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The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win
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The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  6,432 ratings  ·  460 reviews

From the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of Extreme Ownership comes a new and revolutionary approach to help leaders recognize and attain the leadership balance crucial to victory.

With their first book, Extreme Ownership (published in October 2015), Jocko Willink and Leif Babin set a new standard for leadership, challenging readers
ebook, 320 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by St. Martin's Press
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Valentyn Koryako There are references to the 1st book in this one, so it's better to read Extreme Ownership first. …moreThere are references to the 1st book in this one, so it's better to read Extreme Ownership first. (less)

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Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, wellness, business
Dichotomy of Leadership is the follow-up book to Jocko Willink and Leif Babin's wildly popular book on leadership, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. Both men are former Navy Seals and now run a consulting company together called Echelon Front.

Dichotomy of Leadership follows the same general format as Extreme Ownership. The book is divided into three parts:  1) Balancing People, 2) Balancing the Mission, and 3) Balancing Yourself. Each part is then divided into four different c
Sau Cheung
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Their first book, Extreme Ownership, was excellent. Book two adds very little to the topics discussed in book one.
Honestly, book two could be boiled down to 2-3 chapters and simply included in the back of Extreme Ownership as a revised or deluxe edition
Tara Brabazon
Dec 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book is so ridiculous, I am amazed it is not written by Noddy and Big Ears.

Seriously. Seriously. The book is filled with stories of war, particularly the Battle of Ramadi in 2006. The assumption is that experiences in the military - in war - are the ideal models of leadership for the rest of us.

This type of pseudo-masculine, hutt hutt hutt, silliness demonstrates what is wrong with 'consultants' and how truly bonkers 'transferable skills' really are. Killing people is not the metaphor we re
Rhett Reisman
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Jocko’s new book is a further explanation of extreme ownership. You should read extreme ownership first for full context.

It is easy to take leadership and self help books and dissect them until they don’t make sense anymore. As an author it is impossible to cover the unlimited possibilities of a subject as broad as leadership.

Readers of Extreme Ownership misinterpreted some of the key points in the book. Instead of being at an extreme of leadership you want to be in the middle of a dichotomy (
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
SO GOOD!! I started reading this book as soon as I finished Extreme Ownership and even with as much as I loved Extreme Ownership, I LOVE THE DICHOTOMY EVEN MORE. I really appreciate the whole message of balance: balance in everything, especially the leadership traits and principles taught in this book. The only thing I think would have improved this book (and Extreme Ownership too) is to demonstrate application to other areas of life besides business. I know Jocko does a lot of business consulta ...more
Sebastian Gebski
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a very good book if you can somehow filter out all the American "pathos".

I've struggled with assessing "Extreme Ownsership", so how come this one is easier for me to evaluate? The answer is simple: what authors (Willink & Babin) call "dichotomy" I call "balance". And this idea fully resonates with myself - I truly believe that the real leadership is ALL about balance and not falling under any extremes. The book illustrates the idea in a very clear & straightforward way - starting with the a
Kim Osterholzer
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I Loved Extreme Ownership, and I found I love The Dichotomy of Leadership even more. "The foremost requirement of potent leadership is humility." This is my favorite quote from the book, and is the theme that runs throughout. May this book engender a rising of truly powerful leaders who lead from such a powerful place as humility and integrity. ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books. Concise stories and simple lessons of leadership.
Sandro Mancuso
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you’ve read and liked Extreme Ownership, you will also like this book. This book provides a more balanced view on the principles described in Extreme Ownership.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Jocko and Leif did it again. This book builds upon their other book, extreme ownership, and it’s similarly full of crap. There are plenty of books from which one can learn leadership, this is not one of them.
Jason X
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-books, 2020
Audiobook grade: B-. I liked the author's own voices trading off. They have a very disciplined, clear militaristic way of speaking that is easy to listen to. The sound effects (machine guns, bombs) were cheesy.

The Good: I really liked the stories of the Iraq war as told by the two authors' first hand experience. The leadership and teamwork lessons learned in training and battle were outstanding. Jocko and Leif are amazing and unique humans. I could listen to their stories all day. They exude exc
Seth Davis
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Giving this a five because of how much I enjoy Jocko's work. This book starts a bit slow and repetitive if you've read or listened to his other content. I was concerned that this was all going to be a rehash. However, we quickly move past the section on the soldiers that he lost that have impacted his life so much to the core content of the book. This is a book about finding balance with war and business examples to explain. It's positioned as a follow-up dive to extreme ownership and that's exa ...more
Tyler Haladuick
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Extension of Extreme ownership. Good lessons, but too much fluff and repetition.
Take extreme ownership over everything in your world including leadership in balance.

