I was introduced to Jocko Willink via my buddy, Murph, retweeting one of Jocko’s 4:30 am wristwatch snapshots.
Jocko’s caption read, “You know what to do. Do it.”
Curious, I did some research, and my world improved.
Jocko is a (former for some, current for others) U.S. Navy Seal/husband/father/consultant/author/mixed-martial-artist/surfer/weightlifter/badass.
Extreme Ownership uses the incredible lessons Jocko and co-author, Leif Babin, learned from their time serving our country in the thick of the Iraqi war.
The authors provide the outline of the book far better than I can:
“This book is organized into three parts… ‘Winning the War Within’ develops the fundamental building blocks and mind-set necessary to lead and win. ‘The Laws of Combat’ covers the four critical concepts [Cover and Move, Simple, Prioritize and Execute, and Decentralized Command] that enable a team to perform at the highest level and dominate. Finally, ‘Sustaining Victory’ discusses the more nuanced and difficult balance that leaders must navigate in order to maintain the edge and keep the team perpetually operating at the highest level.” (Pg 14)
I loved the format of Extreme Ownership.
Jocko and Leif detail the critical lessons in leadership they learned from the mind-blowing situations they faced while serving in Iraq. They don’t stop there. They follow with a section on how those skills specifically apply to business leadership. I always enjoy cross-discipline skills, and the lessons from our military heroes stand out at the top of the list for most valuable insights.
Whether discussing combat or business, Jocko and Leif make it clear that strong leadership is the most important attribute for success. A strong leader embraces accountability in all aspects of life.
“As the commander, everything that happened on the battlefield was my responsibility. Everything. If a supporting unit didn’t do what we needed it to do, then I hadn’t given clear instructions. If one of my machine gunners engaged targets outside his field of fire, then I had not ensure he’d understood where his field of fire was. If the enemy surprised us and hit us where we hadn’t expected, then I hadn’t though through all the possibilities. No matter what, I could never blame other people when a mission went wrong.” (pg 35)
To this end, Extreme Ownership, provides more than just gripping stories. The book orchestrates an entire transformation in mindset.
Who is the leader of your life? Who is responsible for achieving financial success, for supporting your family, for fulfilling your dreams and living an enriched life? You are. Extreme Ownership has a zero tolerance policy for victim mentality. Embracing the concept obliterates the idea that we cannot control our own outcomes and correctly transfers responsibility back to ourselves.
I cannot recommend this book, following Jocko on Twitter, and listening to his podcast, more. One of my favorites.