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Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders
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Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  7,150 ratings  ·  651 reviews
"Leadership should mean giving control rather than taking control and creating leaders rather than forging followers." David Marquet, an experienced Navy officer, was used to giving orders. As newly appointed captain of the USS Santa Fe, a nuclear-powered submarine, he was responsible for more than a hundred sailors, deep in the sea. In this high-stress environment, where ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 16th 2013 by Portfolio
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4.24  · 
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 ·  7,150 ratings  ·  651 reviews

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Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
The rating is for the book, not the content. The ideas and concepts the book brings up are quite interesting and sound like they would be quite useful to many organisations. However, it's written in a simplistic structure that came off cheesy and often annoying. The writing, in general, was amateurish and the narrator for the audiobook (who happened to be the author as well) did a pretty horrible job. The feeling I got from the whole experience was that the author managed to get some success wit ...more
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
6-stars! The best leadership book I have read in years. After having read different books that referenced USN Captain David Marquet's "Leader-Leader" approach (Steven R. Covey, Simon Sinek), I decided I just might learn something from a sailor. Once I started the read, I devoured the book. I recognized good leadership practices I had adopted or experienced and I found myself deepening my understanding of why they work or had worked. This is a book that, if internalized by a leader and his or her ...more
Jenn "JR"
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biz-leadership
To be honest - I have never had a strong interest in military-oriented reading material, fiction or non-fiction. Aside from my interest in pre 20th century piracy on the high seas (more of social class/mobility angle here) - I haven't really read any books about life on boats or submarines.

David Marquet has written an incredibly clear and easy to understand book - that happens to be about submarines and their crews. The details about life on the submarine are sometimes a bit more than my interes
Sergey Shishkin
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If a nuclear submarine could gain leadership at all levels by giving control, building competence and achieving organizational clarity, your enterprise has no excuse to continue exploit people in a command & control environment like it's still 1900's.

Great book with inspiring stories, illustrating the leader-leader model step by step. Highly recommended to read for people who are in charge of other people, as well as people who have other people in charge of them.
Nathan Farley
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that is hard to put down. Easy to read (even though I don't know anything about the Navy or submarines) while it is PACKED with so much leadership truth. My favorite part? It's not a "this is the way things must be done" kind of book. He raises serious problems and tells you how he attacked them. He shows his strengths and weaknesses in leadership. I greatly appreciated this read.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Craig Childs
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Captain Marquet translates his experiences as a nuclear submarine commander into a book of highly readable and applicable leadership techniques. He discusses his ‘leader-leader’ model (as opposed to the traditional leader-follower) and the three pillars upon which it is built – 1) Control, 2) Competency, 3) Clarity.

The book is a fast read, but the approaches he described are not simple or necessarily easy to apply. He sprinkles anecdotes liberally throughout each chapter.

I took a lot of notes an
Liudas Belickas
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I liked the book, found little to none repetitions and typical management crap.
The principles mentioned were somewhat new to me and seem of great value.

I’d sum it up as one big team transformation story that acts as a tip book on how to reveal people’s talents via trusting them with owning stuff and creating a culture where continuous self development is a core value and side prerequisites to make it all work. Recommend!
Jacques Bezuidenhout
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Did the AudioBook narrated by the author.
From an Audiobook perspective, he wasn't the best narrator. However you kind off got used to his militaristic reading style as the book progressed. Definitely wasn't the worst narrator ever.

I do think the book over simplifies how easy it is to change a leadership model or company culture.
However, it does have some very valid points in slowly changing some aspects of both management and employees to move in this more collaborative direction.

Some of the thi
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has some insightful advice aimed at executives and managers-of-managers, but it all kind of boils down to, "be a genuinely good, humble person who cares about others, thinks about the long term, and has no demons holding them back from doing the right thing."

It's the equivalent of going to the doctor to ask about your ailment only to find out that the solution is to eat well and exercise regularly. I guess even if I already knew that, a periodic reminder is still a good idea.

The advice
Derek Neighbors
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Marquet takes us on his journey at the helm of the USS Santa Fe submarine and a transformation from Leader-Follower to Leader-Leader management. Having read quite a bit on empowering management styles there was a lot here that you can find elsewhere, though David does so in a very story friendly format. Noticeably different is the attention to detail around communication. Specifically around the words of "intention" for empowerment. I "intend to, i plan, i will, we will, etc" do some action. Com ...more
Terry Dicken
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is all about collaboration. Usually this should not be difficult to implement, but for some reason it is usually hindered by the prevailing culture. I spent 17 years in the military and to implement the brand of leadership is extraordinary. Please take note that he uses an itterative approach to implementation. That is you cannot implement this new approach with all aspects of your operations accounted for. When implementing a collaborative approach to leadership, you must be able to evaluate ...more
Michael Robinson
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hello, Reader! Welcome to my review of Turn The Ship Around! My name is Mike and I intend to give you a very short review of this great book. If you read the book you will realize what I just did there, I used the three name rule and told you my intention rather than exactly what I wanted to do. I would have given this book 5 Stars but I honestly do NOT agree with Mr. Marquet that this type of leadership can be applied within any organization. I do think there are elements of this leadership app ...more
Tigran Mamikonian
Pretty good read explaining the story of turning leadership style from traditional Leader-follower scheme to Leader - Leader...
The book is full of details about situations on submarine, I liked the most idea of the captain who insisted that every member of crew started their communication with "I intend to..." So that he would be left with just saying "Very well, do it"... Otherwise subordinates are becoming just followers if directly instructed what to do...
Only 2 stars because illustrations c
Nick Frolov
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mba-recommended
Very inspirational
The book is a step by step guide of changes from top-down management approach in organisation like US Navy. Story starts with Cpt. Marquet assigned in charge of submarine with worst results in the fleet, and turns it around within a year to the best one, by changing the top-down (leader-follower) approach to the empowerment (leader-leader) approach.
This book is great addition to the book "team of teams", written by US General Stanley McChrystal, which also explain how fast pace
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: management
This book follows Marquet's efforts to improve the morale, performance, and retention of the USS Santa Fe, which was the worst-performing submarine in the nuclear fleet when he got there (spoiler: he succeeded). As with William Oncken's excellent _Managing Manager Time_, Marquet focuses on granting power, authority, and freedom outward to his team to the extent that he can afford to do so.
Christopher Jefferson
An amazing book. I loved the ideas and practices that were discussed and the case studies that were given. I used these ideas throughout my job and institute the Leader-Leader model with my team members. My direct reports have started to read the book and I am breaching the boundaries of emancipation with them. My boss has even approached me about getting this book for himself.
Bjoern Rochel
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eng-mgmt, 2017, 2016
Update 28.12.2017: still a great, inspiring read

