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Publisher's Summary

"Never shall I fail my comrades.... I will shoulder more than my share of the task, whatever it may be, one hundred percent and then some."
—from the Ranger Creed

In early March 2010, General Stanley McChrystal, the commanding officer of all U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, walked with President Hamid Karzai through a small rural bazaar. As Afghan townspeo­ple crowded around them, a Taliban rocket loudly thudded into the ground some distance away. Karzai looked to McChrystal, who shrugged. The two leaders continued greeting the townspeople and listening to their views.

That trip was typical of McChrystal’s entire career, from his first day as a West Point plebe to his last day as a four-star general. The values he has come to be widely admired for were evident: a hunger to know the truth on the ground, the courage to find it, and the humility to listen to those around him. Even as a senior commander, McChrystal stationed him­self forward, and frequently went on patrols with his troops to experience their challenges firsthand.

In this illuminating memoir, McChrystal frankly explores the major episodes and controversies of his eventful career. He delves candidly into the intersection of history, leadership, and his own experience to produce a book of enduring value.

Joining the troubled post-Vietnam army as a young officer, McChrystal witnessed and participated in some of our military’s most difficult struggles. He describes the many outstanding leaders he served with and the handful of bad leaders he learned not to emulate. He paints a vivid portrait of the traditional military establishment that turned itself, in one gen­eration, into the adaptive, resilient force that would soon be tested in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the wider War on Terror.

McChrystal spent much of his early career in the world of special operations, at a time when these elite forces became increasingly effective - and necessary. He writes of a fight waged in the shadows by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which he led from 2003 to 2008. JSOC became one of our most effective counterterrorism weapons, facing off against Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Over time, JSOC gathered staggering amounts of intelligence in order to find and remove the most influential and dangerous terrorists, including the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The hunt for Zarqawi drives some of the most gripping scenes in this book, as McChrystal’s team grappled with tricky interrogations, advanced but scarce technology, weeks of unbroken surveillance, and agonizing decisions.

McChrystal brought the same energy to the war in Afghanistan, where the challenges loomed even larger. His revealing account draws on his close relationships with Afghan leaders, giving readers a unique window into the war and the country.

Ultimately, My Share of the Task is about much more than war and peace, terrorism and counterin­surgency. As McChrystal writes, "More by luck than design, I’d been a part of some events, organizations, and efforts that will loom large in history, and more that will not. I saw selfless commitment, petty politics, unspeakable cruelty, and quiet courage in places and quantities that I’d never have imagined. But what I will remember most are the leaders."

©2013 Stanley A. McChrystal (P)2013 Penguin Audio

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Understanding Our Most Recent Wars

If you could sum up My Share of the Task in three words, what would they be?

Understanding our Involument

What other book might you compare My Share of the Task to and why?

Unique , General Stanley McChrystal has personalized the 3 wars that we are presently involed. We see how from a young boy his destiny was to be person in charge.His desired to have open and transparent communication was his biggest asset.

What does Kevin Collins bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The inflection of his voice and timing adds to the excitment and drama of the story

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

NO, much of what is presented must be thought about ,reflected on, so you understand the General's involement.

Any additional comments?

With our present administration's foreign policy, this book explains the questions of why. I don't feel this soldier was listen to by our administration . The culture, prior events,and tribes of the area, General Stanley McChrystal's account is current and honest- A rare attribute today.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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One of the greatest modern leaders

Throughout my career, GEN McCrystal and I have crossed paths many times. From when I was a brand new PVT giving then COL McCrystal a very awkward saluter raking the rocks at 3/75 and seeing him just laugh to a chance encounter at green ramp on Pope AFB when I was assigned to the 82nd. He always was a leader I wanted to emulate. This book only solidified my feelings. A true leader and a great human being. Men and Soldiers like him is what makes America and our Armed Forces so great.

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Exceptional story of our nation & it's leadership!

Thoroughly enjoyed this memoir, it tells a incredible story about our counties leadership. it is sad how powerful the pen is and how much main stream media abuses their use of it for personal gain. When reading, I put trust in the author to be honest and that they earned this trust when published.

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A Great Look at a Great Leader!

What made the experience of listening to My Share of the Task the most enjoyable?

General (retired) McChrystal has a unique and incredible story to tell. As a major player in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his memoir is a relevant study in recent U.S. conflict. As one with great interest in the topic of warfare, particularly recent warfare, this memoir is an excellent resource.

What was one of the most memorable moments of My Share of the Task?

While McChrystal does not narrate the book, he does narrate the conclusion. Hearing him talk about leadership and give guidance to the reader is something worth listening to at least once, if not several times over. Further, hearing his challenges as a leader provide great insight into how he led Soldiers and how he overcame many, many challenges.

Which character – as performed by Kevin Collins – was your favorite?

This question isn't really relevant for this title.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

McChrystal's closing words. He comments, "If I had to do it over again, I'd do some things in my career differently, but not many. I believed in people, and I still believe in them. I trusted and I still trust. I cared and I still care. I wouldn't have had it any other way.... To the young leaders of today and tomorrow, it's a great life. Thank you."

Any additional comments?

If you are interested in learning about the military and recent conflicts, leadership, or you are looking for a worthwhile autobiography to read - this is an excellent choice. <br/><br/>And if you found yourself buying into media hype or watching Netflix's "War Machine," I'd recommend you give this book a listen/read before you make a final conclusion.

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War Games very biased

Got this from watching Netflix War Games. Like any story there's two sides but it makes it clear media bias and

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Superb story of commitment and introspective leadership

Superb book. Great narration at 1.25x. Although McCrystal is very politically correct throughout in he sense that he does not blame others for their failures and poor decisions (Including the president and the dishonest Rolling stone reporter) ... he demonstrates through it a sense of introspective that all leaders need and so few actually practice. He is clearly one of the great leaders of our time because of this exact perspective on life. ALL leaders should practice this. Additionally his steadfast support from his wife through incredible sacrifice that few spouses and almost no one outside the military will ever know, is truly remarkable and laudable. She must be an incredible lady. I respect General McCrystal even more for the picture he draws of his wife Annie ... she is an incredible spokesperson for all the military spouses out there and as a retired member, husband of an incredible military spouse and the father of 3 service members, I thank you!

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Filled with great lessons:

General Stanley McChrystal will be one of many great leaders students of leadership will look back on and study. Authentic leadership found here.

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Loved this Book

To me, if you are in pursuit of leadership, are developing your leadership skills, or just want to leave a great book as a more thoughtful individual than when the book found you, you would be hard-pressed to find better than Ret. General Stan McChrystal's memoir. Enjoy it.

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Excellent historical document

General McCrystal's service was honorable and his perspective of the War on Terror was very much appreciated.

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Mattis, Flynn and McMaster Too

Long but chocked full of interesting detail. Iraq, Afghanistan. Many good references to leadership reads that a General reads.