful instruction and direct application, Extreme Ownership revolutionizes business management and challenges leaders everywhere to fulfill their ultimate purpose: lead and win. 

– Goodreads Synopsis

Extreme Ownership

Ownership. It’s a word we use a lot. But what does it really mean? At its core, ownership is the realization that everything you do – good or bad – affects not just you but also those around you. When something goes wrong, it’s tempting to blame others. But the truth is that we are all responsible for our actions and decisions. This is the heart of extreme ownership. It’s the belief that no matter the situation, you are always in control of your destiny. This doesn’t mean you can’t make mistakes – we all do. But it does mean that you must own up to your mistakes, learn from them, and move on. Extreme ownership requires discipline and integrity. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it. Because, at the end of the day, Ownership separates the average from the exceptional.

Discipline Equals Freedom

In essence, what Jocko is saying is that if you want to be free to do what you want, when you want, you need to be disciplined. That might sound counterintuitive, but it makes sense when you think about it. Imagine two people—one who is disciplined and one who is not. The undisciplined person wakes up each day and does whatever they feel like doing. They might watch TV all day, or they might go out and party all night. They don’t have any obligations or commitments that they need to honor. As a result, their life is chaotic and directionless.

On the other hand, the disciplined person has a plan and sticks to it. They might have a job they go to every day, or they might have a business they’re trying to grow. They’re constantly working towards their goals, even when they don’t feel like it. As a result, their life is focused and purposeful. And while they may not have the same freedom as the undisciplined person at the moment, in the long run, they are much more free because they are in control of their own lives.

“The test is not a complex one: when the alarm goes off, do you get up out of bed, or do you lie there in comfort and fall back to sleep? If you have the discipline to get out of bed, you win—you pass the test. If you are mentally weak for that moment and you let that weakness keep you in bed, you fail. Though it seems small, that weakness translates to more significant decisions. But if you exercise discipline, that too translates to more substantial elements of your life.”

Jocko Willink

Leadership

Willink said that leadership is not a rank… it’s an approach. He explained that there are three types of people in the world: plants, zombies, and leaders. Plants just go through the motions day-in and day-out. Zombies are people who are going through the motions but are checked out emotionally. Leaders are emotionally invested and committed to their team and the mission.

He went on to say that communication is so important because it enables leaders to efficiently convey their vision to their team so that everyone is on the same page. Lastly, he explained that discipline is key because without it there is no real structure or order. Leaders need to be able to maintain discipline in order to achieve their goals.

“Leaders should never be satisfied. They must always strive to improve, and they must build that mind-set into the team. They must face the facts through a realistic, brutally honest assessment of themselves and their team’s performance. Identifying weaknesses, good leaders seek to strengthen them and come up with a plan to overcome challenges. The best teams anywhere, like the SEAL Teams, are constantly looking to improve, add capability, and push the standards higher. It starts with the individual and spreads to each of the team members until this becomes the culture, the new standard. The recognition that there are no bad teams, only bad leaders facilitates Extreme Ownership and enables leaders to build high-performance teams that dominate on any battlefield, literal or figurative.”

Jocko Willink

Should I read It?

If you want to be truly free, you need to be disciplined. It may not seem like it at first glance, but it’s the only way to live a focused and purposeful life. So if you’re feeling lost or uncertain of what you should do next with your life, remember this principle from Jocko Willink: “Discipline equals freedom.” And then, take the first step towards creating a more disciplined lifestyle for yourself.

Buy it. Read it. Live it.


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6 comments

  1. Sometimes, I’d rather be a prisoner to my bed and eat Cheetos all day long… I don’t think the author would approve.

    Thank you for the review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks like a great read, so I’ll definitely be adding it to my TBR list. There is another book with a similar theme that you may enjoy. It’s called Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven. I enjoyed listening to the author read his book through the Libby app. It’s a 2 hour audiobook, so short, but packed with good stuff like what you’ve shared here.

    Liked by 1 person

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