“Can you recommend a book for…?”
“What are you reading right now?”
“What are your favorite books?”
I get asked those types of questions a lot and, as an avid reader and all-around bibliophile, I’m always happy to oblige.
I also like to encourage people to read as much as possible because knowledge benefits you much like compound interest. The more you learn, the more you know; the more you know, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more opportunities you have to succeed.
On the flip side, I also believe there’s little hope for people who aren’t perpetual learners. Life is overwhelmingly complex and chaotic, and it slowly suffocates and devours the lazy and ignorant.
So, if you’re a bookworm on the lookout for good reads, or if you’d like to get into the habit of reading, this book club for you.
The idea here is simple: Every month, I’ll share a book that I’ve particularly liked, why I liked it, and several of my key takeaways from it.
I’ll also keep things short and sweet so you can quickly decide whether the book is likely to be up your alley or not.
Alright, let’s get to the takeaways.
Mentioned on the show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hey, it’s another episode of Muscle For Life. Welcome, welcome. I am your host, Mike Matthews, and thank you for joining me today to learn about a book that I liked. Now, why am I doing an episode about books that I like? Well, I often get. Asked for book recommendation. Many people want to know what my favorite books are on various topics.
They want to know what books I am reading right now, or what books I’ve read recently, and which ones I’ve liked, as well as my all-time favorite books. Again, on various topics or in various genres, and as an avid reader. And all around bi file. I am always happy to oblige. I also like to encourage people to read as much as possible because knowledge benefits you much like compound interest because the more you learn, the more you know.
The more you know, the more you can do, and the more you can do, the more opportunities you have to succeed. On the flip side, I really do believe that there is little hope for people who are not perpetual learners. Life is overwhelmingly complex and chaotic, and it slowly suffocates and devours the lazy and ignorant.
So if you’re a bookworm on the lookout for new good stuff to read, or if you would just like to get into the habit of reading, then this episode is for you and this series of episodes is for you. I post one every four to six weeks or so. And the idea behind the series is very simple. I share books that I have particularly liked.
I explain why I liked them, and I share several of my key S from the books. Usually it’s five, sometimes it’s three, as well as some of my own thoughts on those key takeaways. Also, if you like, What I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world, and we’re on top because every ingredient and dose in every product is backed by peer reviewed scientific research.
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Please do consider supporting Legion so I can keep doing what I love, like producing more podcasts like this. Okay, so let’s get to the featured book, which is Extreme Ownership by Jocko Wilin and Leaf Babin. Now over the last couple of millennia, many smart and successful people have said many things about leadership and like any subject or activity, a minority of those things have proven uniformly workable, and are now recognized as first.
Principles and this book, extreme Ownership is an exploration of several of these non-negotiable laws of effective leadership, including one. A leader is only as good as he or she can win. Two, a leader must be fully responsible for everything in his or her world. Three. A leader must face reality as it is, not as he or she wishes it.
Were four. A leader must earn the trust. Confidence and respect of those he or she is leading. And five, a leader must put the group’s wellbeing before his or her ego and personal interests. What’s more, this book wasn’t written by an ivory tower intellectual or an executive sidekick who maybe has worked with great leaders but never actually led themselves.
No. This was written by a couple of frontline soldiers who not only led men into battle. But into some of the heaviest and sustained urban combat operations in the history of the SEAL teams that successfully rested control of the war torn city of Ramad Iraq, away from Al-Qaeda loyalists. This book is a distillation then of the leadership principles and practices that proved the most successful during their time as soldiers, and specifically during the battle of Ramadi.
And these teachings were so successful that they were subsequently incorporated throughout the SEAL teams as standard protocols. Now, as you can guess, leadership precepts that work in the harshest conditions imaginable. War are easily transferrable to lower stakes endeavors like business and even interpersonal relationships.
Hence the popularity of this book, which explains how the authors have helped business people use these hard one lessons to create bonanzas and breakthroughs. Additionally, this book is not just for people in a leadership position at work or elsewhere. I think it’s for people who aspire to lead in. Any capacity, starting with simply taking charge of their own affairs for their own benefit.
