Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win


By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin | Reviewed by Michael Connors, PT, DPT

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win (St. Martin’s Press, 2015) is an amazing overview of the similarities between commanding special forces troops and helping to develop enhanced management strategies for corporate entities. Written by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, former Navy SEAL commanders, the book provides a multitude of examples of difficulties faced by a commanding officer and how each situation correlates nicely with an example of a situation in a corporate setting. The text provides contemporary leadership examples of how management of challenging situations in a battle situation has a direct relationship to how we manage day-to-day issues in the workplace.

Each chapter consists of three subsections. The first section presents a lesson learned through a US Navy SEAL experience. The second section reveals more insight into the specific leadership principle presented in the SEAL experience example. The third part illustrates how the application of that leadership principle relates to the business world. The authors do a spectacular job of presenting a situation, following up with a definition of the leadership principle, and finally relating that principle to the corporate world. These leadership principles and examples provide insight into helping to improve the operational efficiency of what we do in the business world on a daily basis.

Extreme Ownership is presented as a basic principle of leadership that leaders are responsible for all aspects of a business, operation, or mission. This appears to be an easy statement to digest, but in reality, whether the outcome could be the death of fellow soldiers or the loss of revenue, this book presents real-life scenarios of how good and bad leadership can produce both intended and unintended outcomes. This text presents great insight into how being a leader isn’t always easy but requires persistence, dedication, and a willingness to accept responsibility at all costs.


Michael Connors, PT, DPT, is an Impact editorial board member and regional director for Greater Therapy Centers in Midlothian, Texas. He can be reached at mconnors@gtc-pt.com.