Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead

Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead

by Jim Mattis, Bing West


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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812996838
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 10,494
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jim Mattis is a Pacific Northwest native who served more than four decades as a Marine infantry officer. Following two years as the Secretary of Defense, he returned to the Northwest and is now the Davies Family Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Bing West has written eleven books, including, with Jim Mattis, the #1 New York Times bestseller Call Sign Chaos. He served as a Marine grunt in Vietnam and later as an 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. He is a member of the Military History Working Group at the Hoover Institution. He lives with his wife, Betsy, in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Newport, Rhode Island.

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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