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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

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  11,467 ratings  ·  964 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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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
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. ...more
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
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
Shelves: leadership
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.
Ciprian Diaconasu
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest books I've read so far. Describes pretty well the advantages of transitioning from the more industrialist "leader-follower" model, to "leader-leader" model that assumes everybody is in fully in charge of what needs to be done to reach the organisation's goals. ...more
L. Marquet
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Thanks readers and reviewers of Turn the Ship Around!
We simplify the concepts and mechanisms from the books into 1-minute bite-sized pieces on our YouTube channel because the reminders help people. It's called "Leadership Nudges" and I invite you and your team to subscribe.
Sri Shivananda
I loved this book. It is one of the best leadership books I have read. In this book, David Marquet shares concepts like leader-leader vs. leader-follower model & clarifies the control-competence-clarity factors of the leader-leader model. He uses the story of a ship under his command and how this philosophy and techniques helped the ship move from amongst the worst in the fleet to amongst the best. There are many elements of mindset, language and culture he covers in his approach.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jurgen Appelo
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
Very inspiring.
magdalena dyjas
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would've never guessed that I could enjoy a book written by a submarine captain, but I must say this is one of the best books on leadership that I've read. ...more
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm not very much into business books, most are one blog-post drawn out into 200 pages, but this one kept popping up on a few computing blogs, and these writers normally don't tolerate fluff.

This is kind of an autobiography, but it's also an in-detail description of changing a ship's structure from 'one leader, many followers' (leader-follower) to 'one leader, many leaders' (leader-leader) - instead of having one guy saying what's to be done, you shift decision making power downwards so you get
Justin Cramer
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a former Navy “Nuke” I am a bit biased towards this book as it spoke of situations I am familiar with in a language I was fluent in.

One of the advantages of a small command is the abutting completely affect change. This gave the author an advantage as he and his crew made changes, evaluated the results, and made further changes. They also had the advantage of a built in set of measurements.

To me the above does not diminish what they achieved. These were the attributes that made it possible
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!
Daniel Cotoara
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-leadership
A captivating book. I've read it in just 2 days.
From simple ways to first, improve you and after the people around or even your team, to more complex things like transforming the way we think and see things, how to run a business, and like the name suggests be a leader and not a follower at every level in your life or in your organization.
"I must be the captain of my soul and the master of my fate"
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very powerful idea of creating many leaders in your organization.

However, the specific context of military submarine makes the book more inspirational than practical. Described methods are to be heavily adapted while working in different areas (e.g. volunteer organizing in NGO).

Also the navy story may appeal to some, but not to others.
Tõnu Vahtra
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“leadership is the enabling art.” The best book I've read so far on creating a culture of engagement and empowering an organization working in complex environments. It is not long but a very dense book. Key points are presented well on this slide deck (still it is very much recommended to read the entire book):

“The leader-leader structure is fundamentally different from the leader-follower structure. At its core is the belief that we can all be leaders an
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I got to listen to the author talk at an Agile Australia conference a few years back, basically the same as this talk: Ever since I've been meaning to get around to this book.

The basic gist of it is using the author's experience in transforming an under-performing submarine crew into the top performing submarine crew in the US Navy in about 18 months, and translating that experience to a set of leadership concepts that he feels would be generally applica
Sebastian Gebski
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
What? Yet another book on leadership, filled with generic statements focused on WHAT (which is quite straightforward) instead of HOW (the hard part ...)? Not really, not this time.

First, I've read this one because:
1. ... of recommendation that came from a person I respect
2. ... I was told this book explicitly is a foundation one successful organization has built its engineering culture upon, drawing strongly from its wisdom & principles

So, what about the book then?
It doesn't try patronizing you,
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
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
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership
The best book on leadership I've ever read. The author nails down the three pillars that enable organisations to shift from a leader-of-followers paradigm to the leader-of-leaders. This transition has enabled him to turn the worst-performing submarine with 100% employee churn to an award-winning submarine with 100% retention, in under a year.

Every chapter is gold. I keep going back to the book over and over again.
I can't recommend it highly enough. 💯
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really good example of how to be a good empowering leader. Definitely one I’ll refer back to if I lead a team in the future.
Bartłomiej Bobrowski
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
If there are rules, which could be applied in the military we can't say that our organisation is not agile enough to build the leader-leader approach to team management. The author explains why, in the long term, it is far more effective then leader-follower setup. You can also find here ready-to-use examples of how you can support your team members on their way to engage, taking ownership and becoming the leaders.

Military metaphors seem to fit into my understanding of the organisations. There
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
Chris Sobbing
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
An amazing book that transcends just being about the Navy, but utilizes that backdrop to suggest a very beneficial leader-leader style for organizational environment. Empowering people through allowing decision-making at lowest level required to achieve the action needed is a much better method than a pat on the back, and saying, "you're good enough." I thank my brother-in-law for passing this book onto me, especially well timed in that having been just commissioned I shall take on greater respo ...more
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Executive recommendation. Great advice for how to improve an undisciplined team; give them control of their purpose. Simple quick book.
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
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I read this book at the suggestion of a colleague. David Marquet has a wealth of leadership experience as a U.S. Navy officer, so he is used to working within a strict hierarchy with a well-defined chain of command. Marquet steps outside that hierarchy and promotes a leader-leader system (as opposed to leader-follower) where individual team members are empowered to act and make decisions in their areas of expertise. The role of the supervisor is to enable the team members to perform at their hig ...more
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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 bestselling author of Turn the Ship Around!, the Turn the Ship Around Workbook, and the #1 new release Leadership is Language. Fortune magazine called T

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