Because unless someone can assume full responsibility, full ownership, extreme ownership for their immediate sphere of influence, what is directly under their control, and unless they can earn their own trust and their own. Confidence through thoughtful planning and effective execution that produces desirable long-term results, they will never be able to create or even meaningfully contribute to a group that win.
And so this is a book that I recommend you read regardless of whether you consider yourself. A leader, we’ve all been tasked with leadership of minimally just ourselves. Right? Nature has given us that job. Our creator has given us that job or some cosmic unknown force or entity has, right? And our ability to flourish depends primarily on how well we can execute that mission.
So let’s get to the takeaways. The first one is quote, the leader must own everything in his or her world. There is no one else to blame. The leader must acknowledge mistakes and admit failures, take ownership of them, and develop a plan to win. Now my note here is by my lights. This really is the most powerful teaching in the book.
Effective leadership requires the willingness to be ultimately responsible for everything that leads to the group’s success or failure. Because the moment a leader explains a failure by pointing their finger elsewhere or making an excuse, they abdicate from their position. Now, as the title of the book implies, the authors champion this mindset.
In the extreme, no matter the circumstances, they say an effective leader always accepts ownership of the outcome and never tries to finesse their mishap. The authors share many examples of this attitude in action throughout the book, ranging from wrestling with administrative palaver to executing dangerous missions with unskilled and unreliable Iraqi soldiers.
And the moral of the stories is simple, no matter the reason. If we’re not getting the outcomes that we want, we must hold ourselves exclusively accountable and then figure out why we’re floundering and what it’ll take to win. Now many people find this philosophy unpalatable. Because it invalidates their precious justifications for their failures.
But the proof of the extreme ownership pudding is in the eating because the less inclined someone is to make excuses, the more successful they are. That is one of those axiomatic observations of life. And on the other hand, the people that are going nowhere. Always have a wheelbarrow of excuses to explain why.
The crucial realization here is this, nearly every problem we could ever have has a solution. It may not be the one we want, but it is a solution. It may not be easy, it may not be enjoyable, but who said it should be no matter how difficult or daunting a situation is there is. Always a path forward, whether we take it is on us.
Okay. Takeaway number two, quote. There are no bad teams, only bad leaders. My note here is if a group isn’t winning, it’s only because the leader has not created the conditions necessary to win. Maybe they have the wrong attitude. Maybe they haven’t developed the right plans. Maybe they haven’t assembled the right.
Team. Maybe they’re asking people to do things they’re unwilling to do themselves. Maybe they’re more interested in assigning blame than discovering solutions. Maybe they’re weak hearted or complacent, or maybe it’s some other factor. And that’s a philosophy that I remind myself of when any part of my businesses aren’t performing to my expectations, it would be easy to pass the buck to employees who did bad work or vendors who didn’t deliver as promised, but.
Who’s responsible for the systems used to hire those employees and vendors? Who’s responsible for ensuring those employees are trained and evaluated and reassigned or dismissed if necessary? Who’s responsible for making sure vendors are held to our agreement? Oh, that’s right. It’s me in every case. So if I’m dissatisfied with the effects that I have created, then there’s only one question.
To ask, what am I gonna do about it? And therein lies the real power of this prism of extreme ownership. It automatically orients you away from stewing about the past and fretting over the future and toward taking action to create a favorable tomorrow. I apply this perspective to the maximum degree too, to every.
Effect I experience in every corner of my life, both good and bad, including the occurrences that many people would say are simply beyond my control. I agree that there are many forces in life that are outside my control. But this is a pre-condition for any game because if everything is under your control, what fun is that?
Right? And who’s responsible for the decision to participate in this game of life? Who’s responsible for the decisions to expand that participation? To include more people and more activities and greater ambitions? Who’s responsible for learning how to keep winning? If I’m going to keep playing, and you know what I really like about this approach to living is its elegance because it doesn’t matter whether it’s ultimately true in a metaphysical sense because if you just behave.
