If one was hoping for a ‘Tell-All-Book’ by Jim Mattis about President Trump, I can tell you right off that this is not the book. Maybe, President Trump’s name was mentioned 3 or 4 times and not in a negative way. One of General Mattis’ heroes is General George Marshall (Sec. of Defense, Sec. of State, and one of the architect’s behind the “Marshall Plan,” The European Union,” and NATO).
Marshall, like Mattis, spend a long time in the military, and one of the codes that military men abide by is not questioning the decisions of a President (Commander in Chief) that they served under, and certainly not in public and not after they have left the service and their Commander in Chief is still alive.
That being said, “Call Sign Choas: Learning to Lead” by Jim Mattis and Bing West is one of the most important books I have read this year, and maybe the most important book I have read by a military man. General Mattis served in the Marine Corps. for over forty years during every war over that time and at the front lines in each of those wars, deployed numerous times to Iraq and Afghanistan. The lessons he learned during that time are explained clearly and it would do every military leader, CEO, grunt, and politician a world of good if they read this book.
Just a few salient points Mr. Mattis emphasizes: A military leader who does not read books is not doing his job. Just not military books, but books by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Conrad, and Kipling. Books teach us about history, and about the things that work and don’t work. 2) One has to encourage initiative, independent thinking, from all subordinates… from the grunt, to the Corporal, and upward. 3) A soldier should never be reprimanded in public but in private. 4) Trust is most important and there is no substitute for person to person communications with every member, regardless of rank, in your unit, or battalion. 5) Our allies are most important and we are reminder throughout that after 9/11 attacks 39 countries join the fight.
I highly, highly recommend this book. It is a novel that will help keep a soldier alive, instead of being send home in a body bag. It is about leadership and it is an evocation of humanity under the most stressful of conditions.