Extreme Ownership

How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
Narrated by: Jocko Willink, Leif Babin
Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
Categories: Business, Leadership
5 out of 5 stars (52,621 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this updated edition of the blockbuster best-selling leadership book that took America and the world by storm, two US Navy SEAL officers who led the most highly decorated special operations unit of the Iraq War demonstrate how to apply powerful leadership principles from the battlefield to business and life.

Combat, the most intense and dynamic environment imaginable, teaches the toughest leadership lessons, with absolutely everything at stake. Jocko Willink and Leif Babin learned this reality first-hand on the most violent and dangerous battlefield in Iraq. As leaders of SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, their mission was one many thought impossible: help US forces secure Ramadi, a violent, insurgent-held city deemed “all but lost.” In gripping, firsthand accounts of heroism, tragic loss, and hard-won victories, they learned that leadership - at every level - is the most important factor in whether a team succeeds or fails. 

Willink and Babin returned home from deployment and instituted SEAL leadership training to pass on their harsh lessons learned in combat to help forge the next generation of SEAL leaders. After leaving the SEAL Teams, they launched a company, Echelon Front, to teach those same leadership principles to leaders in businesses, companies, and organizations across the civilian sector. Since that time, they have trained countless leaders and worked with hundreds of companies in virtually every industry across the US and internationally, teaching them how to develop their own high-performance teams and most effectively lead those teams to dominate their battlefields. 

Since its release in October 2015, Extreme Ownership has revolutionized leadership development and set a new standard for literature on the subject. Required reading for many of the most successful organizations, it has become an integral part of the official leadership training programs for scores of business teams, military units, and first responders. Detailing the mindset and principles that enable SEAL units to accomplish the most difficult combat missions, Extreme Ownership demonstrates how to apply them to any team or organization, in any leadership environment. A compelling narrative with powerful instruction and direct application, Extreme Ownership challenges leaders everywhere to fulfill their ultimate purpose: lead and win.

©2015 Jocko Willink and Leif Babin (P)2015 Macmillan Audio

Featured Article: 20 Best Business Audiobooks to Launch Your Next Career Move


From thought leadership pieces on productivity to in-depth programs for organizing your team and inspiring innovation, there are numerous areas you can develop in your career. And whether you want to build your own business or are just looking to develop interpersonal skills, there are so many resources for business advice that it can be overwhelming. But these business audiobooks keep it simple and to the point, drawing your attention in with relevant anecdotes and helpful examples. Here are the best 20 business audiobooks to help level up your career.

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    3 out of 5 stars

unbearable to listen too

Mesages are solid. However, the narration is atrocious and makes it very difficult to get through. Make sure to listen to a sample before purchasing.

16 people found this helpful

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I don't read SEAL Books...

As a veteran, I hold a strong resentment for the unabashed self promotion of the SEAL community. This however is one of my favorite books, period. I am glad I set my ego aside and gave it a chance. This book contains all the best points of a capable combat leader, and many points are hidden within main points as well. I recommend this book to all people, regardless of their profession.

440 people found this helpful

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Wow. This one surprised me!

Narrated by the team guys themselves, the authenticity is high from the get-go.

The structure of the book is solid, alternating between battle scenes, and the practical take-away, applicable to the modern business owner/leader.

The central premise is "taking extreme ownership" – as only taking FULL 100% responsibility for your actions and business decisions: can you be an effective leader, correct what's not working, and more.

It's a good book that I consumed quickly – to me it was the audio equivalent of a page-turner. I couldn't listen to it fast enough, and will relisten to it soon:)

155 people found this helpful

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Get ready to get better.

After reading Jacko's book I've gotten up at 5 o'clock every day to work out which, I haven't done so I was 19. This book will change you for the better.

127 people found this helpful

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Sound issues?

The start of almost every sentence from Jocko sounded like the first half of the word was never recorded. I listened to this over Bluetooth headphones and double checked with the IPhone 6s speakers only.

I can’t think of a better way to describe the issue. A scratchy start of sound that is missing the first half of the first word in the start of every sentence that followed any significant pause. The parts read by Leif did not hanged this problem and were delivered like you might expect.

Still worth getting us

13 people found this helpful

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A Must Read!

