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The Dichotomy of Leadership

Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win
Narrated by: Jocko Willink, Leif Babin
Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (549 ratings)

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Summary

The importance of balance as a leader by the number-one New York Times best-selling authors of Extreme Ownership.  

Every leader must be ready and willing to take charge, to make hard, crucial calls for the good of the team and the mission. Something much more difficult to understand is that in order to be a good leader, one must also be a good follower. This is a dichotomy - a Dichotomy of Leadership. It is, as authors Jocko Willink and Leif Babin explained in their best-selling first audiobook, Extreme Ownership, “Simple, Not Easy”.

Now, in The Dichotomy of Leadership, the authors explain the power inherent in the recognition of the fine line that leaders must walk, balancing between two seemingly opposite inclinations. It is with the knowledge and understanding of this balance that a leader can most effectively lead, accomplish the mission, and achieve the goal of every leader and every team: victory. 

Using examples from the authors' combat and training experience in the SEAL Teams and then showing how each lesson applies to business and in life, Willink and Babin reveal how the use of seemingly opposite principles - leading and following, focusing and detaching, being both aggressive and prudent - require skill, awareness, understanding, and dexterity, all attributes that can be honed. These dichotomies are inherent in many of the concepts introduced in Extreme Ownership and integral to their proper implementation and effectiveness. Dichotomy is essential listening for anyone looking to lead and win.

©2018 Jocko Willink and Leif Babin (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic reviews

"With so much of this audiobook illustrated by the authors' battlefield experiences, their dramatic, often combative, narration is not entirely out of place...the authors grasp the awesome responsibilities of leading, and their assertive performances convey an urgency that makes this lesson memorable." (AudioFile Magazine)
 

What listeners say about The Dichotomy of Leadership

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    5 out of 5 stars

A great follow up

This is a really great book. I enjoyed the first one a lot, but I'm a big fan of the focus on balance in this one. I think with a lot of 'business' books you'll find that there is a lot of waffle, 8 hours is sometimes 2 hours of content repeated in different ways to fill the pages, but this is not the case with this book. These two obviously have a lot of experience to impart and they deliver it really well.

2 people found this helpful

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Just brilliant and extremely practical!

A great book for anyone wanting to level up their leadership practices in any domain. Which means it's a must read for everyone! We're all leaders to some capacity.

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Definitely worth listening. Performance is great

There are some parts that are repeated from the first book. I feel the first book had a lot more insights but this book dives a little deeper, and still has a lot of great content to offer. I would definitely recommend, but if you haven't read Extreme Ownership, I would say it's better to start with that one, before moving to this one

3 people found this helpful

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Don't buy if you have read part 1

Extremely dripping with patriotism, very very light on business relevance. If you have tead the Extreme Ownership then you definitely don't need this book.

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another one!

another incredible book by these absolute legends! if you loved extreme ownership you will love this and the book is amazing as a stand alone book. the performance is amazing and very entertaining also. would highly recommend this!

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life learning

A very good presentation of facts, situations and transition from military experience to civilian and business. Although as an ex-officer in the army and now a manager for an high end developer, I have to say that is not as easy as it might seems the application from military to civil situations. Civilians have a tendency to not follow orders and question every single one. Every body is an egocentristic and always know better.

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A must read for all leaders

Great leadership insights for everyone. The principles are so impactful and if has profoundly changed my thinking and attitude!

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Great read

I took a lot away from this book. I will be reading it again.

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Exactly same as first book.

more or less a copy of first book. if read the first book, this one is useless

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Hits home like a sniper

An outstanding book by itself it becomes the ultimate of reads and self improvement when read in combination with its follow on book ‘The Dichotomy of Leadership’ do not read one without the other. There are a lot of books out there teaching Self-Improvement and Leadership and how to succeed in life and Business but very few come as close to doing as well as Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko and Lief. It comes as no surprise to find out their services through their company Echelon Front Is so sought after by leading companies and organisations to help improve their teams and leaders. If you read/listen to no other books in this field but these two then you have read the crutch of what’s important. My only comment that If you are an ex-Serviceman and have seen active service like myself then be aware that Jocko and Leif are SEAL Officers and in both their books they apply scenarios of their military service and training and sometimes this may take you back to places you may not wish to remember even though we never forget. This book is both a credit to the authors and the men they served with. I thoroughly recommend these books.

