I recently finished all four adult books (he also has a children’s book) by former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink. Two of those books are co-authored by his SEAL colleague Leif Babin. I loved all four of these. Three of them are now required reading for my company leadership team. The fourth, Discipline Equals Freedom, should be required reading for every human. I absolutely loved all four of these books.
Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual, Jocko Willick
Our nation is going soft, especially during this crisis when folks seem like they cannot decide for or take care of themselves, instead relying on government to tell them what to do. Frankly, I don’t even recognize this nation anymore and that started well before this crisis. People are soft. People are sheep.
This nation was built by tough men and it will be killed by soft ones – both mentally and physically soft people. Our nation seeks comfort rather than challenge. So when the challenge arrives we fold. Very few seem to want to put in the hard work. Everyone wants the easy path.
“People look for the shortcut. The hack.
And if you came here looking for that: you won’t find it.
The shortcut is a lie. The hack doesn’t get you there.
And if you want to take the easy road, it won’t take you to where you want to be: Stronger. Smarter. Faster. Healthier. Better. Free.
To reach goals and overcome obstacles and become the best version of you possible it will not happen by itself. It will not happen cutting corners, taking shortcuts, or looking for the easy way.
There is no easy way.
There’s only hard work, late nights, early mornings, practice, rehearsal, repetition, study, sweat, blood, toil, frustration, and discipline. Discipline.
There must be discipline.”
If you believe that as much as do, you will love this book as much as I did. Today I finished former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink’s fourth book, his second field manual. I loved this one even more than I loved the previous three. I’ve never read a book that summarizes my own mindset so succinctly.
This book doesn’t give you a life plan, although it does give you a short workout plan at the end. This book tells you how to think. It’s broken up into 58 different sections, most of them no more than two pages long. Jocko explains how to think, how to train and how to eat.
Just some examples:
How to deal with negativity.
How to deal with stress.
Why you should embrace the suck.
Why you should wake up early.
What to eat.
The importance of being able to protect yourself.
Why diversity is good.
How to view death.
Everyone should read this book today. Then they should start thinking like Jocko. Not only can this mindset save you. It can save this nation.
Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willick
This is hands down the best leadership book I have ever read. If you lead any group of people, especially in business, you need to stop what you’re doing and order this book right now.
A leader should take responsibility for every failure.
A leader must explain the why and not just the what.
A leader must keep missions simple.
A leader must identify and mitigate risks before the mission.
A leader must lead both up and down. Lead up by giving superiors all information they need.
Leaders must build a decentralized command structure.
Leaders should not try to manage more than six people.
The lessons from former Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin go on and on.
I loved this book and can not recommend it enough. Go get it now.
The Dichotomy of Leadership, Jocko Willick
Finding balance can oftentimes be so hard. When to push and when to relax. When to punish the children and when to let it go. When to eat the burger and when to eat the salad. Finding balance is especially hard when leading people.
How do you lead while not micromanaging?
How do you push people hard without burning them out?
How do you keep discipline without killing culture?
How do you plan while remaining flexible?
How do you keep focused while keeping your eye on the big picture?
For me I’ve even struggled with how much I should hang out with my team after hours.
It’s all a delicate balance or what Willink and Babin call “the dichotomy of leadership.”
As part of my journey to 50 books in 2020 I am reading all four of Willink’s adult books (and two coauthored with Babin) back to back. This is number two and like ‘Leadership Strategy and Tactics Field Guide’ I absolutely loved this book. This is a must read for any person leading a group of people.
Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual, Jocko Willick
I’ve been obsessed with special forces since my first GORUCK event a few years ago. I won’t go into all the detail of how much craziness I’ve done and how much pain I’ve put my body through at the hands of special forces operators. I’ve written about that extensively.
It’s not the physical hardships or even the weapons training that had the biggest impact on my life. From these operators I learned how I want to lead my company. Through all the pain I learned that the mentality, culture and operations of special forces units translate well into business.￼ That’s exactly what Jocko Willink lays out in this book, a must read for all business leaders.
Jocko writes “when you are a leader, there are no excuses, and there is no one else to blame. You have to make decisions. You have to build relationships. You have to communicate so that everyone can understand. You have to control your ego and your emotions. You have to be able to detach. You need to instill pride in the team. You need to train the team. You need to be balanced and tactful and aware, and you have to take ownership. The list goes on and on and makes up this incredible complex undertaking that we call leadership. And if you do all the things well – if you lead effectively – the team will be successful, and the mission will be accomplished. If you do not lead effectively, it will fail, and the team will not accomplish the mission. Leadership is all on you. But at the same time, leadership is not about you.￼”
If you lead teams of any kind, you need to read this book.