Resonates a lot with me. A perfect description of how I think modern organisations should work. Build leaders, not followers. Somewhat funny and unexpected that this originated in the military
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great insights about leader-leader structure

I really like the examples about how the captain transformed Santa Fe's crew. Eye opening in many ways.

I'd appreciate more examples from business environment (i.e. add "Application to business" section at the end of each chapter)
Doug Orleans
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We were assigned to read this for work. It describes an approach to management and organization that seems very opposed to the top-down approach of the military, but it comes from the author's experiences as captain of a Navy submarine. The principles of his approach are couched in a narrative about his time there, and it works well as a source of concrete motivating examples for his philosophy.

The core idea is to maximize autonomy among everyone in the organization, which Marquet calls "leader-
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book proposes a new paradigm for leadership, the so called Leader-Leader model. This is a model that David Marquet developed and implemented as a commander of the nuclear submarine USS Santa Fe.
The construct that David Marquet proposes, Leader-Leader, is explained in three main parts. That is control, competence and clarity.
Each part is then subdivided in short chapters where Marquet borrows from his experience commanding the submarine, especially those mistakes where he learnt valuable les
Manny Johnson
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leadership turned around

Leadership as many of us are taught is systematically challenged one by one with a deeper understanding of what leadership really is and tries to achieve. The author provides refreshing, clear stories that hide nothing to show you his journey in becoming a better leader which is ultimately supporting everyone to become leaders. If you are frustrated with your teams or companies and wished there was a better way to manage, this is the book to read. This is now one of my al
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read a few leadership books, and this one was way more fun to read than the other. The author ties in his leadership lessons and experiences to a gripping story about commanding a submarine. I can’t remember the exact quote and I borrowed it so I can’t look it up, but he said something along the line of “motivating your people to not make mistakes vs motivating them for some higher goal.” This is challenge!
Mike Arvela
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
3,3 stars or so.

Solid-sounding ideas, yet less enthusiastically communicated as in the very similar book ”It’s Your Ship.” Often I felt like the book told the ”what”, but not the ”why” or ”how”.

Continues the tradition of military books that could make good drinking games: ”the SUBGRU (submarine group) WEPS (weapons officer) took us FFVs (fresh fruits and vegetables) on his RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boat).”
Cliff Hazell
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great story, easy read, pragmatic succinct advice.
Highly recommend for all leaders and aspiring leaders.

My favorite quote:

“You know you have an emancipated team, when you no longer need to empower them. In fact you no longer have the ability to. Because they’re no longer relying on you as a source of power”
- David Marquet
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This a military memoir about changing team habits around following orders and developing a culture of responsibility. I both enjoyed the story of David’s career progression and the nuggets of wisdom in relation to leadership and culture change.  
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: management, military
More military detail than I was looking for, including usage (without explanation) of many navy terms. Some interesting leadership ideas, but few that weren't covered better in Good to Great, which this book refers to.
Cristen Boorman
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me by a change manager as a good way to understand how teams can change to self-organising/leader-leader rather than the traditional leader-follower, as part of transitioning into Agile.
Abhishek Dasani
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
simple, straightforward, and concise. The book talks about how empowering everyone and giving the decision making to those at the frontline can help in todays organisations.
John Martinez
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent book. L. David Marquet superbly tells his story of resisting the traditional top-down, leader-follower structure in the US Navy in favor of a leader-leader approach. He shares the struggles that came with that shift, the discoveries he and his crew made along the way, and then the many successes that came for the crew of the USS Santa Fe.

The concepts and strategies shared can be adapted to any setting involving leading others and developing leadership capacity.
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12 Books - Author...: June 2014 - Turn the Ship Around 7 45 Jul 06, 2014 06:00PM  

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David Marquet imagines a world where everyone engages and contributes their full intellectual capacity, a place where people are healthier and happier because they have more control over their work–a place where everyone is a leader.

David is the author of Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers Into Leaders and companion workbook, Turn Your Ship Around! Fortune magazine called the
“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.” 9 likes
“One of the things that limits our learning is our belief that we already know something.” 5 likes
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