If you're committed to being a better leader, then this book is a must-read. The authors explain in detail how the hard lessons learned on the battlefield can translate and be applicable in the business world. As someone who is both an Iraq Veteran and small business owner, this book had a mediate applications. I am confident that if you give this book and honest listen and sincerely apply the lessons learned, he will reap benefits from this amazing book. To the authors, thank you for your selfless service to our beloved Republic.

v/r,
Jeno Berta

78 people found this helpful

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Sometimes good

The book opens with the usual disclaimer that all of the stories and conversations have been modified, personalities combined, timelines changed, and some details or other parts added to make everything fit, etc., to protect privacy and confidentiality and whatnot. What follows are hours of badly scripted dialog to sell the authors' consulting services. There are few good stories in this book and several really illustrative leadership applications that will make you think. I did take a few things away from this book, but it is mostly bland made up conversational filler. I broke away twice to listen to 2 other books before finishing this.

180 people found this helpful

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Ridiculouis !

Here's the book in one sentence:

"Accountability is a key performance dimension of effective leaders".

There you go, I've saved you time and money.

I applaud the enthusiasm of the authors, it is entertaining to listen to their spirited narration.

But seriously, these guys have been selectively & voluntarily recruited, highly trained, supported by the best technology and weaponry in history of mankind, over resourced, all the while collecting government salary and benefits...and they tell us their success is because of their remarkable leadership? "There are no bad teams, just bad leaders", really? On what planet?

Here's a revelation from someone who has led high performance business teams successfully in highly competitive markets:

There are bad work teams, defective products, clueless c-suite execs,.obsolete technology, under resourced processes, dysfunctional comp plans, bad market strategy, and on and on. That's the real business world, believing that Extreme Ownership is all a leader needs to demonstrate to drive success is laughable.

There have been enumerable examples of military command and control systems & ultra leaders applied to corporations and politics in our world history, the results speak for themselves.

71 people found this helpful

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Leadership from Soldiers on Business

Overall there is nothing really new to learn. I've read other books that offer similar principles to leadership. If you like war stories, then you'll enjoy the stories they tell about the battle field. If you are looking for new insights into business leadership you'll not find it here. Honestly it is the same ideas that have been used time and again. But it might also remind you of things you've forgotten about leadership. And it might inspire you to try some of those leadership principles again. These guys are definitely American hero's, but they not are going to change anything in the business world.

106 people found this helpful

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Starts Strong...then fades

I really liked this when I started. So much so that I bought another copy for my son. But then it starts to get predictable. Then it gets more predictable, and pedantic, and - frankly - tiresome. I wish it was otherwise, but that's my take.

41 people found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 08-14-18

Life-enriching book

I’ve read a lot of business books and rate this as one of the best.
It makes uncomfortable listening/reading as it (quite rightly) shifts the emphasis on to you for outcomes. Read reviews beforehand that complained about the “war stories”: since this is the analogical tool deployed by the authors - to great effect - I don’t really understand the complaint.
I’m now a dedicated follower of Willink’s blog and Twitter account. Also read his discipline manual. The authors have been there, seen it, done it - and still are. Sound, practical advice by seasoned, respected readers who underscore that winning and success is a matter of choice, hard work and self/discipline. My only regret is I didn’t read this sooner. Interested in self and business improvement: BUY THIS BOOK!

9 people found this helpful

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  • Paschal
  • 04-18-16

Lots of violence but good business lessons also.

I would normally avoid violence.

For example it is 40 years since I enjoyed 2nd world war books.

The Iraq war stories are fascinating especially listening from the perspective of the people who led the missions on the ground.

There were was a huge price to pay for any mistakes.

It makes our leadership challenges seem much less important.

Strangely for that reason the lessons transferred very well.

Our leadership might not be life and death but it is very important in our lives.

It is worth learning from these guys.

8 people found this helpful

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  • josh
  • 03-12-19

More common sense than extreme ownership.

i liked some of the stories behind how they learned these key skills but overall all they really say is take ownership for all that you do.

In terms of reading, they both read in the exact same sort of tempo with which i guess must be a military way of speaking. also Leif's voice is really difficult to listen to for long periods.

Listening to any book after David Goggins was going to be a challenge because how can you compete with that? But this definitely wasn't the one i should have picked next.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Rachael
  • 10-22-15

Absolutely Essential Listening. Badass.

- Thought provoking, insightful, informative, clear, engaging and very well crafted.

- Answers many of the simple, yet often, hugely challenging problems leaders face and provides applicable guidance to generate change and improvement.

- I listened to this whilst training (circuit and long runs) and it helped there too! Not just the experience from the Seal Teams but the principles and the applications to business sections that rounded off each chapter perfectly.

- Offered thoughts and clear guidance on questions as i thought of them, some of them tough and exposed areas for personal development required. Perfect.

- I will now buy the book and make some personal notes as I listen again.

- I will buy the audio/book for others.

