Review of The Dichotomy of Leadership

Book written by: Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

The Dichotomy of Leadership lays out 12 major aspects of leadership where people must find balance. Each chapter touches a dichotomy between taking control in some aspect and letting go. The book is a sequel to their first one “Extreme Ownership”. Throughout the read, the authors reference their first book by showing that being too controlling, taking too much ownership, or basically swinging the leadership pendulum too much in any direction will have a negative effect. Here are three points I want to highlight where I want to improve on.

Big Takeaways

First, an aspect of the dichotomy is to have discipline and structure but with grace. While a schedule and flow that is consistent is helpful, humans are not robots. Too much discipline will cause people to shutdown or leave. It’s counter-intuitive to hear that too much discipline is bad from former military members however, that is the truth.

The second point is to have the same relationship with every boss you’re under. The goal here is to have your boss trust you, have them value your opinion and have them give you what you need to accomplish your mission / tasks / goals. For me, this is the most difficult because it requires me to change and adapt to my boss. If I don’t agree with something, I have to adapt to give my boss what he / she needs so that I can complete the mission while also meeting the requirements of my leadership. This brings me to last aspect of showing humility and strength.

Finally, without humility and strength a leader is hard to follow. It makes me think of a saying popularized by Teddy Roosevelt, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” This dichotomy truly can apply to all aspects of leadership.

In summary I wholeheartedly recommend this book for all leaders. Every adult can apply principles of this book to their work life, various organizations and their personal relationships.

You can find “The Dichotomy of Leadership” wherever books are sold. Here is the book’s listing at Echelon Front’s website: Echelon Front is the name of the organization the authors are from and are the companies founders.

Here you can check out my previous book review post: “8 Seconds of Courage

Review of “8 Seconds of Courage: a Soldier’s Story from Immigrant to the Medal of Honor”

8 Seconds of Courage is short book with a deep inspiring story about Flo Groberg’s life from a child in France to the award ceremony for the Medal of Honor. Step by step you read about the events and people that influenced Flo’s life and decisions towards the Medal of Honor. Truthfully, the meritorious recognition is just the country’s way to recognize the commitment and sacrifice that Flo and his Soldiers already committed. The meat and substance lies in the journey to the heroism and then the recovery afterwards.

Key Components

This book really highlights the journey it takes to move on instinct to protect your comrades. Flo is positively influenced by his uncle, finishes college, then joins the army. He then completes Army ranger school and leads two tours in the Middle East. It’s the memories, good and bad, that help lead him to make the right choices that protect lives. However, the 8 seconds of heroism is not the end of the voyage.

After the 8 Seconds of Courage comes recovery. This is where the battle of regret, self worth, courage to face loss and heartbreak edges on for years. Not weeks or months, it’s years of pain. It’s easy to highlight the act of valor or the ceremony for the Medal of Honor. Yet I found the most value in the story of the path to the salute to courage and the dark recovery within.

I fully recommend this book. It is a quick read but I was not able to put it down. The progression features the important points that the reader needs to understand to appreciate the journey of Flo.

You can find 8 Seconds of Courage anywhere books are sold. Here it is, sold on Amazon:

Check out my last book review here.

Review of More Than Enough: Proven Keys to Strengthening Your Family and Building Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey

Copyright 1999, I’m behind the times with this version of “More Than Enough” from Dave Ramsey. What I liked about the book is that you could see the ideas of his later books forming in this one.  I’m not sure I would classify this book as a financial book, it’s more of a behavior text on how to succeed in your aspirations. The entire book is filled with what we now call today (in 2019) Dave Rants.  It provides counseling, quotes and stories touching on good moral values, integrity and character.

Another aspect this book brings is a lot of repetition, however, the repetition tells a story as you read through the chapters. Dave starts with values, vision and goals. He then maps a path that detours into hope, work, diligence, unity, contentment and giving. In between those detours are plenty of stories, quotes and motivational statements to get you fired up.

