Book recommendation: “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Did you know that whenever something fails in your life, it’s your fault? Seriously, if you really think about it. But yes, you are right, this is a provocative thought. I had a colleague make that statement on stage to a room full of peers, I was shocked too. My initial reaction was to react with rebellion and my brain searched for an argument on why this statement is wrong.

After saying that it is always our fault, he recommended us to read the book “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Curiosity. This led me to buy the audio book. I listened to it and I will listen to it again.

I found myself countless times in the book, and how Jocko and Leif can apply their experiences from the battlefield to business is mind blowing. The stories from the battlefield makes the book read like a suspense novel where you find yourself staying up because you can’t put it down.

The book opened up my eyes to look differently at challenges I experience in my job role and in my personal life. It encouraged me think about what I could do different or better how to influence the outcome. What I appreciate a lot is that the book doesn’t promise you that simply taking ownership will change the minds of the people around you in your favor. But it does explain that if your project/team or initiative isn’t the highest priority, then you owe it to the team to execute what is asked of you in the same manner as you would execute your own plan.

Another significant topic of the book is that everything we do for business needs to be simple, easy to understand, and that the context or the big picture is critical to the success of the company. It’s important that everyone at the front line understands clearly what we try to achieve and how their task contributes to the end goal. This ensures that when a person experiences challenges that inhibit the plan, he can easily adjust because he fully understands what it is we want to achieve.

I really love the book and I will go through it again, and again because many things we wish we could change about ourselves needs a lot of repetition, self-awareness, and self-discipline to incorporate a new mindset in our life. And this is one of them.

If you want to be a better leader, then this book is a must read! And I look forward to hearing what your takeaways are from this book.

Written by Dave Kurth
Thriving within my current role as Product Marketing Manager, I am the leader and voice of the Microsoft Azure within the Swiss subsidiary. Views are my own.