mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Manager Reads - Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

It’s been a while since my last Manager Reads post as Octopath Traveler cut into my reading time but I’m back to report on my latest managerial read: Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by decorated former U.S. Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

Who recommended the book? This book is highly regarded by our Ads leader here at Twitch, Mike Minton. My manager – Ravi – picked it up and also really enjoyed it so he pushed for it at the most recent meeting of the Twitch Manager Book Guild as the next book for us to dive into.

Judge the book by its cover, font, page quality? The cover is a simple black cover with a high impact title in large font featuring the SEAL Trident and a large red banner that screams #1 New York Times Bestseller. Can’t blame anyone here: if I was a #1 New York Times Bestseller I’d slap it prominently on my book as well! The paper inside this book is nice and thick with very, very little highlighter ink bleeding through. The font, point size, and leading inside also pleased my not-very-strict eye. Overall, 👍 across the board.

Thoughts on the book and the big take-aways? Extreme Ownership was a very worthwhile read. The authors posit that “leadership is simple, but not easy.” Why? Because “leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.” A simple statement for sure but executing on owning everything in your world isn’t easy. But don’t fret! The book walks through strategies for living Extreme Ownership and how to achieve victory in whatever you may be working on. The major strategies I took away from my read:

  • Check the Ego - Always check your ego, operate with humility, and never get complacent. Ego drives successful people but don’t let it become destructive!
  • Decentralized Command - An effective team will be able to function with their leader absent because that team will have many leaders on the team capable of taking the reigns as needed.
  • Believe - A leader needs to truly believe in the mission if they ever hope to convince their team to also believe in the mission.
  • Decisiveness Amid Uncertainty - We will never be certain about what’s the right decision so leaders must be able to make a decision within this uncertainty and course-correct as more information reveals itself.

And that is only 4 out of 12 principles the book covers! 😲

Favorite quote from the book? “Leaders must be free to move to where they are most needed, which changes throughout the course of an operation.”

Elevator pitch for suggesting (or not suggesting) the book? I started reading this book on Friday night and was done by Sunday night; it’s a pleasure to read and will positively transform your view of leadership.

Notes in Evernote? My notes don’t capture the battle narratives and business examples that serve as real-world models of the principles covered in Extreme Ownership, but feel free to review my notes on 🐘.

Most of the world’s wisdom is written down in its best books. Manager Reads is a series covering books on management and leadership, focusing on books that can improve your own leadership with the wisdom of others. Enjoyed this post and want to see more? Check out more at Manager Reads.