Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

I discovered Jocko Willink watching Joe Rogan’s podcast. I was incredibly impressed by his ability to describe the magnificence and evils of war and human nature. As a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom with 2 deployments to Afghanistan in remote combat outposts where engagements with the enemy were a daily activity, I’m constantly attempting to relate my experiences to individuals who can barely imagine the reality of my story. The setting, the history, the context, and characters sound like things out of the most radical Hollywood story.

Jocko is everything you imagine a GI Joe to be. However, his understanding of human nature could convince you he has a PhD in psychology. Its something you can only learn through experience however. This isn’t something that can be gleaned from years of reading and talking while one of us lays on a couch. After listening to him talk for a few hours I knew I needed to read his book.

The format of the book takes you through Jocko’s principals on leadership and war with each chapter beginning with an amazing story from the military, either from Jocko’s time at BUD/S or the infamous battle of Ramadi. Afterwards, Jocko uses his experience consulting with leaders of corporations to apply his lessons learned to the business world.

This isn’t the first book on leadership I’ve read, but is the first one that has affirmed everything I learned on the battlefield and given me the lexicon to communicate with the corporate world.

The stories of BUD/S and the battle of Ramadi were inspiring and detailed how these leadership principals were not only necessary, but often the deciding factor between success and failure in the most demanding environment on earth.

The stories of the corporate world were, frankly, depressing. Its amazing that these people ever got these jobs in the first place, but frankly its not their fault. The competition and demands just don’t create the leaders the world expects them to be. Or perhaps I was the fool to think that the top of our economic food chain were high performing individuals who earn every cent of their salaries.

It’s ironic today that The Economist published an article on the weird state of corporate leadership today. https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/02/06/what-it-takes-to-be-a-ceo-in-the-2020s

This book was an eye opener. The amount of money these people pay to have someone tell them that they just need to ask is insane.

The world should be ripe for the taking for a guy like me.

Let’s get it on.