As if it were true, you will immediately increase your ability and your potential. And that’s something that really resonates with a died in the wool pragmatist like me. Okay, let’s move on to the next takeaway quote. When it comes to standards as a leader, it’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.
And my note here is no matter what a person in a leadership position says, or writes, or even does themselves, if they accept. Substandard performance from people in their charge, that will become the new standard for the group at large. A downward drift in execution and achievement will be inevitable.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon leaders to not only embody, but also uphold. The virtues and values are required for winning and to communicate and enforce consequences for failing to meet those standards. And this is a lesson I’ve had to learn more than once in building my businesses because in several instances, I’ve allowed the wrong people to stick around much longer than I should have, and significantly retarded growth as a result in one case, for example, I truly believe.
That Legion, my sports nutrition company would be at least double its current size. If I had fired and replaced a key employee a couple years earlier than I did, which given the circumstances at that time would’ve been perfectly appropriate, this principle of getting what you tolerate applies to a lot more than business too, because we get the body that we tolerate.
We get the mind that we tolerate, we get the relationships that we tolerate, the community that we tolerate, the government we tolerate. And really the world that we tolerate. In other words, while we may not feel we are responsible for the vicissitudes of life disease, dysfunction, hardships, we’re minimally responsible for tolerating them extreme ownership.
Okay, take away Number four. Leaders must delegate the planning process down the chain as much as possible to key subordinate leaders. Team participation even from the most junior personnel is critical in developing bold, innovative solutions. To problem sets. Now, my note here is in business, in life, many people become leaders by first excelling at something, right?
By being able to personally produce outstanding results in some activity. Now many of those same people then struggle as managers or directors because they. Can’t or won’t give up any control of plans and operations, or even seek input from their team members. Instead, these wouldbe leaders believe that they know best and they seek to direct every part of every process, and the result is a group of demotivated, disengaged, and discontent people who will never.
Perform at a high level. Now, the solution according to the authors, is ensuring that everyone involved in a project has ownership of some part of it, even if it seems trivial. For example, the authors noted that the soldiers who experienced the most combat fatigue, dejection, and skepticism were the ones who were given the least amount.
Of ownership of the planning of the operations that they participated in. And conversely, the operators who fared the best mentally, emotionally, and spiritually all had ownership of some part of the plans they executed, even if it was just picking a route to travel or a method for breaching an entry door or a protocol for coordinating with supporting aircraft.
So the point here is, Good leaders create understanding and buy-in by encouraging opinions, questions, and suggestions from everyone, no matter their station, and by resisting the urge to domineer and to discourage discussion or dissent. Okay, take away number five, quote. Implementing extreme ownership requires checking your ego and operating with a high degree of humility, admitting mistakes, taking ownership, and developing a plan to overcome.
Challenges are, Integral to any successful team. And my note here is this really encapsulates the secret sauce of good leadership. It isn’t raw talent or skill or confidence, but modesty, diligence, self-awareness. In other words, the absence of ego. A leader must maintain the willingness and the discipline to conduct.
Honest, realistic assessments of their own performance and that of their team. And they must accept that there’s always someone out there who is better than they are, and that they always have more to learn. They must remember that as the poet, the agonist wrote the first thing, the God’s bestow on those who they wish to annihilate.
Is pride. What’s more great leaders keep their ego in check by holding themselves to standards that others consider excessive or unreasonable. Because winning alone is not enough. People can get lucky and win, but can they be the best version of themselves? Can they embody more and more of their. True potential.
That is the inner scorecard as Warren Buffet put it, that exceptional leaders measure themselves against not others’ opinions on what objectively qualifies as success. All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or.
Wherever you’re listening to me from, in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility, and thus, it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well.
And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com. Just muscle f o r life.com and share your thoughts on how I can do this better.
I read everything myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback, even if it is criticism. I’m open to it and of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.
That is the best way to get ahold of me, Mike, at multiple life.com. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.