The Big Picture

Dave’s formula for financial piece starts with a decision to change.  You work on getting better with managing money and get out of debt.  From there, Dave focuses on character and building long term gains with positive moral influences. Surround yourself with who you want to become and be a better spouse, parent, friend, co-worker or citizen. Finally you finish life by serving and giving to others. The financial piece is just a part of the journey to a fulfilling life.

I recommend this book but I should set expectations. This is not just a ‘how to get out of debt’ book. It’s a motivational text on becoming a better person to serve others with a side benefit of financial freedom. It’s Dave’s way of telling you that you can do better and live a more fulfilling life.

Note: the new version, as of 2019, of the book is titled More Than Enough: The Ten Keys to Changing Your Financial Destiny. You can purchase the book here from Dave Ramsey’s store on Amazon:

Check out my last book review here.

Review of ‘Put Your Dream To The Test’

Review of ‘Put Your Dream To The Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It‘ by John C. Maxwell

Everyone has dreams, not the kind when you are sleeping but the kind where you want to do something, have something or be someone that you are not. I have had dreams: be a soccer player, make video games or be an officer in the Military to name a few. This book helps you hone in on your dream and asks tough questions to help you look at your realistic chances of success. This was a good motivational text and helped me get more realistic with what I want to achieve.

Some big takeaways

“Set a clear vision for your dream.” This for me struck a tone because I’m still figuring out my vision. It’s difficult to achieve something when you don’t have a clear goal in mind of what you want. I do set goals for myself but a vision is bigger. That is something I will have to ponder for a while longer. The next takeaway is all about growing past your limits.

“Stay within your strengths, move outside your comfort zone.” This point resonated with me because I have found that when I don’t like to do something, time drags on. However, when I do something I enjoy, it’s like I need to spend all day doing that activity. Now just take that one step further and move out of your comfort zone. If I can push myself one step farther every time, then I can accomplish my goal. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

The last point I want to highlight comes from the end of the book. “It is never too late to help others.” When you help others, you help yourself. I see this when I’m helping a client with a technical issue or when I’m helping family or friends. Nothing gives my life more meaning than when I’m helping someone else. Serving others changes your entire day. When you are consistent, that is when the change is infectious to others.

I do recommend this read. “Put your dream to the Test” was a good use of my time as it asks hard questions. If you take it seriously, this can point you in the correct direction with your dream for your success.

You can purchase the book here from Dr. Maxwell’s website.

Check out my previous book review here:

Review of ‘Ownership Thinking’

Review of Ownership Thinking: How to End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose, and Profit by Brad Hams

As I read Ownership Thinking, I couldn’t help but think of some consistent concepts that keep getting repeated: open communication, including others and listening to their opinions, entitlements are the worst and it all boils down to revenue. This book, and presumably the late Brad’s consulting group, tells leaders that in order to get their team members to bring in more revenue, leaders must include the team more on how they and the company  can improve. I took away a few great concepts I want share below.

Quick Concepts

People prefer accountability. This rings true to me on a deep level. I know that I need to be working towards something, I need a goal. Reading Ownership Thinking reiterates that I need myself and anyone I work with to consider the big picture from time to time and think of ways to improve. I then suggest the improvements to the team and move forward with a plan. Second, the best incentive plans are self funding. I want to reward myself and others, but not at the expense of everyone on the team. Self funding makes sense in my mind, work hard, get rewarded. If you or the team fall short, then no reward. Third, I need to take an entry-level accounting class. Quite frankly, the profit and loss statements and revenue charts are above my head right now and that is an area that I can improve in. Just add that to the list.

Overall, I recommend Ownership Thinking.  I was sad to learn that Brad had passed away but I’m thankful he embellished this book with his wisdom. The last piece I’ll end with is the ‘Adult Contract’. Expanding just a bit, ‘Adults don’t argue with reality’. Adults learn what they can, listen and make a decision. When you recognize you can improve in an area take the steps to make it happen.  Thank you Brad for writing Ownership Thinking.

You can purchase the book here from the book’s website:

Check out my previous book review here.