Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead

Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead

by Jim Mattis, Bing West

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A clear-eyed account of learning how to lead in a chaotic world, by General Jim Mattis--the former Secretary of Defense and one of the most formidable strategic thinkers of our time--and Bing West, a former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine.

Call Sign Chaos is the account of Jim Mattis's storied career, from wide-ranging leadership roles in three wars to ultimately commanding a quarter of a million troops across the Middle East. Along the way, Mattis recounts his foundational experiences as a leader, extracting the lessons he has learned about the nature of warfighting and peacemaking, the importance of allies, and the strategic dilemmas--and short-sighted thinking--now facing our nation. He makes it clear why America must return to a strategic footing so as not to continue winning battles but fighting inconclusive wars.

Mattis divides his book into three parts: direct leadership, executive leadership, and strategic leadership. In the first part, Mattis recalls his early experiences leading Marines into battle, when he knew his troops as well as his own brothers. In the second part, he explores what it means to command thousands of troops and how to adapt your leadership style to ensure your intent is understood by your most junior troops so that they can own their mission. In the third part, Mattis describes the challenges and techniques of leadership at the strategic level, where military leaders reconcile war's grim realities with political leaders' human aspirations, where complexity reigns and the consequences of imprudence are severe, even catastrophic.

Call Sign Chaos is a memoir of lifelong learning, following along as Mattis rises from Marine recruit to four-star general. It is a journey learning to lead and a story about how he, through constant study and action, developed a unique leadership philosophy--one relevant to us all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812996845
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 2,881
File size: 39 MB
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About the Author

Jim Mattis is a Marine four-star general whose battlefield innovations, leadership style, and clear strategic vision have won him the trust and affection of a generation of U.S. and Allied troops and millions of Americans. He is widely considered one of the most revered military leaders of our time. He led a battalion through minefields in Desert Storm (1991), a naval task force into Afghanistan in 2001, a division to Baghdad in 2003, and a combined Army-Marine force in Anbar Province in 2004. From 2010 to 2013, he served as commander of the U.S. Central Command, including all American forces in the Middle East. He subsequently served as Secretary of Defense. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he is currently the Davies Family Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Acclaimed war correspondent and bestselling author Bing West served as a Marine grunt in Vietnam and later as assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration. He has been on hundreds of patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan, including many operations with General Mattis.

Table of Contents

Prologue ix

Part I Direct Leadership

Chapter 1 A Carefree Youth Joins the Disciplined Marines 3

Chapter 2 Recruit for Attitude, Train for Skill 15

Chapter 3 Battle 20

Chapter 4 Broadening 39

Chapter 5 Rhino 50

Part II Executive Leadership

Chapter 6 The March Up 79

Chapter 7 A Division In Its Prime 103

Chapter 8 Incoherence 115

Chapter 9 Cascading Consequences 137

Chapter 10 Fighting While Transforming 148

Chapter 11 Hold the Line 158

Chapter 12 Essential NATO 169

Chapter 13 Disbanding Bureaucracy 178

Part III Strategic Leadership

Chapter 14 Central Command: The Trigonometry Level of Warfare 189

Chapter 15 Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory 205

Chapter 16 Friend or Foe 221

Chapter 17 Reflections 235

Epilogue: America as Its Own Ally 248

Appendix A My Letter to General Robert Johnston, October 1991 251

Appendix B Jim Mattis on Reading 256

Appendix C Correspondence Between General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral William Halsey, 1943 260

Appendix D To the Families of Our Sailors and Marines Deploying to the Middle East, February 2004 262

Appendix E My Dismissal of Charges Letter for Haditha Incident, August 2007 263

Appendix F President George W. Bush's Assignment Letter for NATO Supreme Command, September 2007 266

Appendix G My USJFCOM Commander's Guidance for Effects Based Operations, August 2008 267

Acknowledgments 269

Notes 273

Index 285

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Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
i found this more interesting to read than some of the recent books by high ranking officers/officials,from an organizational and leadership perspective. So very discouraging to have years of information brought back to memory, and see the other side. Worthwhile reading!
Anonymous 10 months ago
incredibly written well thought and reasoned treatise on life let alone war
Anonymous 11 months ago
leadership done right is plain hard work. Simply stated, identifying the achievable end, and then getting out of the way. He does that here while ensuring that his subordinates have all the resources necessary to carry out the mission. He is indeed The Splendid Warrior.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Great thoughts on leadership theory and application. I wish I could have read this earlier in my life.
Anonymous 8 months ago
One of the best books I have read in a long while.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I really enjoyed this read. Some of the book maybe a little hard to follow, for some who haven't served. It leadership principles can be use by all people in any walk of life.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Time is a precious commodity, one that is easily wasted on the ephemera of "everyday living", or used to the advantage of those who choose to learn. Jim Mattis sagely advises that mankind has been fighting for over 5000 years, so pretending that whatever battle you face - regardless of your environment - has never been fought before is foolish (at best) and potentially lethal (at worst). "The best," it is said. "learn from the best." Mattis has. You will, too.
prussblue10 10 months ago
I took my time reading this in order to properly digest it. It is a must-read a not just for those of a military bent. GEN Mattis remains not just a military man but an academic who has immersed himself in history, etc. over his decades of service. My previous experience was that the best instructors and leaders in the military were men like him. He is also of the highest moral and ethical fiber. A win-win! I wish him a long life so that he can continue to pass on valuable lessons and not just to military types. We don't have enough men like him today. Just look at what our schools are producing.
BCAL 11 months ago
This is a great book. Teaches so many lessons on leadership and how to be a good leader (especially in the military). Mattis does a great Job of using past wars all the way back to ancient times by showing us how it is so important to learn from past leaders and wars in order to be a better leader and person in todays society and military. Awesome book. Get the book.
S_Scott 11 months ago
This is a great read, while subtitled “Learning to Lead” it is offered up in vivid autobiographical form and pauses to underscore a lesson for leaders at three levels; direct, executive and strategic levels. You will be surprised that in many of the key Middle East flashpoints of the last 40 years James Mattis as a junior office, Battalion Commander, Division Commander and multi-national Central Command Commander was in the key command positions. While not expressing partisan positions for either Republican or Democrat Administrations he delivers reliable commentary on the commendable and lamentable consequences of elected political and superior ranking officers on his own way to the top. For anyone looking for a sober review of the US military’s performance over the last 40 years I can’t think of a better primer and stimulator of serious reflection.