#1 NEW YORK TIMESBESTSELLER • 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.
“A four-star general’s five-star memoir.”—The Wall Street Journal
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 a life of warfighting and lifelong learning, following along as Mattis rises from Marine recruit to four-star general. It is a journey about learning to lead and a story about how he, through constant study and action, developed a unique leadership philosophy, one relevant to us all.
It is so refreshing to read a book that is about leadership, and commitment to the constitution and democracy rather than politics. Thoughtful and disciplined thinking, with a focus on leadership supporting both military members and service to others rather than self. Teaches by setting an example through his career. Hard to put down.55
Fantastic book on leadership showing that good leaders make mistakes, own them, and then move forward with lessons learned from those previous mistakes. Plus, it’s General Mattis.55
Start to finish a great book. Lucky enough to have met the General briefly while in DC.55
General Mattis and Bing West truly go into details of the reason General Mattis is the modern day Chesty Puller’s of the Marine Corp. His leadership, care for his troops while never compromising the mission is hands down one of the best leadership manuals for anyone. Highly recommend this read.55
The narrator can’t pronounce a lot of words. Tarawa sounds like “Tear-Wa-Wa.” LoL55
A fantastic memoirs from a well educated and devoted patriot. It is a memoir and therefore one sided by design. I was moved by his leadership prowess as well as his unwavering sense of service. I don’t doubt that every sentence of General Mattis’ beliefs and accounts are 100 percent factual in accordance with his knowledge and experience.55
I’m sorry to say I felt that you short-sheeted the Marines that served during the Vietnam Nam era. As you know well , traditions are built upon other traditions We had the veterans of Korea but also some old salts from WWII still in the Corps in 1967 when I joined. Also at 17 But the point is that when you referred to us it was understood that we somehow didn’t measure up to “your Marines” or men that joined after Vietnam Nam I was with 3/26 at Khe Sahn and we didn’t smoke dope and we didn’t frag our officers. We may not stack up academically but as war fighters I believe we were at least as good if not better. we did not have stress cards during boot camp and our training was world class however our leadership was shown to be something less than that.Civilian I’m referring to. Anyway sir you were a general and I was a sergeant so we are bound to see things differently but I hope you understand that we may have been a little rough around the edges but we were every bit as brave and tough when when we needed to be Chesty never got the Good Conduct Medal ! Semper Fi45
Seemed to be very one sided.15
Anyone looking for a great book on principles of leadership will find tremendous value in Call Sign Chaos. It’s a fantastic read. Reading the book you can feel the emotion and struggles of General Mattis as he gained experience and leadership skill in the crucible of combat. Looking up as well as down a chain of command, focusing on clear end goals and and acting in an ethical manner are messages that will apply to business or combat. I read this book in one day. Could not put it down. It was that good.55