Bite and Ravage

If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? (Paul of Tarsus, Galatians 5:15, The Message, biblegateway.com)

I saw this morning on Twitter that there is a critical hubbub in the media about Jocko Willink and Leif Babin and their book Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. I am all for freedom of speech and open debate in the media. I believe strongly in the dialectic and it’s power to keep a democracy on track and honest. However, for the dialectic to work, antithesis must be substantive. In this case, the attacks consist largely of opinion and some unsubstantiated polemic. It truly does seem to me a case of biting and ravaging fellow countrymen and patriots. Does this in any way contribute to defeating ISIS or protecting our freedom from Jihadists in general, or from any other enemy for that matter?

Since the public debate seems to have veered definitively toward the anecdotal, I will make bold to share my point of view on the work of Willink and Babin.

  • As a septuagenarian with a Ph.D. in education, an M.A. in French, and a B.S. in Humanties, I have done lots of reading and writing. I find Extreme Ownership substantive and well written. Books on leadership and business operations are favorites of mine. In that genre, Extreme Ownership is for me absolutely among the very best. For example I find it to be on a par with Good to Great and other favorites from Jim Collins. I find it just as effective as the work of Andy Andrews, e.g. Mastering the Seven Decisions. In one special way, Extreme Ownership sets itself apart from other books of the same genre: It offers one unifying principle applicable in almost any situation: ownership. This is for me easier to live and apply than twenty-one or seven or even three principles as presented in other leading works on leadership.
  • I am a great aficionado of audio books and have been for decades. I find the quality of the naration in the audio verison of Extreme Ownership superb, equal to or better than any previous listening experiences.
  • As a retired U.S. Air Force officer and Air Force Academy distinguished graduate, I believe Extreme Ownership should be required reading for every Air Force Academy cadet. I only wish I had understood how to take extreme ownership of my career when I graduated. The Air Force would have earned a much better return on its investment in me. Of that I feel quite certain.
  • I would welcome the chance to  meet Willink’s and Babin’s detractors in private or personal debate. I feel strongly that Willink and Babin are sincere and principled as well as highly competent. I believe that Extreme Ownership came along at a critical point, both for me and for our nation. Extreme Ownership is “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14, New International Version, BibleGateway.com)

I am providing links to the various formats of Extreme Ownership below in the event any reader of this post wishes to become more familiar with the work.

Hardcover
Takeaways
Audio
Kindle

 

Thursday Jueves

Thursday, December 31, 2015. On this very special last Thursday of the year please remember Jueves, Thursday. Remember it today and every Thursday to come.

On Thursday, March 11, 2004, jihadi terrorists executed a murderous coordinated bomb attack against the commuter train system in Madrid, Spain. The explosions killed 191 people and injured more than 1,800. The song Jueves, by the Latin Grammy award winning group La Oreja de van Gogh, commemorates that horrific day.

The tide of terror has only waxed higher since the human hecatomb offered up on the alter of the god of fear on March 11, 2004. May those waters abide far from your doorstep in the new year. But in safety or danger may you always remember what is lost with every human blown to pieces for the Jihad.

You can play and view the song in the video screen below. Note: To see subtitles click on the cc icon. Then select Spanish text or English or both. If you wish to see the annotation about the “poema de Bécquer,” also click the bookmark icon and select . You can navigate the song via the Transcript tab screen right.