No Excuse Leadership (NEL) by Brace Barber delves into the Ranger experience of 10 soldiers. Each has his own unique experience. NEL will not teach you how to be an effective leader but will, more or less, outline the traits that must be present in order to effectively lead people. NEL outlines tried an true methods of perseverance, duty, loyalty and excellence.
It is an excellent compilation of stories from those who graduated Ranger School. It outlines, very dramatically, the story of Ranger Steve Adams, who was part of the class of 1995 that had the worst loss in Ranger history. Four Ranger students succumbed to hypothermia. It is the last story in the book and well worth reading.
If Barber’s intent was truly to make better leaders, the author of this review thinks he succeeded in outlining traits that make for an effective leader. And ironically, uses the words of the West Point Cadet Prayer: “You must have the courage to chose the harder right over the easier wrong” which is a part of the prayer written by a Chaplain. Not surprisingly, the stories are mostly connected to West Pointers as the author is a graduate. But most students who attend Ranger School are not WP graduates. Being a graduate would not make them any more likely to succeed (evident from the always squared away cadet who was a wimp). Though the stories are mostly good, I would hesitate to say that all the WP Ranger stories are better than at least one R.O.T.C whose tone, and style far exceeds that of some WP cockiness. Being in the Army there is always that wise-up factor not taught at the Academy but usually falls to the W.P. cadets lot. Pride is a problem at West Point.
If you are an Army veteran, this book is definitely worth reading as it certainly brings back memories of been there and done that. If you served you likely saw a parachute stuck in a tree. Or, encountered some resting deer.
You are introduced to the virtues of hard work, discipline and selfless service. If you are contemplating reenlisting, this book is suggested for your preparation. If you have any ideals for better performance or physical fitness, this book will help.
There seems to be a different tone and style, so it is difficult to see how these stories were assembled. Were they just from their journals? The stories are often highly polished. Some are better than others, but towards the end you start to see the consistency in the training log.
You may ask what is better: to become a Ranger or became a doctor. All depends on what your calling is.
The book mentions some war films and the length of time of Ranger School in order to graduate and what is required to pass. This book is not dated as one reviewer mentioned. And the only thing boring is reading non-reviews by people who obviously never read this book and have a thumbs up next to it. Those reviews should be recycled just like a failed Ranger. The book is very good and recommended for a reenlistment or anyone contemplating special service training. But the best advice of all is to go in shape. Here are some quotes from the book:
“Watch what direction the majority is going, and go the opposite way.”
“You have to cut yourself off from excuses and focus on solutions”
“If you quit, you quit; you lose for now. If you continue to try, you are among the minority. If you continue to quit, you are part of the majority.”
“Please do not rest on your laurels.”
This is not a book on finance but the author tries to transfer Ranger leadership to business leadership. That is not exactly the same thing. However, the author delves into the importance of finance.
The author talks about determination and perseverance and mentions Dante’s Inferno. Author consistently talks about cultivating the habit of not quitting.
Ranger Tex Turner’s theme of listening to the subordinates is evident to anyone who served and builds on that philosophy. And desires the reader to learn from his failures.
However, “there are plenty of people in positions of authority who feel that their position is a validation of everything they do” Good quote. Sure most of us met someone in service or a company manager with a completely misplaced sense of pride.
The Rangers training is all in the book from beginning to end. Book does not delve into any kind of specifics, just the virtues.
For the experienced veteran one can certainly relate to the sense of smell all around (the good ones). And determination.
For truly to be a Ranger one learns that “Rangers are focused.” Barber’s book can truly point you in the right direction by focusing on what’s truly important. Also recommend along with this book: Tour of Duty – The Complete First Season
Rangers lead the way.
This book is recommended to those who are interested in Army Basic, Ranger, Airborne, Special Forces Green Berets and other SpecOps branches of the military.
Follow the link to order the book from Amazon: No Excuse Leadership
Also recommend article on the West Point Honor Code
Virtue Ethics and the West Point Honor Code and System