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  • Louis Macareo
  • 16-11-18

Good follow-up but uneccesary

The first book in this series, "Extreme Leadership" is a must read and if you have not read it, you should. This follow-up is an expansion and more in-depth exploration of a obvious (but apparently ignored by some readers) concept that all forms and aspects of leadership must be balanced. Every good idea can be taken too far. The dichotomy of leadership and maintaining balance in shifting circumstances, within a group and with individuals, is why leadership is not as easy as simply maximizing a few principals. Understanding that is important and the examples used in the book are relatable to anyone who has served in combat, but largely, a whole book on this principle is not as desperately called for as are the overall principles from Extreme Leadership, which actually already encompasses the ideas expressed again in this book, in more detail. Bottom line is that it was a good book and worth the time to read it, but it a bit of icing on the cake of the first book and offers some refinement, but nothing earth shattering that you should not already know. Of course, knowing and putting these things into practice are not the same thing. The devil is in the execution and the book does do a fairly good job of showing real life examples as a guide beyond textbook perfection.

33 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel B. Smith
  • 26-09-18

A must read for every leader

The Dichotomy of Leadership is an outstanding follow up to Extreme Ownership that expands on and hones in on the principles laid out in Extreme Ownership. It is not necessary to have read Extreme Ownership prior to reading the Dichotomy of Leadership but is recommended as the principles are referenced several times throughout the book. Jocko and Leif continue their same narrative for the chapter layout with a combat or training situation, followed by a thorough explanation of the principle, and the principle applied to a real life business environment. The book, along with Extreme Ownership, should be required reading for all in any form of leadership.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Bam
  • 22-05-19

An Unnecessary Addition

It is an Unnecessary addition to the first book, nothing inherently wrong with this book, other than it was just an unnecessary companion to the first book. I would skip this one and reread the first book if I were you.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kat
  • 03-10-18

The perfect sequel to Extreme Ownership

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Extreme Ownership laid the foundation for the message in this book to build off of. This book puts many of the challenges of leadership into perspective and gives you tools to filter the onslaught of questions you face as a leader.

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  • Charis Lee
  • 29-09-18

Fantastic follow up the the first book.

Highly recommend for someone in a leadership role or learning to be a leader, and also for one who want to improve their daily living. I do believe the audio book is a better choice due the the fact it is being read by the authors, and they can set the tone for each point being made. So much can be gleaned from this text, and every revisit to this book, one could find more points that they can take and implement to their leadership and daily life.

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  • Kevin
  • 01-10-18

Perfect Companion to Extreme Ownership

This book can be very emotional at times. Fight through it, it's painful, but it will instill in you any lessons you did not learn reading Extreme Ownership, and reinforce those you did. The authors balance out some ideas from their previous book, helping you to understand how when and why to draw the line, along with more pertinent examples from their service and consulting practice. A glorious read.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Peter
  • 29-06-19

Awesome military stories ordinary business stories

Jocko and Leif are excellent storytellers. Because of it, for sure you will enjoy the book. However, I felt it is more like a military book and not a business book. Each chapter has two parts: a military example and a business life example, but the military part is always way more detailed, better explained. This book cannot say anything new after the Extreme Ownership. Actually, you can summarize it in one sentence: Don't go extreme. But it was explained in the previous book too.

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  • Tyler McLearen
  • 15-04-20

always deliver

I wouldn't start with this book. but a good addition to Extreme Ownership. they always deliver

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tyler
  • 13-05-19

Decent

Fiction and poems were very basic. Messages about leadership were good, with an overall message of "find the balance in all aspects". I thought this would be more important or better than Extreme Ownership but now I'm not so sure.

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  • Shaun Johnson
  • 03-04-19

Just ok

If you've read the 1st book be prepared to hear some of the exact same content. I was a little disappointed to listen to recycled content and felt like the random sound bites plugged into some of the illustrations cheapened the book. It left me feeling like there was more emphasis on creating drama than new usable content.

1 person found this helpful