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Summer Reading – Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

I must admit, I have not been reading enough. I fell back into this bad habit of not reading about a year ago. I've never enjoyed reading. I’ve always seen it as a chore and not a treat. With the summer upon us, I've determined that it’s time for me to start reading again. Because I don’t read for pleasure, almost everything that I read is for a specific purpose. Typically, the books I choose are about leadership and education. Recently, I decided to look for a new book about leadership but I wasn't sure which book to choose. Then I remembered that a good friend, Mike Koval, recommended the book Extreme Ownership, How Navy SEALS Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Mike is the School Police Officer at my former district and is a retired PA State Police Officer. He has a unique view of leadership and we have had many thoughtful discussions about it. In addition, we are both veterans of the U.S. Army, so his recommendation was especially relevant as this book is written by two former Navy SEALS. The book is also recommended on leadership websites such as https://www.theceolibrary.com/collection/best-leadership-books.


This summer, I've made a commitment to read and write about each chapter and how it relates to my career in educational leadership. This book, like most on leadership, uses the business world for its examples. In the past, I have been frustrated because the business world and the world of education are vastly different. For example, while businesses typically produce a product, school districts grow children. In addition, businesses are in control of their raw materials while schools open their doors to all. Lastly, the Federal Government, via ESSA, publicly rates school districts. They do not attempt to do that in the business world. For example, could you imagine the Food and Drug Administration coming out with their ratings of the companies with the best cheeseburgers? While I’m a fan of Wendy’s, my wife prefers Burger King. We can’t even come to an agreement in our household. (And I would argue that defining the characteristics of a good cheeseburger is easier than defining those of a successful school district).


Despite these differences, I will be reading and writing about each chapter in an effort to strengthen my leadership skills. I'm looking forward to the journey. I hope to hear some of your thoughts on leadership and education over the coming months!


Thanks for reading!

Erik Bentzel

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© 2019 by Erik Bentzel. 

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