Coach's Casebook

Book Review: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Book Review: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Book Review: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin


Have you ever wondered why, when a Government begins to struggle with a challenging situation, they call upon a military capability to help resolve it.

The National Guard in the US is often called upon to support the civil community in a crisis, the UK MOD are routinely called upon to support anything from supporting the security of the Olympics and Commonwealth games to eradicating ‘Foot and Mouth’ disease.

In Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin explain how the military and, in particular,  Special Operations Forces like the SEALS get things done!

In short, the 3 reasons the SEALS are one of the most effective military forces in the world are:
  1. Strong Leadership.
  2. Innovation in not accepting the status quo.
  3. Getting the basics absolutely right every time.
Extreme Ownership is an  treatise on how these three elements are combined in military operations and how they can be adapted to the modern business world.
Willink and and Babin have served in some of the most challenging military operations and harshest environments in the World and have some thrilling and gripping tales to tell about their exploits.
These tales alone would make a fantastic read, but Willink and Babin have used their stories to provide vignettes of learning; case studies that explore the principles of high performance leadership and how they apply to both the military domain and the modern business world.


Each chapter begins with a story from the battlefield or a training scenario, leading to a specific principle and finally an exploration of how the principle has been applied by the authors in businesses that have been struggling.


Each chapter explores the fundamental facets of leadership including:


  • What extreme ownership is.
  • No bad teams only bad leaders.
  • The importance of belief.
  • The need to check the Ego.
  • Understanding how to Cover and Move.
  • Keeping things simple.
  • Learning to Prioritise and Execute.
  • Decentralised Command and Control.
  • The importance of planning.
  • The need to lead both upwards and downwards.
  • Being decisive despite uncertainty.
  • Understanding how discipline equals freedom.
With lessons that are clear and applicable to almost any challenge, project or task, these principles of leadership will encourage you to take Extreme Ownership and lead your team to success.


A thrilling read and packed full of lessons for any leader, this book deserves to be on the shelf of any leader or anyone that aspires to lead.

Dare to Aspire


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