Andy Grist
42y
middle grade manager

6 people found this helpful

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  • James C Thompson
  • 11-08-15

Inspired

I found this book inspirational.

Although interesting, at times, I was a little fustrated by the war stories getting in the way of showing their leadership framework.

I am hoping that they will develop on this work and we'll see more from them.

Powerful message excellently delivered. Left me wanting to know more.

9 people found this helpful

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  • JJ
  • 12-14-18

Some fairly basic business advice

Well spoken by the narrator, and the advice is well presented and meaningful. That said the narrator does spend a LOT of time praising his own military unit. So much so that it can become tiresome to listen to. The principles which are *eventually* described are useful for management and leadership, but they are also mainly fairly obvious.

2 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 01-27-17

Limited use for business

There is only so much you can learn from a firefight and use in business. Takes one idea and kills it through repetition.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Janos
  • 04-18-16

I expected to get real methodology

I expected to get real insights to the SEALs decision making process and leadership guidelines. The book is not bad, but too broad with lack of help on continuous improvement.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-13-18

Extreme Repetition + Disappointment

These guys could have huge authority based on their experience, but instead they just constantly brag - as if afraid every 60 seconds that you already forgot they are Seals - while overusing word "humble" + both authors are narrators, and when one finishes a monologue, the other one basically repeats the content in the same words, just different order. The first hour is a Seal-worthy trial: surviving the laundry list of industries they helped with their coaching and war-based credentials repetition ad nauseam. I expected an honest, focused manual of tips. Was not delivered. Couldn't finish.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-20-18

Leave your ego at the door

Difficult to get to the concepts of leadership through the barrage of testosterone, ego and repeated tributes to US forces.

6 people found this helpful

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  • SIMON
  • 12-28-16

Outstanding, an actual 'Good Times' read

As a former military officer I thought the modern generation of leadership training would have moved on from what I was taught over two decades ago, it hasn't, just the basics refined and enhanced (with better toys in support).
In my current role as a C suite executive this book served as a reminder of how these military principles should be applied in the coroporate world.
On a personal note, the recollection of training and combat actions bought back memiories. Often I found myself smiling and nodding in agreement.
Great job lads!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Josh
  • 01-10-17

Extremely Good Book

If you could sum up Extreme Ownership in three words, what would they be?

Get after it

What other book might you compare Extreme Ownership to, and why?

This book is in a category of its own!

What about Jocko Willink and Leif Babin ’s performance did you like?

Both Jocko & Leif have a lot of conviction in there voices.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me re-think previous situation I have been in and how I can improve my reactions in the future.

Any additional comments?

Being ex-military I have found no better information on how to transfer skills to the civilian sector. THIS BOOK SHOULD BE MANDATORY READING FOR DISCHARGING SOLDIERS.

2 people found this helpful

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  • C
  • 01-04-16

Well worth the price

Lots of actionable advice with highly relevant parallels between military experience and its application to business/ life in general. Listened to it twice already. Highly recommend.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-02-18

invaluable wisdom

Jocko imparts the wisdom he learnt through his hard work and sacrifice. Don't miss this opportunity.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Glyn Wilks
  • 04-20-18

Excellent

Amazing book. Loved listening to every minute, and simple to execute the lessons learned. I have begun implementing ownership within my own team and have already begun noticing positive changes. Highly recommend this audio book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mitch
  • 04-03-18

Tested Insight

Read by the authors in tones reflecting their experience, this book offers tried and tested principles of effective leadership in a manner refreshingly free of corporate spin and new-age sophistry. Simple and memorable overarching principles are introduced and then well substantiated with examples from the civilian and military arenas; supporting their potential effectiveness and possible applications to the reader's own life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rayner
  • 03-15-18

Interesting concepts

Well narrated by the authors, the book gives clear and structured leadership principles in a manner that can be practically applied

1 person found this helpful

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  • rob Patterson
  • 05-08-17

Everyone should listen/read this

The narrators are easy to listen to.
Fantastic principles.
I have listened to it twice and will continue to until I have absorbed all of the material.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Edwin
  • 07-20-16

Great book,lots of skills and knowledge to use

If your interested in gaining new leadership skills that are simple to understand this is the book for your.

The authors do a great job of simplifying complex leadership training and experience in a way anyone can understand and implement straight away

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dermott
  • 12-26-19

A must listen to book that tells it like it is

there's many reasons the Navy Seals are an elite fighting force and Willink and Babin take us behind the curtain and demonstrate that leadership creates leaders at all levels and apply the lessons of the battlefield to business. after all strategy comes from the Greek word for war. Listen or else!