Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin is a book that first struck me as “oh gee, another leadership book… here we go.” Yes, some of the ideas proposed in the book are standard leadership fare but the way Willink and Babin approach their lessons really works.

Extreme Ownership takes a different approach than simply listing their (mostly common sense) lessons and mixes them with examples from their service as Navy SEALs. Because I like both of these subjects, it works for me.
Half this book is a fascinating page-turner and half of it is “meh.”

Don’t get me wrong, the leadership portion isn’t bad by any stretch. It is just nothing new IF you have a lot of experience in leadership. If you are new to leadership those sections will likely be quite interesting.

No, there is not a lot new in terms of leadership – but this approach to those lessons is unique. I did however, find myself wanting their leadership portions to get over so I could get back to the stories of their tour in Ramadi.

My review on the leadership portion of the book may sound harsh but let me reiterate that it totally works in this book. I couldn’t put it down even when I did hit on familiar info because the impact those lessons had in war were so much larger than in the corporate board room. This is a good read.

As a business model, I think what they have done at their company Echelon Front is brilliant. Real world, life-and-death lessons on leadership cuts through corporate bull and will carry weight with their customers. I thank them wholeheartedly for their service and wish them the very best with the book and their business.

by Chris Doelle