Book Review - Leadership Secrets of the Rogue Warrior: A Commando's Guide to Success by Richard Marcinko
OK, up front I'll admit I had a fun time reading this... Leadership Secrets of the Rogue Warrior: A Commando's Guide to Success by Richard Marcinko. It's not your typical leadership book with polished words and concepts. It's raw, gritty, and will likely offend a few readers. But I'd think twice about trying to apply this "warrior mentality" to your business life. Odds are you'll end up hated, fired, or in jail...
Contents: The Rogue Warrior's Ten Commandments of SpecWar; Introduction, Chapters 1 through 10 - The Ten Commandments; Epilogue; A Note on Sources
The ten commandments are: 1) I am the War Lord and the wrathful God of Combat and I will always lead you from the front - not the rear. 2) I will treat you all alike - just like shit. 3) Thou shalt do nothing I will not do first, and thus will you be created Warriors in My deadly image. 4) I shall punish thy bodies because the more thou sweatest in training, the less thou bleedest in combat. 5) Indeed, if thou hurteth in thy efforts and thou suffer painful dings, then thou are Doing It Right. 6) Thou hast not to like it - thou hast just to do it. 7) Thou shalt Keep It Simple, Stupid. 8) Thou shalt never assume. 9) Verily, thou art not paid for thy methods, but for thy results, by which meaneth thou shalt kill thine enemy by any means available before he killeth you. 10) Thou shalt, in thy Warrior's Mind and Soul, always remember My ultimate and final Commandment: There Are No Rules - Thou Shalt Win at All Costs.
I had one misconception corrected quickly. I thought the "Rogue Warrior" was a fictional character used in novels written by Marcinko. I didn't know until I read this book that he really *was* the Rogue Warrior and was a successful covert soldier, adept at many types of warfare. Based on his experience and training, he distilled his beliefs into what you read here. From the perspective of someone going to war with a fellow fighter, this is exactly the type of person I'd want by my side... ruthless, creative, and willing to do whatever is needed to win and stay alive. But does that really translate to the business and personal lives of the readers? I hope not...
After each of his explanations of the principle being discussed, he gives an example of how it applies to war and how it applies to business. Generally, some of the concepts are true... train hard, get results, etc. But the "win at all costs" theme is the exact attitude that ended a lot of Enron executives (as well as others) in jail. Marcinko does try and say that you have to be honorable in the way you approach this, but it's normally followed by "breaking the rules to get results". I know what that is *supposed* to mean, but in reality it comes across as the end justifying the means. The argument would be that there's a line that shouldn't be crossed, but I'd venture that for many, that line is too blurred to be used as an accurate measuring point. Buying into this philosophy in an organization would make for a ruthless and brutal workforce, and not one that I'd like to return to day after day. And I suppose in Marcinko's eyes that would make me soft and worthless... oh, well.
If I were to step onto a combat field or a dojo, I'd want to adopt this mindset. But if I step into my workplace, there's a few more things to be considered than just raw "kill the enemy before he kills you" emotion.