Extreme Ownership [Book Summary]

Why this Book is Awesome 

Extreme Ownership is a book written by ex-Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin that walks the reader through how to use extreme ownership, prioritization and decentralized command to make the right decisions and execute to perfection. They pull from their experience on the battlefield and show how these can be applied to career, business and life.


Extreme Ownership Book Review

How to Implement Extreme Ownership:

– The 5 Laws of Leadership: Discipline Equals Freedom, Cover and Move, Simplify Plans, Prioritize and Execute and Decentralize Command

– Clearly state the Commander’s Intent, make simple SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and make the team execute by practicing prioritization, decentralization and decisiveness

– The leader must BELIEVE in the mission, rally his troops around it, prioritize and execute on the deliverables and decentralize command to secure the objective

– REALIZE that in any team, in any organization, the responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader. And there are no bad teams, just bad leaders: This was proved by the fact that switching leaders also switched the team’s positions in SEAL training. Finally, great leaders don’t find excuses. They ALWAYS find a way to get it done

– Inspire a culture of discipline in your team – and check ego at the door

– SIMPLIFY: Complex bonus systems, Standard Operating Procedures only work to hinder success, not help it. SIMPLIFY

– PRIORITIZE AND EXECUTE: What is most important? What is second most important? And so on… List them, delegate and execute

– DECENTRALIZED COMMAND: Explain the Commander’s Intent to the troops and give them the authority to adjust along the way. This gives the leader the freedom to detach from the operations on the field just enough to be able to connect the dots and seem like a tactical genius

– COVER AND MOVE: When the team knows what to achieve, practices decentralized command, they can cover each other’s weaknesses and move forward, success is almost guaranteed 

– DISCIPLINE IN DECISIONS: A leader almost never has the full picture. It is the mark of a true leader to be able to make the best decisions based on the information available at the time


A leader must be: 

– Calm but not robotic
– Attentive to details but not obsessed by them
– Humble but not passive
– Close to subordinates but not too close
– Have nothing to prove but everything to prove
– Confident but not cocky
– Competitive but a gracious loser
– A leader and follower
– Aggressive not overbearing
– Quiet not silent
– Able to execute on Extreme Ownership while exercising Decentralized Command


Highly highly recommended for leaders in any field – whether at home or at work (AKA everyone).

Mohammad Kashif Choudhury

Kashif is a Business Analyst and Strategy Consultant trained in the art and science of breaking down problems, structuring solutions and implementing them. He works at the intersection of data and strategy across health, education and finance, striving to find ways to synergize technology and human effort to solve the biggest problems.

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