Discipline and Leadership Books by Jocko Willink


Way of Warrior Kid Discipline Equals Freedom Dichotomy of Leadership

“… 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.

What do you do to stay disciplined in life? Share with us!

Buy the books here (affiliate links):

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win 

Way of Warrior Kid 

Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual

The Dichotomy of Leadership


About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.