“… one of the most fundamental and important truths at the heart of Extreme Ownership: there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.” – Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win
“The most important part of discipline is following rule that you set for yourself.” – Way of the Warrior Kid
“Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.” – Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual
Jocko Willink knows something about discipline from his time as a U.S. Navy Seal. He now uses his knowledge to inspire people to use discipline in their personal and professional lives. He even wrote a book for children about discipline. While it’s great to be highly motivated to accomplish something, Willink believes that it is discipline that will take people to a place where they will accomplish their goals.
My husband introduced me to Jocko after stumbling upon him on Twitter. His approach sounded intriguing, so I added his books to my list. I read his children’s book first so my oldest children could read it. Then I read the Discipline Equals Freedom followed by Extreme Ownership since that’s the order they became available at the library.
The Way of the Warrior Kid tells the story of a boy who is not doing well at school both grade-wise and friend-wise. His uncle visits for the summer and asks if he’s willing to work on the areas he’s weaker in, such as pull-ups, swimming and studying. The boy agrees and his uncle helps him become disciplined and it results in a great start to the next school year. The book is geared toward children in grades 4-8.
Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual is a collection of advice, sayings, exercises and life rules. It reminded me of a coffee table book, but it does a good job of highlighting how to implement discipline in life. The tone of the book is like a personal trainer talking to his trainee. This book would appeal to anyone looking to stick with any exercise routine or diet.
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win is co-written with another Seal, Leif Babin. The book goes over 12 leadership topics and shows how lessons they learned while being Navy Seals applies to leading a group or company. The leader of a team can have a tremendous influence on how well the team performs. Communication, ego, decisiveness and planning are all topics covered in the book. I found the book a little wordy, but the topics and lessons make it a great leadership book.
Overall, I would recommend all three of these books. Jocko also has a podcast and is active on Twitter, often showing his workout times.
Update for January 2019:
The Dichotomy of Leadership continues Jocko and Leif’s leadership lessons that they learned from being Navy Seals. While Extreme Ownership was a great overview of leadership skills, the main point of The Dichotomy of Leadership is that in each leadership skill, great leaders find the right balance. A leader had to know when rules absolutely must be followed and when they can be broken. A leader must know when to made the decisions and when to delegate. The book follows the same format as Extreme Ownershipwith a real-life example from the Navy Seals that is then applied to the leadership lesson of the chapter. However, some of the examples seemed a bit of a stretch for these more minute details of leadership. While I highly recommend Extreme Ownership, The Dichotomy of Leadership is more for people who still have questions about the skills found in Extreme Ownership after reading it.
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