April 16, 2017

Review Corner

As month after month of the overseas deployment wore on, I used my previous failure as motivation to outwork, outhustle, and outperform everyone in the platoon. I sometimes fell short of being the best, but I never fell short of giving it my best. In time, I regained the respect of my men. Several years later I was selected to command a SEAL Team of my own. Eventually I would go on to command all the SEALs on the West Coast.
Admiral William H. McRaven has ten pieces of advice for you. You can add to the ten million views of his University of Texas Commencement address on YouTube. Or you can read -- in about the same amount of time -- the book it inspired: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World.

The book is a best seller, and has generated a lot of buzz in a diverse range of media outlets. Each of his "lessons" opens with a challenging story from his SEAL training off Coronado in San Diego (I optimistically project that I would have made it about three minutes in SEAL training). Each lesson concludes with a real-word application of that knowledge, generally in combat or other serious moment.

The last "self-help" book I read was Dr. Wayne Dyer in 1977. And, no, I didn't help. This belongs, perhaps, in that genre, but if so it redeems it. The Admiral didn't receive any participation trophies and is not handing them out. Curiously, he is currently serving as Chancellor of the University of Texas System, providing one more bit of hope for the Lone Star State.

But McRaven's advice is real-world. It is applicable outside the military, but realistic and substantive enough for life-or-death leadership.

Over the course of the next three years, John Kelly and I became close friends. He was a remarkable officer, a strong husband to his wife, Karen, and a loving father to his daughter, Kate, and oldest son, Marine Major John Kelly. But more than that, without ever knowing it, John Kelly gave all those around him hope. Hope that in the very worst of times we could rise above the pain, the disappointment, and the agony and be strong. That we each had within us the ability to carry on and not only to survive but also to inspire others.

Hope is the most powerful force in the universe. With hope you can inspire nations to greatness. With hope you can raise up the downtrodden. With hope you can ease the pain of unbearable loss.

Sometimes all it takes is one person to make a difference. We will all find ourselves neck deep in mud someday. That is the time to sing loudly, to smile broadly, to lift up those around you.


No, I'm not providing the background for this quote. Buy and enjoy this short but powerful book. Five stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at April 16, 2017 11:18 AM
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