Book Nook: Extreme Ownership, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Extreme Ownership: How US Navy Seals Lead and Win is, wait for it, a book by two Navy Seals on leadership, released back in 2015. They have published more since, but this was the New York Times bestseller that put the pair on the map.

I have heard Jocko on enough podcast interviews I finally got around to the book this year. Extreme Ownership follows Babin and Willink through their time together as US Navy Seals, the training and practice all that entails, and then follows into their work as consultant firm Echelon Front, which has provided leadership instruction to multiple companies.

Jocko has always been an interesting podcast guests, whether i agreed with what he was saying at the time or not. As for Extreme Ownership, it is a book I would recommend to read earlier in life than later. I say that because it is not exactly knew information. It does have a straight-forward template for each chapter: 1. A Navy Seal experience. 2. The lesson learned and principle that applies. 3. A real-world corporate example of said principle being implemented.

Albeit, this is all testimonial evidence and not exactly backed by behavioral science in the way we think of said science, and it is often tangential, the principles are broad enough to apply.

The principles are not exactly groundbreaking for most–simply re-enforcing what many would tell you what leadership should sound like. But in a world where those principles might not be apparent to a younger generation, I think that is, or should be, the target audience here. I actually gifted this book to a couple high school graduates this year.

At 43, I was following along, and going, well, duh. But that is not to say there is no value here. Quite the contrary. It is a value refresher course for those who feel like they already believe most of these principles. And there is value in providing nourishment to the moral compass every now and then.


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