Extreme Ownership - How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win
Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Contributed by Larisa Brooke

Review by Simon Robinson 2016

Simon Robinson begins by offering background on the authors, touching on the success of Jocko Willink as a commander of the SEAL team Task Unit Bruiser during the battle of Ramadi. He also highlights their success during the Iraq war. He mentions that the success made it become one of the most decorated Special Forces operations in recent times. He briefly talk about Leif Babin as the co-author of the book, and recognizes him as one of the most decorated Navy SEAL officers, as well as the part he played in the Iraq War. He finishes the introductory chapter by talking about their life after a successful career in the military. The author clearly states that his review is aimed at distilling principles from the book and mapping them to business scenarios (Robinson, 2018).

Robinson then breaks down the three main parts of the book. He states the lessons learned from each chapter progressively from the very first chapter, and points out how each chapter is focused on a different leadership principle derived from the different combat experiences. Robinson also focuses on breaking down the principles to make it understood.

Robinson talks extensively about the values that are derived from the book, specifically how the lack of humility can prevent one from seeing the world the way it is. The author also admits that the book has helped him in knowing more about the operations of the SEALs and how intense the combat experiences can be (Robinson, 2018).

From Robinson’s review, it can be deduced that the operations of the SEALs were planned extensively. The author clearly identifies the three part of the book and puts emphasis on the important ones. Besides that, the author manages to summarize the work effectively in such a way that the reader feels guided on the book of “extreme ownership”. Additionally, Robinson identifies the relevant audience for the book noting entrepreneurs, managers, and employees as the individuals who may benefit most from the principles derived from the book Extreme Ownership.

Review by Tamara White 2018

Tamara White introduces the book by acknowledging that the authors’ intent of bringing the leadership qualities learnt from the Iraq War to a broader context (White, 2018). She states that this leadership lessons learned from the battlefield will serve to save future generations of soldiers from unnecessarily losing their lives.

White’s main focus is on the strong takeaways from this book, noting its focus on how a person taking charge of a group can turn them into a team. (White, 2018). She states that it is not about finding the best people, but how to work with everyone and anyone. Additionally, she alludes that the best leaders take ownership and blame, and seek to overcome the failures and learn from them. White also discusses about issues that arise in the book, including how communication is very important in any organization or group pursuing any mission. It is always important to have a clearly defined set of protocol for communications as it will spell out responsibilities. White also talks about the dichotomies of leadership evident throughout the book, and how the traits have to be balanced and not be excessive in either direction, which can prove detrimental (White, 2018). Finally, she informs reader that this book contains important lessons that can impact someone’s growth.

White’s review is an accurate description of the book Extreme Ownership. She manages to identify some of the principles raised by Willink, and she supports them fully with her own input and direct quotes from the book. Her work clearly shows the reader what to expect from the book, and the carefully selected direct quotes act as the relevant evidence of Willink’s work. Apart from that, White recommends the book to readers as an indication that it is a source of knowledge and important information, especially in the field economic and finance.

Review by Andy Haskins

Andy Haskins begins his review by pointing out the main take-away from the book: that leadership is all about being responsible for everything within your jurisdiction (Haskins paragraph 2). He emphasizes the importance of how most of the values and lessons gained in this book are learned from the combat experiences both authors had gained in Iraq. Haskins also mentiones the format of the book, specifically the theme of division as portrayed in the book.

After reading the book, Haskins asserts that he has learned two important lessons about leadership:

  1. Leadership requires believing in the mission and unyielding perseverance.
  2. Leaders must own everything in their world and there is no one else to blame.

Whether you are past or current military professional, sports coach or player, team leader within an organization, or even business student, leadership qualities can be learned from the book (Haskins, 2016). Hanskins finishes by noting that he has no military interest, yet reading the book familiarized him with the military environment, and generated unexpected excitement.

Andy Haskins’ review is short and precise, where it details more direct quotes from the book as compared to the writer’s own words. The work gives an honest opinion regarding the book. Additionally, Haskins’ work is relevant and directly portrays Willink and Babin’s work in an effective way.

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