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

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  4,398 ratings  ·  330 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.

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Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wellness, business, arc
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
Rhett Reisman
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 (
Matt Nohr
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books. Concise stories and simple lessons of leadership.
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
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.
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.
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
Mark Manderson
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Top Read:
Mistakes and failures provide the best lessons to learn and grow.

Cover and move. Break down the silos. It doesn't matter if one person does their job as if the team doesn't work together than everybody fails.

Decentralized command so nothing is contingent on one leader. This way they know not only what to do but why to do it as well.


We are responsible as that's what a leader is. We sign off on everything so we are all responsible.

Own it all but Empower others.

Dicatamy: Can't be to
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Marie by: Jason
Shelves: audiobook, nonfic
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Ken Josef
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Third book I've read from them... Best book on leadership I've ever read!
John O'Malley
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just read it! If extreme ownership is step 1. Dichotomy is steps 2,3,&4. Just wow! ...more
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
good book about leadership, this guy applied his military experiences into business leadership
Nathan Schrock
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phenomenal. Some of the most intensely practical leadership advice I've ever heard. It is written by a veteran so contains a few choice words, but not bad.
Fred Leland
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book with great ideas on how they apply not only to conflict but to other disciplines as well. Nicely done!
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Half war stories from Iraq, half business applications. One of each type of story to illustrate each leadership principle. The principles are excellent and critical to understand for life whether or not you hold a formal leadership role.
Greg Holman
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Similar but different than the original book. This one brings up a good point in the extremes of a good thing.
David Clouse
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Pretty similar to Extreme Ownership. Most of the stories are interesting and useful along with the principles of leadership. Although, like last time, almost every business application point ends with this “everything worked out perfectly” idea. Every chapter is written the exact same which can get a little tedious or boring.
Schuyler Wallace
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing

“The Dichotomy of Leadership,” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, is a guidebook of how great leaders face dichotomies in the administration of their duties. It is, indeed, so full of dichotomies that one could soon become immersed in confusion. It is here that the reader must look at the subtitle, “Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win,” and fully grasp the meaning of that statement, then settle down to the excitement of learning some really valuable lessons.

Willink and Ba
Bryan Tanner
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listening to Jocko and Leif read The Dichotomy of Leadership in their gruff military voices is an MBA's dream. Each chapter, they take turns sharing anecdotes from their time in Ramadi and other Navy Seal exploits. They then seamlessly transfer those lessons learned to business leadership case studies.

This book is a sequel to Jocko's NYT bestseller, Extreme Ownership. If you liked that book, I think you'll likely appreciate this one. It serves to fill many of the holes from the first book and ad
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