Own It All, but Empower Others
Resolute, but Not Overbearing
When to Mentor, When to Fire
Train Hard, but Train Smart
Aggressive, Not Reckless
Disciplined, Not Rigid
Hold People Accountable, but Don’t Hold Their Hands
A Leader and a Follower
Plan, but Don’t Overplan
Humble, Not Passive
Focused, but Detached

"To care deeply for each indivi
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Marie by: Jason
Shelves: nonfic, audiobook
This follow-up to Extreme Ownership emphasizes key points from the first book, and expands upon ideas. I liked that the authors used their own idea of extreme ownership to own that some leadership principles are a balancing act, or dichotomy. For example, you must be strong in your convictions to be a leader... but you also must be willing and able to accept input from your own leader, your colleagues, and even your subordinates at time. Good leaders really must hone the intuition to know when t ...more
Daniel Ness
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible book! All the teachings in this book are lessons from both of the author’s experiences as Navy SEALs (the stories of which are super engaging; they’re incredible story tellers) but the skills attained are practical to all aspects of leadership. The book masterfully walks through each leadership situation from the story where it was learned in the war, the principal of the story, and how the same situation carried out in a business they’ve consulted with their consulting firm, ...more
Marcelo Bahia
If you’re going to read one of those repetitive leadership books, at least do it in grand-style with a book featuring cool war stories in Iraq. A couple of years ago I decided not to read leadership books anymore unless they offered something really distinctive relative to similar literature on the subject. This book goes into detail on how leadership is developed in SEAL training, which is interesting enough for me. There are 12 different chapters diving into 12 different aspects of leadership ...more
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I didn't initially realize that this is the second book by these authors after Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win. I just finished the first book but am behind on my reviews so I'll stick with the order read. The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Lief Babin presents leadership skills as used by the Navy Seals in conducting combat operations. Each chapter gives an example from their experiences in Ramadi in ...more
Rod Roberts
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books on leadership that I've ever read. This book ties in with their first book on leadership, "Extreme Ownership" as it adds another level of depth into the concepts. Extreme Ownership was a great book on leadership with some very easy to implement concepts and procedures. Not only do I enjoy reading about the awesome war stories of our great men and women who fought for our country, but the value that these stories provide as it ties into real life business practices are absol ...more
Cody Lasko
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it
If you’re a fan of Jocko you might as well save yourself the time and just get into it. It serves as a great read much in the vein of Extreme Ownership. But with that said, the book can be summed up all too quickly in one sentence:

Leadership is about finding a balance between extremes across all aspects and all situations.

Or something of a similar sort.

Now that’s not to take anything away from it as a whole, but the reality is it doesn’t carry the same impact of his first book. Like most sequel
Timeo Williams
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military
It's certainly a question to be asked: In which domain in every industry/field in this world would you expect to find the best leaders. The military is certainly a good place to start. Tasked with leading men into and out of the hands of death, itself, requires very good leadership skills. The ability to be detached from camaraderie and analyze the situation, but at the same time, stressing the importance of the mission and the why is also essential. Hence, the dichotomy.

Jocko and Leif express
Bartosz Majewski
It's a 3rd of Jocko Books I've read so far. I've abandoned it for ~5 months after around 60% because I needed switching the context of my reading material to something unrelated to business. The structure of the book is identical as in Extreme Ownership (if you haven't read it I highly recommend, you should start there). The whole book is built around a concept of balance in various aspects of leadership.

Is micromanaging good?
But can you be too macromanaging your team?
Can you in
AJ Payne
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it

Solid leadership principles and good examples of them. However, since I find war stories to be exceedingly boring I did not like that aspect of the book - which, was the beginning part of every chapter with a story from Iraq or SEAL training. Blech. But that's just my personal preference, and like I said the leadership principles were solid and certainly things that I will be trying to incorporate into my life... just without the commensurate war stories. So overall I give it a 3 star
Daniel Aceves
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting book that goes through the perspective of army soldiers and how a mission and team will only succeed when a leader is present and vocal. The authors talk about being able to balance the role of being a leader, being able to step up when needed and back down for the good of the mission and team. It has a connection to business where it is necessary to have good leadership in order for it to succeed. This book can also be applied to other aspects of life or work which I think ma ...more
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was ok
Read it in one day. It's simply the story of how the authors go about counseling based on their previous book. Each chapter gives an example of how a company failed to implement the concept of Extreme Ownership by overdoing it or coming short. Therein they find "dichotomy", but rectifiyng it doesn't really deliver new insights, rather another explanation of the same idea. Smart marketing, easy to write and to capitalize on, I guess. ...more
Jason Smith
Feb 27, 2021 rated it did not like it
While this book is better than Extreme Ownership it is still bad. In the forward they explain that there was a problem with how they wrote Extreme Ownership and so this is the follow up to more fully explain the concept but also how to balance as a leader. But, throughout the book they keep referring to the other book as if they're still defending it. There are just so many better leadership books to read. ...more
Justinas Rastenis
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good, balanced book about leadership. It has real life examples that help to grasp overall concepts. However, the book answers the question "What?" quite well but the hardest question "How?" remains unanswered. Nevertheless, this book is worth reading as it provides new perspective on concepts that most of the leaders are aware of but often fail to live up to. ...more
Jun 26, 2020 rated it liked it
The Principles and Application sections of each chapter are worthwhile and solid. The war stories add little value to the subject. I began skipping them in the middle of Extreme Ownership and skipped them all in this one. The tone is quite masculine and there is too much self promotion for my style.
Matt Allen
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a required read for anyone that has read and is practicing Extreme Ownership. I would say that anyone new to the subject must read both books back-to-back. Dichotomy of Leadership covers followership and clarifies/deepens many of the points from Extreme Ownership. Highly recommended.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great follow up to Extreme Ownership. Filled with more stories that apply to business leaders. Not a lot of eye opening material but better than re-reading the previous book. Very entertaining with good messages.
John Mings
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020-completed
I did not find this to be a very good book. It was quite repetitive and was just a more granular version of ‘Extreme Ownership’, but not in the way it was intended to be. If you got value from the book then that’s great, but it just did not do much for me at all.
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