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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 ·  9,094 ratings  ·  790 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 t
Kindle Edition, 273 pages
Published May 16th 2013 by Portfolio
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Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Jenn "JR"
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
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.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ciprian Diaconasu
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.
Justin Cramer
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Bartłomiej Bobrowski
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
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Craig Childs
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  ·  review of another edition
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!
Tõnu Vahtra
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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
Executive recommendation. Great advice for how to improve an undisciplined team; give them control of their purpose. Simple quick book.
Jacques Bezuidenhout
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
Sebastian Gebski
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, eng-mgmt, 2017
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
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)
Jurgen Appelo
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
Very inspiring.
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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AnswerConnect Onl...: Great book for leaders! 2 14 Nov 12, 2015 01:05PM  
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 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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